Google eReader to Receive Magical Assistance
The LA Times reports today that Harry Potter (NASDAQ:SCHL) is teaming up with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to cast a spell on ecommerce users. J.K. Rowling, who opted to self-publish eBook versions of her seven part wizardly novel series, has agreed to a partnership with Google that will give the tech leader the rights to sell Potter books through its Google Books service. The deal is a major league win for the Mountainview, CA based company as it beats out competition from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to land rights to the popular novels. Rowling may have opted to go with Google because the company does not retain 30% of online sales proceeds (which the others do).
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Although it has been several years since the release of the last installment in the Potter series, interest has been kept strong by the debut of eight movies based on the books from Warner Bros. Studios (NYSE:TWX). Analyst believe demand remains very strong for electronic versions of Rowling’s novels, which will shortly make their first appearance on the web.
Ecommerce blogger Craig Vodnik equates Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) landing of the Potter series with Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) securing the rights to the Beatles’ music on iTunes. “It could be a really, really big deal if this works out based off the titles she’s written and she’s just so well-known. From the publisher’s perspective it’s a big deal because it could give them some control over how they distribute their products. The Beatles sold so many albums and had so many songs,” he continued. “Rowling is the same in that perspective, but she is much more current and she could put out more titles. She could actually be more influential over the next 20 years.”
Also included in the deal is another subtle victory for Google, in that it secured rights to provide exclusive payment services to Rowling’s soon to be released social networking fan-site “Pottermore.” The company’s Google Checkout upended its main competition, eBay’s (NASDAQ:EBAY) PayPal service in landing the deal. Checkout will be the only payment option for Pottermore users looking to purchase books, online content, or other items from the website’s store.