Pottermore Won't Sell Harry Potter Until Next Year

By Sam Biddle on at

Pottermore was supposed to be huge. Instead, it's a million crazed Potter fans, most of them kids, playing Harry Potter minigames. Great! Kids love minigames. But why the hell isn't Pottermore selling Harry Potter ebooks? They're blowing this, big time.

Instead of a 'Beatles on iTunes moment' for ebooks — a hyped step into the future — Pottermore is looking more like a website from the 90s: quizzes, games, discussion boards. Which would have been fine, given that Pottemore was also supposed to be the first place to snatch up digital copies of the series in its 400+ million paper sales history. But it's not — at least for a while: "As our first priority is to get as many people onto the site as possible," sayeth the Pottermore blog, "we have decided to open the shop in the first half of 2012." That means it could be as late as June 2012 until Harry Potter's casting spells and chasing stones on a tablet — say, Amazon's Kindle Fire, which is awesome and inexpensive enough to be a great kid's gadget.

Instead, J.K. Rowling's empire is squandering time they could be making history — it's no stretch to imagine the massively successful books being the most massively successful ebook, and a desired download that pushes many millions of tablets. It's one thing to resist gadget lust, but quite another to try to resist your screaming kid.

Ultimately, J.K. Rowling has little reason to care. She's a billionaire, will always be a billionaire, and will inevitably sell a zillion more Potter tomes in digital form whenever she pleases. But while Pottermore tries to polish its beta experience so that tweens can make virtual potions as seamlessly as possible, it's an embarrassment that the mega-popular saga will be confined to print for a long time. [Pottermore via Observer]