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After a long wait the Harry Potter books are now available as ebooks.
I wrote in an earlier blog post that these were expected to be available as DRM free ebooks in October 2011, but it is now 6 months later and quite a long time since many other books became available as ebooks. The good new is that unlike many other ebooks available online, purchasing the books directly provides a DRM free copy as well as allowing you to read the books in a variety of different readers. This is good news as it prevents vendor lock-in to the ebook readers which is similar to the lock-in that used to exist with audio players before mainstream retailers switched to DRM MP3s.
The ebooks are available directly from the Pottermore shop. The Pottermore website (interactive exploration of the Harry Potter books), is now open for everyone to join as it was previously available under limited invites only.
Once purchased you can download the books up to 8 times, either direct to the PC or via a number of ebook providers (eg. Amazon / Google Play etc.). Hopefully in future all ebooks will be available like this or at least available as DRM free downloads in multiple formats that Smashwords and some other ebook publishers already provide.
It's not all good news. I think that the ebooks are expensive when you consider that they have been available on paperback for several years already and that many of us already have a copy of the print version. In fact some of the paperback editions are available from Amazon.co.uk for less than the ebooks, which is not something you would expect considering the cost of producing ebooks is so much less than print versions.
The convenience of being able to download all the ebooks onto my Kindle, which is far easier than carrying around the print version (especially some of the later books), combined with the fact that I can view this on my Android Tablet, Android smartphone, Kindle and Linux laptop convinced me to buy these ebooks even though we have a set of hardback versions on our books shelf. It will make them much easier to read when I'm travelling.