Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Do Technology and Magic Mix?

As fans of Marvel comics know, Dr. Doom's origin is rooted in the aphorism that technology and magic don't mix. When Reed Richards walked into his friend Victor von Doom's dorm room and discovered that Victor was in the middle of an experiment combining the two Reed had to intervene. Thus began one of the great thesis/antithesis (or hero/archvillain) narratives of comic book history.

Thus proving that while combining technology and magic may be immoral, it does lead to long term profit and comic book sales.

J.K. Rowling had long been on the side of Reed Richards and had avoided offering her cultural phenomenon Harry Potter novels to be sold in digital format. But it looks like the Mighty Marvel Marketing Maxim that combining technology and magic equals massive profit. Rowling has made all six Potter novels available for digital download.

Take a deep breath before you get excited about the prospect of printing multiple copies for your grandmother, neighbors, and random people you meet on the street. The Potter books are only available as digital MP3 downloads at iTunes. The "box set" download does include "digital booklets" which contain descriptions of each novel and if you order the box set you get a 20GB "special" iPod (all for a mere $548.00).

So now all of you who own the books can pay the same price again for audio copies and double the price if you want an iPod. Given the iPod's stict protocols which, while not making piracy impossible, make piracy too annoying for your average user, I don't expect that Rowling will do anything other than count the money pouring in from Apple.

Now if only we could find a Reed Richards...

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