Google is taking advantage of the Harry Potter hype to further its Google Books and Google Checkout services. Thanks to a deal with the upcoming official fan site Pottermore, Google will be the exclusive source for Harry Potter digital audiobooks and eBooks.
Pottermore and the Harry Potter Craze
The Harry Potter novels made J.K. Rowling the richest woman in England – even when you include the Queen. Beyond the massive success of the books series, the eight movies that cover the same story have been box office hits. As the final movie is released, fans still have high hopes of things to come. The biggest element of the craze is known as Pottermore.
Pottermore is an official fan site that brings users “an exciting online experience around the reading of the Harry Potter books.” While the exact nature of the site isn’t certain, it’s known that eBooks and digital audiobooks will be available for purchase and that there will be a strong community element. Most exciting for readers, however, is the approximately 70 pages of new content discussing characters and locations in the Harry Potter universe.
The Google-Pottermore Deal
While the Pottermore team took some time to deliberate and choose between several competing services (including, according to insider sources, PayPal and Apple), they eventually settled on an exclusively partnership with Google for the purchase and distribution of the eBooks and audiobooks. Google Books will now be the library of choice for the eBooks sold on Pottermore, and Google Checkout will be the “preferred third party payment platform for all purchases made on Pottermore.com.”
Exactly how much this single deal actually impacts Google is hard to say, but it’s a great indicator of Google’s capabilities to step into the eBook market and appeal to major publishers. As eBooks and readers (including smartphones and tablets) become more popular, this ability will be a powerful asset for the search engine giant.