Well if the death of the brick and mortar bookstore isn’t coming fast enough, our friends in the “Harry Potter” franchise are helping to speed it along and this time it’s not even the deplorable villain Voldemort, it’s J.K Rowling herself. As Britons richest woman, she has decided to bypass the famed brick and mortar shops which have brought her, her queen size check book. Here she is going direct to the people, her fan base as well as her future fans with electronic editions of her famed tomes and assuredly add on franchises.
This is creating quite the uproar in the publishing community as they are the ones who have made her what she is today (the book stores) are going to lose out on the future spoils in their own online electronic stores which signal a worrisome move for not only our brick friends of old, however also the new giant middlemen such as Amazon and Apples iBooks are out in the cold on this one too.
While Rowling has the wear with all to fund an e-commerce site such as she is with “Pottermore.com“, it also goes to show how easy in concept it is for other authors to embrace similar distribution means even if less austere then J.K.’s Online version of Disney Land. As the main goal of a business enterprise is to get product from the few, into the hands of the many and what better way than having it come from the author themselves? However what about all the people in the middle, as the cold rules of capitalism say survival of the fittest is the rule of the land, thus the best mouse trap catches the most mice. What will the people displaced by this new movement due to replace their lost income as without a paycheck Rowling won’t be selling to many books (speaking rhetorically), and retooling of skills of these folks can take upwards of a decade.
The other interesting point in Rowling’s decision to ply these waters is she wanted a neutral platform for release which I applaud her for in sending this message as its been a long time in coming as I can buy a book and just read it without concerning myself of where it was purchased. Also in my mind the same goes for music as if you wanted to be truly capitalistic about it, iTunes (as an example) should allow you to also buy from the Amazon store an vice a versa if you breaking down (electronic) boundaries thus increasing competition which is the corner stone of western capitalism.
One final thought is as we’ve waxed here in the past that once pulp production falls below critical mass to produce an economical product. The slippery slope of no return will be upon as the death of the paper tome will be here. So how many paper copies of Rowling’s tomes have been printed that will no longer be? Well at least the trees can breathe easier save for the fact of now being made into magic wands rather than the tomes of old…