J.K. Rowling has been very protective of Harry Potter, not letting her boy wizard jump into the e-book format until 2012. When he finally did, it was part of a universe she controlled, Pottermore.
Now the seven original Harry Potter books are available as e-books outside that universe at newcomer Oyster, the e-book subscription service that's competing to be a new go-to destination for e-book readers. Oyster joins Amazon, which has offered Rowling's books via Amazon's Kindle Owners' Lending Library since 2012, and via Kindle Unlimited since 2014.
FOR THE RECORD
Jan. 29, 5:15 p.m.: A previous version of this post said that the Harry Potter books were available for the first time outside of Pottermore. Amazon Kindle Owners' Lending Library users have had access to the series since 2012.
The company announced a partnership with Pottermore on Wednesday that will bring the world of Hogwarts to its users. Rather than buy individual e-books, Oyster subscribers pay $9.95 per month to access all the e-books in its library -- sort of like Netflix for e-books.
In addition to the seven novels, Oyster subscribers will also be able to read Rowling's three supplementary "Hogwarts Library" books: "Quidditch Through the Ages," "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" and "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" (which is being adapted into a movie written by Rowling).
Aspiring wizards (and muggles) will be able to customize their reading experience with the Oyster editions -- users will be asked to choose one of the four "Harry Potter" houses, which will set the color scheme and typography for the books. The uninitiated can let the "Sorting Hat" choose one for them, if they're not ready to select their favorite house. (Ravenclaw, obviously.) The company also announced that their literary publication, The Oyster Review, will feature original articles on the "Harry Potter" books for the rest of this week.
The Harry Potter deal is a huge get for Oyster, which is competing with Scribd, a similar independent e-book subscription service, and Amazon's Kindle Unlimited. Oyster, which now has more than 1 million books in its library, recently announced deals with Big Five publishers Simon & Schuster and Macmillan to offer some of their titles on the service. HarperCollins had signed on previously.
Oyster subscribers can read books they get through their subscriptions on Amazon Kindle Fire, Nook HD, Apple iOS and Android devices.