If you’re one of the last few people on Earth who haven’t read the Harry Potter series, now you have no excuse. Today Amazon announced that it’s adding all seven of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
That means if you have an Amazon Prime membership (available for an annual fee of $79) you can “borrow” any of the Harry Potter books for free. Amazon Prime members can borrow one book per month with no due dates, plus they get free two-day shipping on most products sold directly by Amazon and the ability to stream certain movies and TV shows for free.
Rowling only made her Harry Potter series available in e-book form in March of this year. What makes this move surprising is that she has been so protective over her work in the past; Rowling owns the digital rights to her work and previously the only way to read the Harry Potter e-books was to buy them through links to Rowling’s Pottermore website.
Now, starting on June 19, you’ll be able to read all of the books for free via Amazon. Why would Pottermore all of a sudden allow this? The company’s CEO, a man with the appropriately Hogwarts-esque name of Charlie Redmayne, explained the move to paidContent:
“The way the deal is structured means that any lost sales are more than made up for,” Redmayne says. “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.”
In the end, this looks like a move to lure people to Amazon Prime, which is the company’s answer to Netflix and other streaming services. So there you go; Amazon paid Pottermore a huge sum of money to lend its books out, all in the hopes of bolstering its video streaming and expedited shipping service. Welcome to the world of new media, my friends.