Pottermore: YA Ebooks Are About to Take Off

Just wanted to quickly point out some good news coming down the pipe for Young Adult and Middle Grade authors. Pottermore (aside: where the hell is my welcome email?) is, among other things, the nexus for Harry Potter ebooks. Rumors have circulated that the ebooks would be released one at a time, providing yet another opportunity to build Potter buzz, and more recently that Sony had exclusive rights to sell the ebooks early, bundled with their new Reader. (In fact, the ebooks will be available to everyone at the same time that Sony’s Reader bundle comes out.)

Pottermore, Harry Potter ebook siteThat new Sony Reader will be a hot item, unless Sony manages to really drop the ball. I’m not ruling out the ball-dropping, as Sony has made a mess of their consumer electronics in the last ten years, but honestly. They could bundle the Harry Potter ebooks with a Palm Pilot and it would still sell. The timing is going to mean lots of new Potter-themed Sony Readers bought for Christmas. Plenty of people who don’t splash out for the new Reader will still buy the ebooks, or buy other e-readers for their kids. In sum: the release of the Harry Potter ebooks, alongside the launch of Pottermore and the new Sony Reader, will lead to more kids with e-readers in early 2012, and more kids reading ebooks in general.

In addition to the big Pottermore push, the upcoming holiday season is seen as another breakthrough for ebooks. Last year’s was big, and this year we’ll see an Amazon tablet and a new Kindle, not to mention the new Nook and Kobo readers. And anecdotal evidence (I overheard two guys talking at Target last night) suggests that this back-to-school season is driving e-reader sales for college kids. Early next year there will be a lot more people reading ebooks, and lots of them will be readers of YA and MG.

Great news, considering there aren’t that many now. Currently adult fiction genres such as romance and thriller are leading the ebook pack. Not many kids have regular access to e-readers right now, and those who do are often not in a position to buy the books. Look for that to change in a few short months.

What are your thoughts on the Potter ebooks and the Many Upcoming Things to Purchase? I’m underwhelmed by my Sony Reader (granted, it’s a cheaper, older model, and handy for testing ebooks I develop) and their bundled software should be staked out to die in the sun. But I’d still consider buying the special Potter-themed Reader.