walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Surprisingly Silly Rowling Coverage


I sort of would have expected better from the Seattle PI. [pause] Ok, that's only because I knew a guy who was worthy of respect who worked there. So never mind.

"Rowling’s announcement Thursday stated the e-books would be compatible with “any electronic reading device.”"

The blogger, Amy Rolph, is struggling to reconcile this thing that she believes with this, that she also believes:

"the soon-to-be-released Harry Potter likely won’t be compatible with Amazon’s Kindle device, which only supports e-books released through the online retailer."

She concludes:

"That could mean there’s a deal in the works to make Amazon open up the Kindle to the widely-used ePub format."

Well, I can't speak to the ePub, but I _can_ say that Amazon's kindle device supports e-books released through other vendors. I know this because I've bought books from Baen's website that work just fine on the kindle, altho they are not maintained through the Media Library on Amazon, which is sort of a bummer, and you have to use the cable to get them onto the device. *shrug*

Rolph didn't invent this on her own. No, she had help.


"Here's the problem: There isn't a single e-book format right now that will work on "any electronic reading device" with digital rights management (DRM) copyright protection."

That's actually not the problem. There's nothing stopping Rowling's website from supporting multiple formats, but I'm not certain there's _any_ DRMed format that works on the kindle other than the one Amazon is a sole purveyor of. That could be a problem. This paragraph is completely incomprehensible:

"As an alternative, Pottermore could sell e-books in different formats for different e-readers, such as ePub for the iPad and Nook, PDF for the Kindle, etc. This sounds obnoxiously complicated, though, and could make it difficult to use DRM for Harry Potter e-books. (We assume that's a non-starter, as it could encourage piracy. E-books aren't MP3 song files, yet.)"

Obnoxiously complicated? Because that's how I'd describe buying a book from Smashwords or Baen, right? Obnoxiously complicated?

Earlier, Dan Frommer says:

"Rowling could exert pressure on Amazon, aiming to either get it to let her sell Kindle-format books through her own store (seems less likely), or to start supporting ePub books on the Kindle (seems more likely, but still a potential challenge)."

I'm _fascinated_ by the idea that Frommer thinks it is _more_ likely that Amazon would add a new format to the kindle (based on someone else's DRM enforcement, with the breathtaking complications that that would introduce) than that Rowling and Amazon might work out some sort of deal where she could DRM her books in a .azw compatible way and sell them on her website (or, say, some third option where Amazon provided the fulfillment for the kindle compatible format).

We'll know in October. And honestly? I would not be surprised to learn that negotiations are ongoing.

h/t to my husband for pointing out the PI blog entry

ETA: I just want to rub this in a bit:


9 Dec 2009, Eric Lai writes something that was a little silly at time, and just gets funnier as time goes by.
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