Those expecting to unwind with all seven Harry Potter volumes in glorious, DRM-unencumbered pixel are likely in for a disappointment, according to early buyers.
An original announcement about the pending digital publication of J.K. Rowling’s epic said Rowling’s Pottermore site, “will sell DRM-free eBooks of the series for the first time.”
Apparently, not exactly. Nate Hoffelder of The Digital Reader blog writes he brought a copy and tried load it directly into the Kindle app for Windows — and got an error message. After contacting Amazon.com, he said he was told, “All titles that are pushed wirelessly from Pottermore to Kindle, or to other retailer’s eBook services and readers, are DRM encrypted at Pottermore’s request.”
So Hoffelder concludes that while technically, a Potter title starts as DRM-free at Pottermore, DRM is added once it passes through an eBookseller such as Amazon. Magically transformed, if you will.
Another magical element? How Rowling’s deal with Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and others — requiring customers to create a Pottermore account before buying the eBooks — actually lets Pottermore share in valuable customer data, data that’s normally opaque to authors when a third-party seller delivers a physical or eBook.
Some Digital Reader blog comments note there may be workarounds to the normally invisible cloak of DRM. But none that are likely to appeal to mere non-nerd Muggles.
Previously on GeekWire: Harry Potter arrives on Kindle
Frank Catalano is a regular GeekWire columnist, and is assisting this week while Todd Bishop is off. You can follow Frank on Twitter @FrankCatalano.