'Pottermore' Already Gathering Critics
Less than a week after J.K. Rowling unveiled the secret behind her much-talked-about new website, Pottermore, critics have begun voicing their complaints about the author's plans.
The most common point of contention is the reaction of booksellers to the news that Harry Potter e-books will be sold exclusively at Pottermore. In an article in Shelf Awareness, independent booksellers complained bitterly about being left out of the Potter e-book market. "It did sort of surprise me that the publisher would cut us out of the loop." said one bookseller. "That makes it hard for us...."
The big box e-tailers such as Amazon and Apple have remained officially "mum" on the prospect of missing out on all Harry Potter e-book sales, though UK giant Waterstone expressed 'disappointment' at losing out on the sales. Apple will also take a hit on Harry Potter audiobooks, which they have held exclusive rights to sell in their iTunes store since 2005. When Pottermore launches, Apple loses that market too.
As columnist Megan Lavey-Heaton recently pointed out: "If Apple had been able to woo Rowling to iBooks, it would have been the literary equivalent of landing the Beatles." Representatives in the Rowling camp have made it clear that Rowling did not want her Harry Potter e-books to be restricted to any one digital format, prompting her decision to sell the e-books herself. Other have been quick to point out that not paying the up-to-30% commission to e-tailers on what will likely be the bestselling e-books of all time was likely a factor too.
Still others have been quick to criticize Pottermore in more general terms. In his analysis of the reported features list for Pottermore, columnist Chris Bucholz complained that the list looked "a little weak thus far" and criticized the lack of online gameplay despite Rowling's announcement that Pottermore is going to be an online reading experience rather than a gaming site. He also referred to Pottermore as a "remedial multimedia experience" despite the fact that the site hasn't even launched yet. In Digital Spy's "Pottermore or Potterbore?" article, multiple sources criticized Pottermore for being everything from an "anticlimax" to nothing more than "a pretty eBook store with a monopoly on selling Potter books." But in a "More or Bore" poll at the end of the article, nearly 70% of respondents voted in favor of the Pottermore site.Continued on the next page