Los Gatos, Calif., April 1, 2009 -- In a move likely to send shock waves through the book publishing industry, author J.K. Rowling today published all seven Harry Potter titles as multi-format ebooks with the ebook self-publishing service Smashwords.
“Publishing with Smashwords was incredibly easy, and you don’t need to study at Hogwarts to master its magic,” said J.K. Rowling. “With a few waves of my mouse - my Harry Potter books instantly materialized online in multiple ebook formats, ready for immediate sampling and sale.”
The news came as a pleasant surprise to some industry watchers. “Until today, J.K. Rowling refused to allow her books to be published in ebook form,” said Hobson Gobnobbler, editor of the popular ebook industry blog, DigitalBookNews.com. “This is big news for Rowling fans everywhere, and it’s especially significant she’s making the ebooks available without copy protection. It means she trusts her customers to not pirate her books.”
According to Neil Blair, Rowling’s lawyer, the decision to publish with Smashwords was a simple one. “Smashwords offers an 85 percent net royalty on all ebook sales, much higher than we could negotiate with any of the commercial publishers, and infinitely higher than the nothing we’re getting from all the ebook pirating sites.”
The books are priced at only USD $7.95 each, yet still earn Rowling a hefty royalty of $6.31 per copy.
“Because of the high royalty at Smashwords,” added Rowling, “I’m able to offer my books at a dramatically lower cost than their print counterparts, yet earn more than I get selling a print copy for $35.00. The lower cost also makes my books affordable to more readers, which expands the overall market for my books.”
In a move that could inspire other best-selling authors to follow her lead, Rowling, already celebrated for her generous philanthropy, will donate all Smashwords proceeds during the first 12 months to charity. Smashwords has agreed to donate its 15 percent share of the proceeds to charity as well.
“We’re absolutely thrilled Ms. Rowling has chosen to publish with Smashwords,” said Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords. “We wish this news was true, but sadly, it’s only an April Fools prank. However, for the first former number one New York Times best-selling author to publish their book at Smashwords, we will pay them 100 percent of the net for 12 months.”
NOTE TO EDITORS AND LAWYERS:
This press release is an April Fools press release. J.K. Rowling is not a Smashwords author, at least not yet. The quote from her real-life lawyer, Mr. Blair, was purely fictional for he did not say the words we attribute to him so please don’t sue us, we’re sorry. The offer of 100 percent net, however is real. To qualify, an author’s book must have previously appeared in the number one position of the New York Times bestseller fiction or non-fiction list within the last ten years. For all other authors, the standard 85 percent net applies.
About Smashwords, Inc.
Launched in 2008, privately held Smashwords operates a digital publishing platform and online book store for independent ebook authors, publishers and their readers. The free service puts authors and publishers in full control over the publishing, pricing and marketing of their works. In addition to receiving exposure to hundreds of thousands of potential readers on the Smashwords web site and via distribution on Stanza, authors and publishers receive up to 85% of the net proceeds from sales of their works. For readers, Smashwords offers the opportunity to discover exciting new voices in fiction and non-fiction. Smashwords, Inc. is based in Los Gatos, California, and can be reached on the web at http://www.smashwords.com/. Visit the official Smashwords blog at http://blog.smashwords.com/