JK Rowling announced today that Harry Potter will finally be available in e-book and digital audio forms, exclusively on her own Pottermore website. Pottermore will be an interactive experience that puts readers into the world of her Harry Potter series, expected to launch in beta on July 31st and open fully to the public in October. This is the first time Rowling has allowed electronic editions of her novels, thanks to her past fears of piracy of her work. GigaOM notes that Rowling’s actions are not an option for all authors, as many writers’ contracts do not allow them to retain electronic publishing rights.
Rowling’s publishers will receive a portion of the profits from her electronic publishing, but it appears that the business is mainly in her control. The downloads will be digitally watermarked so that each copy is individually traceable, but Wired reports that Rowling has opted not to lock the books with a DRM, a decision which will allow her readers to put their copies on multiple devices and platforms.
Pottermore will offer an interactive experience with background stories for the Harry Potter series in addition to offering the digital editions of the novels.