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Harry Potter e-books to join Amazon's Kindle lending library

May 10, 2012 |  8:42 am

J.K. Rowling's bestselling Harry Potter series will be available as free e-books to Kindle owners through Amazon's members-only lending library beginning June 19
Amazon's Kindle lending library, the program in which Kindle owners who have access to the library can borrow e-books for free, announced Thursday that the Harry Potter books will be among its offerings. To access the lending library, readers must be members of the Amazon Prime program, which has a $79 annual fee.

Potter fans had a long wait for the young wizard's stories to appear in e-book form; they have been available for sale from the official Pottermore website since late March. When the e-books finally arrived, they were made very welcome. In Britain, $1.6 million worth of Harry Potter e-books were sold in just three days; the first month's total was more than $4.8 million.

Amazon has not announced the terms of the deal with author J.K. Rowling to add the books to its lending library, but its news release notes that the company has "purchased" a license from Rowling's Pottermore site.

Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne was a little more forthcoming. "The way the deal is structured means that any lost sales are more than made up for," Redmayne told the website PaidContent. "Yes, some people will borrow from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library and therefore not buy, but Amazon is paying us a large amount of money for that right, and I believe it's a commercial deal that makes sense."

Although Amazon is now prominently displaying the Harry Potter series in the Kindle imaging on the site, and offering a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial, that won't quite get free e-book editions of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and its sequels into readers' hands. The series won't be available to Kindle owners until June 19.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Image: A screenshot of Amazon.com showing Harry Potter books on the Kindle. Credit: Amazon.com

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