Break out your iPods: Harry Potter is going digital.
J.K. Rowling, once publishing’s greatest holdout against the computer age, has made all six Potter novels available for audio downloads.
“Many Harry Potter fans have been keen for digital access for a while, but the deciding factor for me in authorizing this new version is that it will help combat the growing incidents of piracy in this area,” Rowling said in a message posted on her Web site.
“There have been a number of incidents where fans have stumbled upon unauthorized files believing them to be genuine and, quite apart from the fact that they are illegal, the Harry Potter content of these can bear very little resemblance to anything I’ve ever written!”
The digital audiobooks are being released by the Random House Audio Trade Group, her current audio publisher. They can be purchased through Apple’s iTunes store, for prices ranging from $32.95 for a single book to $249 for the whole series – which, according to Random House, includes a “full color digital booklet” and “previously unreleased readings” by Rowling.
Rowling’s fantasy series, most recently “Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince,” has sold more than 200 million copies worldwide in print editions and more than 5 million as audiobooks, narrated by Grammy winner Jim Dale.
But up to now the author had only permitted paper and traditional audio releases, making her work a favorite for online pirates.
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