Saturday, May 29, 2010

JK Rowling To Go Digital?

J K Rowling has always stood firm against ebooks and was even subject to a 2009 April Fools joke stating that the anti ebook author was going digital with Smashwords. Now the cash registers are obviously turning her head and it is reported in the Bookseller that her agency is “currently considering all the options and opportunities that this evolving space provides”.

The question of who owns what digital rights is interesting and we would assume that this is her primary print publisher Bloomsbury. But was she wise enough to retain them?

When someone with the pulling power of Rowling goes digital there is bound to be much negotiation and the eventual outcome is not always what is assumed. With merchandising, films, a theme park and audio as well as territorial rights it will be interesting to see who has the digital rights today and who gets the job tomorrow.

However the real challenge in making these digital is how much they are made to exploit multi media, enhance the text and change the book as we know it today.The other big opportunity would be to go DRM free and not only make a statement to the market, but also hurt the pirates and stop them in their tracks.

Rowling has a great opportunity and it would be a shame if the text is merely poured into a digital jacket with a few chosen extras. Don't be surprised to see Google, Apple and Amazon queuing up for the slice of the pie.


Inkling said...

I really doubt the Harry Potter books need multi-media. Each new technology since CD-ROMs in the late 1980s has been breathlessly trumped as an opportunity for books to get video, audio, interactivity, dancing gerbils, and what not. Consumers have never showed any interest, apparently regarding the mixing of radically different media like they'd regard putting ice cream on a hamburger. Things excellent in themselves, often don't blend well together.

That said, a few simple line drawings of the major characters and locale, along with some appropriate maps and the like would be helpful. More than that destroys one of the major joys of reading, the opportunity of crafting scenes and characters in your own mind's eye.

Martyn Daniels said...

i agree and if this were a new title this would be a correct assumtion but it isn't and it has sold well and those same people will buy it again as a special edition and new people will already have seen the films or be familiar with the characters and story. They now need more than a simple pouring of the text into a digital jacket.
A few drawings would be nice but why not a few film clips, JK introducing the book and why she wrote it and some of the characters?
Sorry this is already multi media and this is a perfect opportunity to pull together a special edition and do something different.