Is Harry Potter Finally Coming to the Kindle?

After years of adamant refusal to consider the idea of releasing electronic versions of her amazingly popular Harry Potter series, there are rumors circulating that J.K. Rowling is giving serious thought to a release for Kindles and Kindle-like devices.  While it is doubtful that there are all that many people out there who are interested in reading the Harry Potter series who have also failed to procure the books at this point, considering the impressive sales figures, it’s hard to believe that this would be anything but a genius money-making decision for Rowling.  There have, in fact, been reports that this could benefit the author somewhere in the realm of £100 million.  The interesting part of all this is not so much how great it would be to Rowling’s already bulging bank figures as how important it could be for the eReading world.

I’ve seen reports that as much as 20% of the total book sales this past year came from eBooks.  For a new format, that’s huge.  It’s a slow process, though.  For the most part this stems from the fact that to truly get into the eReader experience you need a dedicated device like the Kindle.  Sure, lots of people get by with reading on their phones, PCs, or tablets, but it doesn’t work for everybody.  That means that the potential customer needs to lay out over a hundred dollars for a product that may or may not be of any use to them as far as they can tell. That’s a pretty big deal for most people.

What this move would mean, however, is the equivalent of a rock star endorsement. People who love the books will be more willing to grab something like a Kindle now that their favorite author has been swayed from her position of animosity toward the platform, especially since it means having access to their books in their entirety all at once without sustaining minor back injuries to carry them around.  Even more important, perhaps, will be the parents who are swayed to provide Kindles for their children as a result of the release.  As with any new technology, the earlier you are introduced to it, the more naturally you will be able to adapt to it, in general.  The sooner that eReaders become a part of the everyday lives of consumers and soon-to-be consumers, the faster mass adoption will proceed.

Admittedly, this is all nothing but speculation.  The power of the Harry Potter branding is clear, though.  We have movies, candy, peripheral reference books, and even a whole theme park based on nothing else.  It’s become so entrenched in literature today that you will see countless blurbs comparing anything with a magic wand or a contemporary setting connected to magic with the Harry Potter series.  I don’t see any real way to get around a major impact.  While I don’t view this as anything groundbreaking in terms of decision making on behalf of an author, the impact as it all goes forward will be fascinating to watch and should be unlikely to do anything but help eReading as a whole.


Kids Books Going Digital

As of today, 6/16/2010, Random House’s Magic Tree House series, a childrens’ staple since 1992 by Mary Pope Osborne has been released for the Kindle.  All 43 books in the amazingly popular series are now up for sale in the Kindle Store as I write this, with the 44th already available for preorder, anticipating its September 14th release.

The Magic Tree House series has sold over 70 million copies worldwide, been translated into 28 languages, and distributed in 31 countries over the course of its life cycle so far.  It is a widely acknowledged tool in promoting childrens’ literacy and can be(and often is) coupled with Random House-distributed educational material related to the stories for use in classrooms as a teaching aid in any number of subjects.

Much publicity has focused on what the Kindle can do on college and high school campuses, but this brings useful attention to the fact that an eReader with a properly durable case, perhaps even a library’s worth of them, could easily enhance the learning experiences of children at any age.  The Text-to-Speech feature is helpful for any struggling reader and the ability to vary the font size can make a text more approachable for easily overwhelmed young readers still unsure of their ability.  Clearly a step in the right direction.

The Natural Page

Everybody has their little pet peeves when it comes to their favorite eReader.  Nobody ever has every feature quite the way we want it and nothing will ever be quite perfect.  One of the complaints I’ve heard surprisingly often with the Kindle has been its lack of normal page numbering.  While this seems like a simple sort of thing to deal with, since we are given a progress counter of sorts anyway, I can certainly understand it getting on the nerves of some.

In response, we have The Natural Page(TM) from Forbidden Stitch Press.  Their first book, Spirit in The Sky, is now available for download from the Kindle store for $9.99.  The basic premise is that by setting a page length at right around 400 words, it is possible to put a page number, formatted as (Page 12), at the bottom of each screen as the reader moves through their book.  It’s a novel concept, if you’ll pardon the pun.  While there’s little chance that this will work out as a long term solution, being rather un-dynamic and therefore breaking any time the reader changes font size or a Kindle DX, it’s a good thing to have around, most likely.  If nothing else, the reader response could point out to Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN)  that this is a desired, and quite possibly easy to include, feature for a future patch.  The best way to get your point across about a product has always been to vote with your wallet, after all.

Barnes & Noble Opens Self-Publishing

After years of Amazon’s dominance in the self-publishing ebook marketplace, Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) has decided to enter the scene.  Eligible independent publishers and self-publishing authors will be able to add their content directly into the and Barnes & Noble eBook Store Catalogs, giving them immediate exposure to one of the largest electronic book marketplaces on the net with all the perks already built in.  Books published through this PubIt! system, as it is called, will be accorded the usual digital rights management one would expect out of Barnes & Noble, an industry standard ePub format for distribution, and a presence accessible through any of B&N’s many platforms including the nook eReader and their many computer-based software and cellular downloads.  While there has not, as of yet, been any discussion of what the royalty model will be for these publishers and authors, there have been assurances that it will be competitive and simple to use and understand.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a groundbreaking new technology or idea.  It does, however, bring Barnes & Noble in line with Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) as they attempt attempt to secure their place alongside or even ahead of the Kindle and its ever-growing pressence in the ebook market.  Sure Amazon got there first, but who will make it most worth their authors’ while as time goes on?  More options have to be good for the lesser known names out there.

Kindle DRM Hacked – Allows Mobipocket eBooks

kindle hackedKindle only allows you to read DRM protected eBooks, so how would you can you read other eBooks on the Kindle? one way would be to add the Kindle DRM to your eBook!

Hacker Igor Skochinsky who hacked open the Sony e-reader has done it again, this time he has hacked open the Kindle to allow you to read mobipocket eBooks on the Kindle, its a novel solution, by using a couple of Python scripts, you can convert an eBook into Amazon’s AZW format, the scripts add a serial number DRM, unique to an individuals Kindle, which allows you to read them on the Kindle device.

Now there is a chance that it Amazon can ‘fix’ the hack, since Amazon owns Mobipocket, however I don’t think this is the path that Amazon will take. Aarjav Trivedi over at Kindle Hacks has blogged today about how the ‘Director of Kindle’ over at Amazon has no problem with the Kindle being hacked.


Source: Igor Skochinsky
Python Script Download: Kindle Mobipocket tools 0.1
Python Script Download: Mirror
Source: Kindle Hacks