Audiobooks and E-books

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Given the immense popularity of the Harry Potter book series, as well as evolving technology since its publication, it was inevitable that the seven books in the series would get converted into multiple formats to increase their accessibility to readers of all types. The series was first converted into audiobook format, with Stephen Fry narrating the UK versions and Jim Dale narrating the US versions. Then, with the growing popularity of e-books made accessible through e-readers and tablets, the entire series was converted into e-book format in 2012 exclusively through Pottermore, making it that more convenient to carry around the entire Potter series on a single device.

 

Audiobooks

 


 

The Harry Potter series has been made available in several languages over the years, and the audiobooks have slowly evolved from cassette tapes and CDs to digital products.

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History
The story of the Harry Potter audiobooks began on November 22, 1999, over two years after the first book was published, when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, read by Stephen Fry, was released in the UK. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, read by Jim Dale, was released in the US nine days later, on December 1, 1999. These two men would continue their auditory journey through July 21, 2007, when both versions of the audiobook of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were concurrently released with the hardback editions.

On September 7, 2005, the first digital editions of the audiobooks were offered exclusively on iTunes. They were previously available only on CD and cassette tape.

In 2017, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child were also added to the audiobook family. In 2018, the audiobook of Quidditch Through the Ages was released. In 2020, several actors associated with the Harry Potter franchise contributed to an audiobook recording of The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Today, the entire Potter series is available in MP3 format in Arabic, Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, English (UK and US), Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish, Spanish (US), Swedish, and Turkish. The first six books of the series are available in Brazilian Portuguese. The first book of the series is available in neutral, Peninsular, and Rioplatense Spanish.

Trivia
  • The series is the best-selling audiobooks in history.
  • At 43.5 hours, the Japanese edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the longest audiobook in the series.
  • At 8.25 hours, the neutral Spanish edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone are the shortest audiobooks in the series.
  • The total time of the US editions is 116.75 hours, or 4 days, 20 hours, and 45 minutes.
  • The total time of the UK editions is 124 hours, or 5 days and 4 hours, meaning the UK editions of the series last 8 hours and 45 minutes longer than the US editions.
  • On December 26, 2000, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was played uninterrupted on Radio 4 LW, making broadcasting history.
  • Ever since the release of the fourth book, the US audiobooks have been simultaneously released with the physical copies. The UK audiobooks were not simultaneously released until the seventh book.
  • The US audiobook of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince sold 165,000 copies in its first two days, setting a record as the largest two-day sale in audiobook history. The CD also made the second best-selling title on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites, behind the hardback edition, unheard of for an audiobook.
  • For Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, both Stephen Fry and Jim Dale recorded 146 different and distinguishable character voices, the most ever recorded for an audiobook.
  • The narrator of the Italian audiobooks, Francesco Pannofino, is a famous Italian actor who is known for being the official voice of the actor George Clooney in Italy. He is also known to have lent his voice to Hollywood stars Denzel Washington, Antonio Banderas, Tom Hanks, and many others.
  • The Spanish audiobook Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal, narrated by Carlos Ponce, was released as part of the launch of Audible Latino, a site intended for Hispanic listeners to be able to find an extensive catalog of Spanish-language audiobooks. The version narrated by Lenor Watling was released as part of the launch of Audible España.

 

E-Books

 

 

The Harry Potter series and other companion books have been translated into many languages of e-books. The newest advancement in Potter-related e-books came in the form of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Illustrated Kindle in Motion edition, with animations and videos integrated throughout the pages.

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History
Pottermore

On March 27, 2012, the Harry Potter books were released for the first time in e-book format, exclusively available on Pottermore. Originally released in English (in both the UK and the US), the e-book editions are now available in 25 different languages.

On November 19, 2012, J.K. Rowling announced that all proceeds from the e-book sales of The Tales of Beedle the Bard would benefit her charity, Lumos. On March 15, 2013, in honor of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day, J.K. Rowling released Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in e-book format on Pottermore, with 40% of the proceeds benefiting the charity.

Enhanced Editions

On October 8, 2015, in collaboration with Apple and Pottermore, J.K. Rowling released all seven Harry Potter novels as iBooks from Apple’s iBooks Store. Annotations from Rowling herself have been added to these editions, suitably marked with quill icons. These newest editions also include the Kindle in Motion feature. Illustrations and animations fill the pages, making it a brand-new visual experience altogether. New fonts and customized, redesigned covers are also additions that make this release unique. Each novel, the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and several companion books are available on the iBooks Store and can be purchased from nearly 50 countries in many different languages.

Trivia
  • E-readers that first supported the Harry Potter e-books included the Amazon Kindle, the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Google Play store, the Apple iPad, and the Sony Reader platform.
  • The e-book versions of the Harry Potter novels were originally supposed to be made available in October 2011, but the launch was delayed because Pottermore was struggling to cope with overwhelming demand from beta users.
  • The first three e-books originally each cost $7.99 and the final four each cost $9.99. The entire seven-book collection cost $61.70 to download. Each of the seven e-books now costs $8.99 individually (or $56.64 for the entire collection, a 10% savings) through Pottermore.
  • The most recent cover illustrations for the e-books were designed by Olly Moss. Moss’s main technique was to combine two or more aspects of each story into a double image.
  • The seven Harry Potter books are available to download in ePub format, which is the format supported by the largest number of devices.
  • On September 6, 2016, Pottermore released three e-book titles in its Pottermore Presents series - Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide; Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies; and Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists. Each of the three titles includes writing previously published by J.K. Rowling on the Pottermore website that expands upon characters and elements from the Harry Potter series.

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