The Bookseller Industry awards has just occurred in the United Kingdom and Pottermore came away with a huge victory. The Harry Potter focused digital company beat out some hefty competition by Random House, Harlequin, Kobo, Penguin, and Bloomsbury.
The Pottermore strategy as a gateway to sell ebooks has been a bit of a case study on how to start an e-commerce site and maintain control over the entire experience. Normally, books are sold and distributed by the publisher and seldom does the author maintain any control over the companies that send the books to libraries and bookstores, let alone international rights and sales.
The essence of Pottermore was to serve as an online destination for people to buy the entire Harry Potter series and their spin-off books. The crew at Pottermore established their own prices and were not held at gunpoint by any outside publishing interest. The books are compatible with almost every major e-reader and tablet, in Kindle and EPUB formats. The one big factor is Pottermore is hardware agnostic, they don’t lock you into a specific device to enjoy reading the books.
Being able to truly enjoy a book, means that you should be able to load it on your phone, tablet, and e-reader without having to rely on bulky third party programs like Adobe Digital Editions. Pottermore took the innovative approach of ditching Digital Rights Management altogether and instead went with digital watermarks. These watermarks bind the owners information on the cover of the book, putting the onus on them if they decide to pirate the books.
The one thing Pottermore did was adopt the trans media approach, which few companies in the world have been able to match. Not only can you visit their website to buy and read the books, but they made an online world to live out the Harry Potter adventures. Every few months, new content is implemented and young folk can join in picking their House, engaging in wizard duels, making potions, visiting Diagon Alley, and getting up to all sorts of other hijinx.
It is no small wonder that Pottermore won the Digital Strategy of the Year Award in the UK. The entire team has been doing a stellar job in adjusting to the digital space and blazing their own trail.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.