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Evanesco! Now Publishing Savior Harry Potter Will Make Paper Books Disappear

By selling more than 400 million copies, the seven-book Harry Potter series helped keep the traditional publishing industry afloat from 1997 to 2007. Now author J.K. Rowling is considering finally putting the series on e-readers. If that happens, consider it the death kneel of the physical book industry.

Granted, Harry Potter alone wouldn't push paperback and hardback readers into digital books, but it would be the last act of a slow-motion drama that's been unfolding since last year:

Kelly Gallagher of the publishing firm Bowker told USA Today:

Overall, he says, more books, both print and digital, are being sold, but the average hardcover costs $15.50, while the average e-book is $8.75. That means "e-books are cannibalizing the print book market."

Indeed, Publisher's Weekly reports that up to 10 percent of 2010 book sales at the big four publishers -- Random House, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette Book Group -- were from e-book sales. Random House alone saw e-book sales jump 250 percent from 2009. Harry Potter publishers Bloomsbury (UK) and Scholastic (US) have been mum on the series coming to e-readers, but the numbers have to be putting some pressure on Rowling or her business managers. Until recently, the author insisted that she didn't want her books on any e-readers.

Other top sellers like the Tattoo series and Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games are thriving on the e-book platforms. It would make sense for Rowling, who wrapped up the Potter series two years ago, to release the e-books just as the final Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows movie hits screens this July.

Photo courtesy of Keenan Pepper // CC 2.0

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