Pottermore has a 17-question survey for Harry Potter fans, asking about what Potter books they’ve read and own, what e-readers they use, and how interested they would be in buying Harry Potter e-books and audiobooks.

As Laura Hazard Owen notes at PaidContent, one of the questions asks what could keep fans from buying the Potter books, and one of the choices is not having a credit or debit card. This suggests that Pottermore may come up with a way of letting parents add money to children’s accounts so they can buy the books they want.

But I was more interested by another choice on that question, “Likely to be too expensive for me.” As far as I know, no pricing information on those e-books has come out yet. I wonder what information fans would be going by in deciding whether it was going to be too expensive or not? And by suggesting that fans might think it’s “likely”, does that mean the price is going to be what some would consider too high?

Given the widespread availability of pirated versions of the e-books, I would hope that Rowling is putting a lot of thought into what price level she is going to set. If it’s too high for her readers, especially those readers who are children and don’t have large allowances, they’re probably going to turn to those illicit copies instead. Of course, Rowling is already doing the right thing by eschewing DRM, so perhaps we should have confidence the books will be priced right as well.

At any rate, if you’re a Potter fan, be sure and take the survey at the above link. The more information Pottermore has, the better decisions its operators can make.


  1. How about: “What’s a reasonable price for an ebook of a pbook that had such a large printing that it can be found used for pennies in most used book stores and thrift shops?”

    I actually used something similar to the above for the ‘Other’ reason for that question that included ‘Too expensive’ as a reason to NOT buy the Potter books. I’m sure it’ll be ignored.

  2. Firstly I seriously doubt the assertion that Rowling has anything whatsoever to do with the setting of the prices.

    Secondly -Andy-, ‘a reasonable price’ is an irrelevance. What should matter is the right price to result in the maximum revenue.

    Many of the discussions about pricing and royalties ignore this fact, that titles that have been sold for less than a few dollars for years because they are so old and out of date and lacking in demand, are now selling at ridiculously high prices in digital form. I seriously doubt that they are selling so fast that they merit a high price. I smell opportunism of the most cynical kind and a total and utter lack of interest in generating the highest royalties or revenue.

  3. A ‘reasonable price’ is not irrelevant. A price that makes an ordinary consumer feel like they are being gouged isn’t reasonable. Pricing an ebook above the pbook? Not something I consider reasonable but everyone has a different threshold for such things.

    If I feel like I’m being gouged, I’m not going to buy something. But I don’t expect to get something for free or very cheap just because that something is “old” and has been in print for years. The words aren’t old even if the medium (a pbook) is.

    eBooks aren’t cars. Their value doesn’t depreciate just because they get old.

  4. The new “Signature Edition” paperbacks are available from Amazon for £3.79 to £6.29. Total price for all seven is £36.84, average price £5.26.

    I will not buy the ebooks is they cost more than the paperbacks. Ideally, I’d expect them to be available at a significant (25%-50%) discount over the paperbacks.

  5. “Firstly I seriously doubt the assertion that Rowling has anything whatsoever to do with the setting of the prices.”

    Since she’s putting these out, not her publishers, I’d think she has a fair bit to do with the prices.

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