with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Well, the news is full of the news. The sixth Harry Potter book is out, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”. Millions of the book are expected to be sold within the next few hours around the world.

A bookstore in Canada released the book early by “mistake” and an court order was issued “banning the disclosure of the story’s contents after a number of the books were sold by mistake.”

Well, that peeked our curiousity, so I got onto eDonkey, one of our file sharing services and checked for “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince”.

Within an hour or so of the “official” release, there were 132 various copies of “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Game” and books, in many various formats including pdb, the format for Palm handheld computer book reading programs. I’ve never heard of the computer game, but that’s a possiblity. There were also mp3 files of the book which is also available on CD and Audio Cassette.

I checked a few hours later, and WOW! There were then 2,756 postings. And in different languages!

Now, I’m sure that the majority of these links are fake. There are always people with too much time on their hands and evil in their heads who put up fake files with porn, their trashy writing, or just nothing, or the occassional virus, onto file sharing networks. BUT if you are persistent, you will find the “real thing” among all the fakes.

I am not advocating you download the book for free or “steal” it or anything like that. This is just an amazing phenomenon that is worthy of watching. So let’s do a little math.

If 1% of 2756 files online are legit, that means that 28 of the files online are real and people can download the book or mp3 audio files or whatever and read them. Their chance of “selling” the files is practically nil, but the odds that they will then share the file with at least one other person….well, let’s be generous and say that about 200 of these will be spread around. The book is selling currently on Amazon at USD $17.99. That means a loss of $3,600 because of file sharing.

More than 265 million copies of the Harry Potter books have been sold in 200 countries, and the new book is expected to sell 12 million books in the first printing, with more coming quickly behind it. The Harry Potter brand is now worth over USD $1 Billion and author, JK Rowling, is now considered the richest woman in the UK, deservedly so. An amazing success story, one to be proud of.

And if we were to just randomly take the Amazon sales price and apply it to the 12 million books expected to be sold, that’s USD $215,880,000.00, if I did the math right.

According to a BBC Article, “Meanwhile, supermarket giant Tesco estimates that it will sell 300 copies a minute when the book finally goes on sale in the early hours of Saturday morning.”

Well, I think we’ve done that math. Within one minute, Tesco will sell more books than will probably be found in the next couple days online for free. Wow!

And even if a thousand copies of the books are downloaded for free from the Internet downloading services, I don’t see that making a big dent in the overall income of the book. People still want to hold the books in their hands and put them on the shelf. Yet, because I personally think that file sharing has gotten a horrible rap, I know that there will be a big stink about file sharing and the “loss of income” because of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince being found on file sharing and online downloading services.

We own multiple copies of Harry Potter. We have the full series in hardback, paperback, in English and in Hebrew. Brent read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Hebrew. I like bragging. He read the first three books entirely in Hebrew. I think we even have the first or second one in Spanish. We also have the first five in digital form as a book. I read almost all my books on my hand held computer now.

So what are we going to do for book six of the Harry Potter series? Wait until the panic is over and probably buy the book in English, and order the book online in digital form, so Brent can read the book and I can read mine.

What a world we live in to have such choices.



  • filipa
    Posted August 12, 2005 at 16:55 | Permalink

    olha, ta mal pk eu tb kero ler o livro!! devia ter saido em todas as linguas ao mm tempo!”!

    translating: look, i think it is wrong because i want to read the book! It should be sold at the same time in all over the world!!

    Filipa, a 17-portuguese-girl

  • og snigs
    Posted August 31, 2005 at 10:34 | Permalink

    me too

  • moni
    Posted November 14, 2005 at 10:42 | Permalink

    tia filipa no tienes ni zorra de hablar español asik mjor t kdas calladita eh….

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