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J.K. Rowling may allow Harry Potter e-books

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(Read caption) For J.K. Rowling to allow the Harry Potter books to appear in electronic format would be "akin to the Beatles allowing their music to be launched on iTunes," says one observer.

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After witnessing the magic e-books have wrought in the publishing world, J.K. Rowling is introducing Harry Potter to the newest platform since 9 ¾ – the digital platform. The move could revolutionize e-books, and bring Ms. Rowling, the second wealthiest woman in entertainment after Oprah Winfrey, another colossal windfall.

Rowling, who declined e-book deals for years, hinted that she’s likely to release digital versions of her bestselling books soon, making Harry Potter and his world of wizardry available on iPads and Kindles.

“The e-book format is now something that is being actively considered,” Ms. Rowling’s agent confirmed over the weekend.

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The move would transform the electronic market and add to Rowling’s already impressive net worth. Rowling’s fortune is estimated at £620 million, more than $1 billion USD. The e-books could net her another £100 million, according to Liz Thomson, editor of book industry website BookBrunch.

“I wouldn't be too surprised if the rights for the e-books are sold for £100million,” Ms. Thomson told UK media. “Experts believe the move could revolutionize the world of electronic publishing, triggering rocketing sales of e-book readers such as the Kindle and the iPad.”

Rowling is very protective of her novels and the move to e-books signals a sea change in her attitudes, and a boon to the e-book industry, Claire Squires, director of Stirling University's centre for international publishing and communication, told the Scottish paper, the Scotsman.

“It is akin to the Beatles allowing their music to be launched on iTunes,” she said.

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Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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