So, the bad news is there isn’t going to be another Harry Potter book or a sequel of any kind. The good news is, however, that all of the Harry Potter books will soon be available online for the very first time.
When she originally sold the publishing rights to these books, Rowling retained the e-book rights and now she is going to make these e-books available to consumers and sell them herself. What a smart cookie!
Publishers, I hope, will take note here; this is just another author who is demonstrating that she can “publish” better than a traditional publisher. And even though Scholastic, the US publisher of Harry Potter professes its support of this effort, I know they wish they had been able to purchase and control these rights themselves.
This is another indicator that publishers need to re-evaluate the royalties they are paying authors for the e-book rights they insist upon retaining when they buy publishing rights. As time goes on, if these royalties aren’t more equitable and if publishers continue to insist upon retaining e-book rights as part of their publishing deals, more and more authors are going to put their toes in the self-publishing waters. That, in my opinion, will hurt publishers more than they have been already by the huge growth of the digital book business and the demise of brick and mortar bookstores.
I do hope publishers will move faster toward this goal; the percentage of books being sold online continues to grow and authors are becoming very very restless.