'Harry Potter' series coming to Kindle Owners' Lending Library

The books will be available for free starting on June 19. The Harry Potter series was previously only available in e-book format for purchase on the Pottermore Web site.

These books will soon be available for free in Amazon's Kindle Owners' Lending Library.
These books will soon be available for free in Amazon's Kindle Owners' Lending Library. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

All seven books in the "Harry Potter" franchise are coming to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

Starting June 19, Amazon Kindle owners who also subscribe to the company's Prime service will be able to check out the titles at no charge from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. According to Amazon, the titles can be borrowed as frequently as once a month, and unlike some other lending services that limit the number of e-books available, Amazon will have enough for anyone to access the books when they go live on the service.

"We're absolutely delighted to have reached this agreement with Pottermore," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said today in a statement. "This is the kind of significant investment in the Kindle ecosystem that we'll continue to make on behalf of Kindle owners."

Amazon didn't say just how "significant" of an investment it made to get exclusive access to the "Harry Potter" e-books. However, in an interview with PaidContent published today, Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne, whose company has been the exclusive seller of "Harry Potter" e-books since earlier this year , indicated that Amazon paid a significant amount for access to the titles.

"The way the deal is structured means that any lost sales are more than made up for," Redmayne said. "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."

Redmayne's Pottermore, which is part of the "Harry Potter" empire the series' author J.K. Rowling has built, charges between $7.99 and $9.99 for the individual e-books. Those who want to buy the entire collection will need to pay $57.54. The e-books are available in the EPUB format, meaning they'll work on a host of platforms, including iOS, Android, and Amazon's Kindle.

For Amazon, offering the "Harry Potter" franchise for free might cut into its return on investment, but the company ostensibly believes that the franchise is enough to get Kindle owners to sign up for Prime, and perhaps for would-be Kindle owners to make the plunge and buy one of its e-readers.

CNET has contacted Amazon for comment on how much it spent on the "Harry Potter" franchise. We will update this story when we have more information.

 

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