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BY NICO VREELAND

Earlier today, MobileRead posted a link to a YouTube video showcasing the new Onyx Boox’s touchscreen capabilities. Unfortunately, the video evidently showed off those capabilities while reading a Harry Potter book, and J.K. Rowling, fearing piracy, has refused to let her books be made into ebooks. It was (eek) a pirated copy, and the video was taken down shortly.

I find the Harry Potter ebook fiasco pretty hilarious, because, Harry Potter being perhaps the most popular book series on earth, bootlegged ebooks are readily available. Here are LRFs of the whole series, and if you can’t read LRFs, Calibre can convert them to ePubs for you. I had the whole series within a few hours of getting my Sony, and I’m not even particularly a fan of Harry Potter.

The bootleg ebooks are not good. There are a lot of missing spaces between words, and no paragraph breaks (although it is DRM-free, of course, that being one of the top benefits of piracy). I would predict that, if a legit digital version were made available, it would sell approximately a bajillion copies instantaneously. And yet, a fear of it getting pirated is literally forcing anyone who wants an ebook version to pirate it.

It’s as if J.K. Rowling’s internal metaphor alarm went off, and she realized that the world needed a microcosmic example of the heavy price media enterprises pay when they allow themselves to be paralyzed by fear. If that was the goal, well done.

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