Harry Potter digital audiobooks debut exclusively on Apple iTunes Music Store

Apple today announced that the entire Harry Potter audiobook series is now available exclusively on the iTunes Music Store, the world’s number one online music service. For the first time ever, every audiobook in the series, including the latest release, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” is available as a digital download from iTunes. Customers can either download individual audiobooks or the complete Harry Potter Digital Box Set which includes a full color digital booklet as well as previously unreleased readings from author J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter fans can also purchase the complete Harry Potter Digital Box Set together with a Collector’s Edition 20GB iPod engraved with the Hogwarts crest.

“We are honored that J.K. Rowling has picked iTunes for the debut of the Harry Potter audiobook series,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in the press release. “We’re delighted to be able to bring these wonderful and wildly popular stories to iTunes Music Store customers.”

The complete Harry Potter Digital Box Set is equivalent to almost 100 CDs, but customers can purchase this entire audiobook collection with just one click and then transfer all six books onto their iPod to take with them wherever they go.

Up to now, The Harry Potter audiobook series from Listening Library (a division of the Random House Audio Publishing Group) has been available only on CD and cassette. It is by far the best selling series in the history of audiobook publishing, with the six books selling over five million copies. The narrator of all six books available in North America, Jim Dale, won a Grammy award in 2000 for “Best Spoken Word” as well as earned three Grammy nominations for his work on the series. The audiobook series is available online for the first time exclusively on iTunes.

With Apple’s legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as integrated Podcasting support, iMix playlist sharing, seamless integration with iPod and groundbreaking personal use rights, the iTunes Music Store is the best way for Mac and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music online. The iTunes Music Store features two million songs from the major music companies and over 1,000 independent record labels, 10,000 audiobooks, gift certificates and exclusive music not found anywhere else online.

Individual audiobooks from the Harry Potter series are priced from $32.95 to $49.95 (US), and the Harry Potter Digital Box Set is $249 (US). Purchase and download of songs and audiobooks from the iTunes Music Store for Mac or Windows requires a valid credit card with a billing address in the country of purchase.

More info at the iTunes Music Store here.

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8 Comments

  1. I hate to complain as this _is_ glad news. But I’m disappointed that only the US versions narrated by Jim Dale are available. I far prefer Stephen Fry, narrator of the British version (and also star of many fims and tv series such as ‘Jeeves and Wooster’.) Fry is a class act.

    And he’s blogging now:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-fry/the-great-stink-of-2005_b_6892.html

    MW=’theres’ as in ‘New Orleans? Theres no longer any there, there.’

  2. $299CAN for the box set?!? Screw THAT. How can they possibly justify charging 50% more than it would cost to buy all the movies on DVD (once they’re all made)? At least it’s cheaper than what it would cost to buy the audio CDs, but man, that smarts!

    Bittorrent to the rescue…

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