Potter Novels Available for Downloads

NEW YORK - Break out your iPods: Harry Potter is going digital. J.K. Rowling, once publishing's greatest holdout against the computer age, has made all six Potter novels available for audio downloads.

In a message posted Wednesday on her Web site, Rowling said she was concerned about online piracy, included bootleg editions for which the original text was altered.

'Many Harry Potter fans have been keen for digital access for a while, but the deciding factor for me in authorizing this new version is that it will help combat the growing incidents of piracy in this area,' Rowling wrote.

'There have been a number of incidents where fans have stumbled upon unauthorized files believing them to be genuine and, quite apart from the fact that they are illegal, the Harry Potter content of these can bear very little resemblance to anything I've ever written!'

The digital audiobooks are being released by the Random House Audio Trade Group, her current audio publisher. They can be purchased through Apple's iTunes store, for prices ranging from $32.95 for a single book to $249 for the whole series, which, according to Random House, includes a 'full color digital booklet' and 'previously unreleased readings' by Rowling."

Now, nothing against ipod users, but what about the rest of us? Frankly, I am quite happy with my Creative Zen and the local library, which has copies of all the H.P. books on audio cd. Though I wonder what's faster, ripping or downloading?