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'Harry Potter' books launch on Amazon Kindle

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JK Rowlijng at the premiere of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2

© PA Images / Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Amazon has announced that the Harry Potter books are now available on Kindle devices, although it is thought the retailer made big concessions to JK Rowling to secure the hit series.

From today, Harry Potter fans can now purchase the English-language versions of all seven best-selling books to read on Kindle devices and Kindle mobile apps.

This has been made possible through an agreement with JK Rowling's new website and eBook shop Pottermore, which will get a dedicated section on the Amazon UK site.

Any books purchased will be available as "buy once, read everywhere", meaning they can be 'pushed' to a Kindle library and any Kindle device or app.

"For years our customers have loved reading Harry Potter books in print, and have made them the best-selling print book series on Amazon.com," said Russ Grandinetti, the vice president of Kindle Content.

"We're excited that Harry Potter fans worldwide are now able to read JK Rowling's fantastic books on their Kindles and free Kindle reading apps."

However, Reuters notes that Amazon appears to have offered major concessions to Rowling in order to get the highly lucrative Harry Potter books on Kindle.

To complete a purchase of a Harry Potter eBook, consumers must create an account at the Pottermore Shop, which allows the competing store to collect customer data and insight usually held by Amazon itself.

"They are her customers now," said Mike Shatzkin, the boss of digital publishing firm The Idea Logical Company. "She knows about them because they have registered with her site. It's a huge concession. Amazing."

Shatzkin said that the case draws parallels with the impasse between Apple and The Beatles over getting the band's back catalogue on iTunes, which was finally resolved after years of negotiations.

Just like The Beatles, JK Rowling is considered to have the popularity with consumers to persuade Amazon to bend over backwards to secure her co-operation.

"JK Rowling is the Beatles," Shatzkin said. "Amazon decided that having the Potter books to sell was more important than the control they usually insist on."

Jim Friedland, an analyst at Cowen & Co, told Reuters that Amazon most likely accepted a lower cut of sales of Harry Potter eBooks, potentially down from the usual 30% to just 10%.

However, Friendland noted that the move would enable the firm to persuade more people to invest in Kindle devices due to the enduring popularity of Harry Potter.

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