back to article HARRY POTTER CHAINED to new Sony reader

Sony will bundle its next generation e-reader with the entire series of Harry Potter stories from November, The Register has learnt. The bespectacled wizard debuts in digital format in October – the same time as the Sony-sponsored Pottermore "online reading experience" goes live – according to well-placed sources in the vendor …

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  1. sandman

    The Ad

    Sony: Buy our new e-reader, it's ******** magic!

  2. Rupert Stubbs

    Who the heck are they aiming this at?

    Any Harry Potter fans already have all the books. Anyone who's not ready any of them is less likely to start reading them now, as the films series has ended. Even fans who like to re-read the books continually would have to be wealthy indeed to regard this as a tipping point towards a Sony reader.

    Lame.

    1. LuMan
      Stop

      @Rupert

      Not sure as I agree. People are still buying and reading such literature as The Railway Children, Chronicles Of Narnia, Lord Of The Rings and even Stig Of The Dump. These have all had TV/Film series' made and the books are still being read by new generations of young readers. I'll be really surprised if new readers don't keep buying the books in either paper or electronic format.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        +1 @ LuMan

        I'm not exactly a fan; I'd never read any of the books until recently... but my wife and I read them in tandem (and interlaced with the movies, which I had seen) leading up to the final film. The third-and-up books are actually quite good, and almost completely stop being children's literature by #5.

        But I digress.

        Yes, fans will certainly read the books more than once. My wife did. At some point I'll probably read 'em again - maybe when my son does, or if I'm on a nine hundred hour plane flight and don't want to be involved with something serious.

        And *hardcore* fans will love it, particularly if this device has good search capabilities - if you're engaged in a knock-down-drag-out brawl over what Professor Quirrell's last words were, you're gonna have to go to the source, right?

        I think it's a pretty reasonable sweetener, and it might tip the balance vs. other gift options, not just entice people to view it as a better value per se... "Let's see, who's next... Ah, Brock... I'm going to spend $[whatever] on him, so it's either the automatic toffee packager or the Sony reader thingy... hey, it comes with Harry Potter on it! Brock loves Harry Potter!"

  3. phuzz Silver badge
    Pirate

    err

    First "Official" ebook versions anyway, there's perfectly good ePub editions floating around out there...

  4. Pooka

    Oooo look.... letter5 and even a number too!

    I don't care if the new Harry Potter books are coming out on the new Sony readers - my poor lil' PSR-505 is slowly dying, and I'm waiting for the updates before I pick up a new reader - it's lasted me a long time so far, and I want a new one, but all the other readers I've tried just don't feel as nice as my Sony.

    Hurry up with the details of the new reader, guys!

  5. dotdavid
    Stop

    So...

    Do you think that purchasers of a shiny new NON-Sony ebook reader who want to read Harry Potter books will;

    a) Say "oh dear, I can't read Harry Potter books on my ebook reader. I'd better wait until 2012."

    b) Sell their ebook reader in disgust (or never buy it in the first place) and/or buy a Sony Reader.

    c) Say "oh well, I'd better go to The Pirate Bay for my Harry Potter fix then".

    It baffles me why Sony thinks the answer will be b). Even a) seems more likely to me.

    1. Jazz Kilkullen

      It's not the readers they're targeting--it's the parents and grandparents.

      Timed when new readers (and iPad) will be coming out before Christmas, they're hoping that parents/grandparents will think, since they know their child likes Harry Potter, it's the best Christmas gift. Since it's a gift, they certainly won't ask their child which he/she prefers. They will be relieved that they "can't go wrong" with Harry Potter.

      It's similar to the computer games strategy that has been used in the past----parents and grandparents, who tend to know less about what's good or trendy in digital entertainment, will buy the games that seem interesting and give them as gifts. That's why many mediocre digital games have oddly high sales.

  6. Adam Cooper
    FAIL

    They just don't get it do they.

    If you want to encourage piracy a sure-fire way to do it is to lock your content to a single platform. A platform I might add that is so far behind the Amazon Kindle in take up it's not funny.

    What are all the people with kindles going to do? Buy a Sony reader? If anyone seriously believes this to be the case they need committing to a funny farm.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      More likely

      Kindle owners will wait until someone rips the books from the ereader and converts them to mobi format. Which will probably occur the very same day the offer does unless Sony / Adobe / Whoever have been busy beefing up their DRM.

      I'd point out however that Sony so far haven't been the bad guys here. Their devices are relatively open and support EPUB which is to books what MP3 is to music. You have far more latitude with the content you stick on their devices and where you buy it from than you have with a Kindle.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        already done

        Harry Potter + Internet + Calibre = On Kindle already.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Ooooh

    I'd have loved to have seen Bezos and Jobs face when that exclusive was annouced! CEOs are not often known for keeping their feelings to themselves.

    1. Rafael 1

      Your choice.

      "Harry who"?

      or

      "Get Stephenie Meyer on the phone RIGHT NOW!"

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Does this mean Sony PRS-650 and 950 in UK?

    While I normally loath vendor-specific content tie-ups like this (especially to the likes of Sony), given there is basically no realistic competition to the Amazon Kindle in the UK ebook market, this looks surprisingly like at least a strong foot in the door in this space!

    Does this also mean that Sony will be realising its best or even better ereaders this side of the pool, finally? Like the highly well reviewed Sony PRS-650 or PRS-950?

    <rant>I get so ticked off by companies treating the UK and Europe like 2nd class citizens in technology, sometimes. Admittedly, stupid laws like the EU one that prevents digital cameras being able to record more than 30 minutes of video at a time is not going to do you any favours with manufacturers ... </rant>

    1. Mike Judge
      Stop

      Errm, PRS-650 is available in the UK

      We have 2 of them in our household, and very good they are too. Blows the socks of anything Amazon have ever made...

    2. Mike Richards Silver badge

      PRS-650 is here

      Although good luck finding one on the high street. Most Sony stores only carry the smaller 350 and I've not seen one in Waterstones since the week of release. They are still officially on sale and you can pick them up online - and you won't regret it. The 650 is a beast with a gorgeous touch screen and fabulous build quality which is only let down by the umbilical to the Waterstone's store. If that could be severed with a rival to WhisperSync then Sony would have the best reader out there bar none.

      A UK version of the 950 (or more likely its follow-up) would be very gratefully received in this household.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Obvious...

    But because the Sony Reader uses the industry standard EPUB format, you should be able to use it on ANY other reader (Kindle aside, which uses proprietary format)

    1. dotdavid
      FAIL

      EPUB

      The Sony Reader may "use the industry standard EPUB format", but you can bet your bottom dollar these books will be crippled by Adobe's Digital Edition DRM scheme which will effectively lock the books to a Sony device.

      Just another reason why DRM is so great.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Adobe Digital Editions

        Has been cracked for a long time, as has Kindle's format. At least if you had to compare DRMs, that at least Adobe's is platform and store agnostic, working across a lot of different stores and readers rather than tie you into one. The same cannot be said for Amazon's or Apple's which are designed to lock you into one store and a limited range of readers.

        I personally think that DRM has to be used in conjunction with passive measures (i.e. watermarking) to catch pirates, and that the price of books has to be cheaper. The reason piracy is so high has little to do with the DRM and more to do with the fact it takes a few minutes to locate and download a pirate copy of a book. That's what stores & publishers should be competing with. Ebooks need to be cheaper, commensurate with their production / delivery costs. And stores should offer content on a subscription basis too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          High price of books?!!

          Many would argue that books are already too cheap, driven down by the removal of price maintenance and the adoption of best sellers by supermarkets as loss leaders. As a result independent bookshops are rapidly going out of business country-wide and branches of the larger chains in any but the largest towns are in the process of following. The adoption of books by the charity stores as a way of filling their shelves has accelerated this process.

          Eventually we'll end up with WH Smith and supermarkets selling only the to 20% of the best sellers and ordering from the internet. Fine if you only want what the meejah tell you are best sellers, but the experience of entering a bookstore and browsing the stock before you buy something which is likely to satisfy you will be gone.

      2. Willington

        No it doesn't

        Digital Editions supports pretty much any device including Android and iPhone/iPad apps. About the only device not supported is the Kindle but I doubt that's Adobe's fault and it's certainly not Sony's. I'd guess the blame there lies with Amazon.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      what rubbish.

      The kindle uses mobipocket. I can read ebooks on it that I read on a handspring ten years ago. Not very proprietry.

  10. Fab De Marco

    Exclusivity

    OK, I can understand exclusivity on phones to networks, as people generally don't care what network they are on as long as they get signal in their home, work and pub.

    But exclusivity on media????? Mental!!!! Sony could just as well said, OK the Harry Potter Blu-ray collection, when released will only work on a Sony BR Player?!

    You can't lock content, people will go elsewhere... and they be dark places...

    1. Andy ORourke
      Joke

      Shhhhhhhhhhh.......

      Don't go giving them any ideas!!!

    2. HipposRule
      Thumb Down

      Pub?

      That's the last place i want signal.

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    That's nice

    I suppose it's better than getting some crappy public domain texts with your new ereader which is the current offer.

    At the same time, it should be obvious to everyone that Harry Potter was available in digital format from about 2 seconds after it launched in physical format and with less restrictions. So the publishers have basically lost 3 years of sales to pirates because they couldn't be arsed to produce their own version.

    I also expect when it does appear it will enjoy the same piss taking markup that all ebooks suffer from. Perhaps when ebooks appear in a common format (epub), preferably with no DRM or at least an industry standard (Adobe digital editions) and are priced reasonably, more people will be inclined to purchase content than to download it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Not likely anytime soon.

      Amazon have put the spanner in the works, by buying Mobi and making it proprietary.

      Everyone else uses EPUB, but the biggest book retailer is trying to derail that with loss-leader hardware and anti-competitive and anti-consumer measures.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Sooner or later

        Amazon will capitulate on this. When they start churning out tablets its going to be pretty hard to stop people installing EPUB readers so if they have any sense they'll make their native reader support it at least in its non-DRM form. I doubt they'll ever support Digital Editions though

  12. StooMonster
    Thumb Down

    Bleedin' obvious make-believe

    Since the pre-launch of JKR's pottermore.com -- "it's for the fans you know" -- had Sony make•believe logos all over every single page (homepage and leaked screenshots), it's been obvious that Sony eReader exclusivity was coming.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Timeline

    I predict:

    Day 1: Sony DRM'ed version

    Day 2: Epub version in the wild

    Day 3: Torrented pdf version

    Day 4: Torrented pdf version + malware

    Yaaar...

    1. Ancient Oracle funkie
      Pirate

      Note to self ...

      ... download books on day 3

  14. Lloyd

    Try an adult book

    How many children have Sony e-readers? Not many I'd imagine, seems a bit pointless.

    1. HipposRule

      Totally agree

      It's like people drinking through straws and using 'baby' beakers for coffee.

  15. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @Timeline

    Day 1: Sony DRM'ed version

    Day -3650: All the books have been available as scans from about 8hours after they hit the bookshop

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      too true...

      Too true.

      Have been available in DRM free epub or whatever for years (easily converted in Calibre to whatever format you want), grab the cover you want from Amazon and place it on the device of your choice.

      Restricting them to a device format initially is just laughable.

      Give it a few years and we'll have books covering those missing 19 years if not those of Harry et all's kids etc... ...then of course there are the prequels telling the school stories of Harry's parents, Snape etc. etc.

      Harry Potter is the cash cow that keeps giving...

  16. Oninoshiko

    Hrm...

    I know, I'm not cool anymore, but I have to ask, who/what/where/when/how is Pottermore?

    1. Jazz Kilkullen
      Holmes

      Wouldn't it be great if there were a place you could just go

      and instantly find information on it? I think there may be a business model in there. ;-)

      Don't feel bad; the Pottermore website (it's "JK Rowling"'s but paid for by Sony) only launched a couple of weeks ago. It sells Harry Potter ebooks and features exclusive Harry Potter content. It will also have interactive features, like the ability to visit places mentioned in the stories (they only started testing this yesterday, though, it's not out yet).

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Sony What?

    Sony died some time back, bury them.

  18. Blubster
    Meh

    Sony Reader

    "Sony will bundle its next generation e-reader with the entire series of Harry Potter stories from November"

    Does it also come bundled with a root-kit?

    1. Geoffrey W

      title

      No

  19. Peddler

    EBook Formats

    One of the reasons I bought a PRS-505 a few years ago was that it handled many formats and you were not tied to Amazon. Now Sony is playing the same stupid proprietary format game.

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