Pottermore got off to a rocky start with seemingly endless delays and underwhelming initial reviews, but in April the Harry Potter ebook portal finally made it out of beta. This morning the company gets another boost: The books will now be available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library–and apparently Amazon paid a pretty penny for the privilege.
For a long time, the series wasn’t available digitally at all. Author J.K. Rowling had the digital rights and elected to wait until the launch of Pottermore, an entire platform devoted entirely to the world of her series and offering additional content for fans. The site still retains a remarkable amount of control over the sale: In the course of checkout, Kindle users are rerouted from Amazon to the Pottermore site. It’s rare to see Amazon so accommodating. But then again, the Harry Potter Bookscan numbers are one hell of a bargaining chip.
Now, with the books’ addition to the lending library, Kindle owners will be able to borrow one book every thirty days. And no, the ever-present specter of lost sales does not worry Pottermore, because Amazon made it worth their while. From Paid Content:
“It’s a commercial deal that makes sense even with a level of cannibalization of my sales,” Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne tells me, “but I believe it will actually drive greater sales.”
“The way the deal is structured means that any lost sales are more than made up for,” Redmayne says. “Yes, some people will borrow from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and therefore not buy, but Amazon is paying us a large amount of money for that right, and I believe it’s a commercial deal that makes sense.”
There’s also pretty good evidence someone who likes the first book won’t wait 30 days to read the next.