FRANKFURT Nov 22 Pottermore, J.K. Rowling's
digital publishing company, expects to turn a profit in its
current fiscal year, buoyed by rising sales of audio books and
new ebooks that build on the nearly 20-year-old Harry Potter
franchise, the company said on Tuesday.
Launched as a fan community site in 2012, Pottermore has
evolved from a self-publishing site for one of the world's most
popular authors into a firm that sells increasing volumes of
ebooks and audio books via partnerships with online retailers.
Recognising the pitfalls of a purely go-it-alone,
direct-to-fans approach, Pottermore revamped its strategy in
2015 to also sell through Amazon.com, Apple,
Amazon's audio book unit Audible, Barnes & Noble, Google
and Rakuten-owned ebook publisher Kobo.
"If ebooks can work for anyone, they are going to work for
Harry Potter", said Joseph Evans, a technology analyst for media
market research firm Enders Analysis. But he noted how a push by
News Corp-owned publisher HarperCollins to create ebook
destination sites for other top authors has failed to take off.
For the fiscal year ended in March 2016, Pottermore's
revenue more than doubled year on year to 15.1 million pounds
($19 million). It narrowed its pretax loss to 4.9 million pounds
from 6.0 million in fiscal 2015.
The company has been investing in revamping the site,
publishing new digital editions of the original seven Harry
Potter titles and ebook shorts by Rowling that delve into the
stories, characters and settings imagined in the Potter realm.
"The new strategic plan is not only driving increased
revenue but is also putting us on the path to profitability for
our financial year ending in March 2017," Pottermore Chief
Executive Susan Jurevics said.
Pottermore is dwarfed by the broader Potter franchise of
books, video games, films and related products, which is
estimated to have generated as much as $15 billion in sales over
nearly two decades.
Last week, Pottermore.com published Rowling's screenplay for
the feature film "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", the
weekend's top box office draw, which took in $75 million for
film studio Warner Bros. Pictures in its first three
Fantastic Beasts depicts a struggle between North American
wizards and non-magical humans in New York in 1926, 70 years
before the adventures of Harry Potter, and is the first in a
planned five-part film series set to be released into the next
"There is huge interest in the Wizarding world," Jurevics
said in an interview. "This is a phenomenally evergreen
publishing property with a long future roadmap."
The original Harry Potter series of seven books, published
between 1997 and 2007, has sold more than 450 million copies
In addition to her royalties from books and films, Rowling
has retained ebook and audio book publishing rights to the Harry
Potter books, which she sells through Pottermore.com.
Beyond the ecommerce offerings, much of the interactive
content on the Pottermore site remains free to users, including
new works and previously unpublished writing by Rowling, not to
mention spells to charm and stupefy your friends.
Pottermore said results for the current 2017 fiscal year
will also be boosted by the publication in July of an ebook
version of the two-part play "Harry Potter and the Cursed
($1 = 0.8008 pounds)
(Editing by Mark Potter)