Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pottermore Shop Scotches My 8-Download Limit

16 April 2012 UPDATE: When “The Pottermore Shop team” was pleased to inform me in its email late last week that the remaining downloads of my Sorcerer’s Stone had been “increased” (see post below) I should have double-clicked on my copy of the book in my account’s “My Books” page and inspected the number of remaining downloads it displayed.  Had I done so I’d have seen the total number was now 6, or merely 1 more than it had been before.  Basically I’d been spotted an extra download in compensation for my original trouble obtaining a readable copy of the DRM-free edition for my PC.  Hardly noteworthy.  However, I used the extra download to try pulling a copy of Sorcerer’s Stone onto my mother-in-law’s iPad, which turned out to be a breeze.

*     *     *     *     *

Curiouser and curiouser.

Received an unexpected email today from “The Pottermore Shop team”.  If you’ve read my post Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s DRM-Free eBook, you know that I experienced some difficulties directly downloading a DRM-free copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to my PC.  I vented my frustrations to Pottermore Shop’s tech support and initially received an unhelpful email reply with step-by-step instructions for downloading the file.  I replied to the reply that downloading the file wasn’t my problem: reading the file was.  Well, today’s email explained that my “query” had been forwarded to “our technical team and we’re now pleased to tell you that the remaining downloads of your Harry Potter book "The Sorcerer's Stone" have been increased.”

Upon visiting my Pottermore Shop account I discovered, indeed, that I now appear to have an indefinite number of downloads at my disposal and the 8-download limit has been done away with.  The Q&A on the right nav of “My books” page puts it this way:
How many times can I download each book?

The books that you buy from the Pottermore Shop can be downloaded multiple times each for no additional cost.
OK: multiple times is an ambiguous number.  And, oddly, Pottermore Shop doesn't seem to have discontinued the 8-download limit across the board; it’s still mentioned on the site’s Downloading eBooks page.

So good on Rowling and Co. to own up to their mistakes and take action to set things right.  But it appears this gesture is strictly for customers the site judges to have been inconvenienced during Pottermore Shop’s rocky opening.  It doesn’t represent the kind of sea change in sales philosophy I’d originally thought (and hoped) it to be.  (Yet to be learned is whether this indeterminate limit applies to any future ebooks I might buy from the site.)

BTW: through all of this I’ve failed to point out that, ironically, my first, unreadable direct download from Pottermore Shop never counted against my now revoked 8-download limit.  It was only after initiating the successful download the following day that I noticed my Pottermore Shop download count had reached 3—1 for my Kindle version, 1 for my Nook version, and 1 for my readable, DRM-free direct download.  The previous day’s unreadable download had clearly never been counted at all.

Lastly, I did confirm that that infamous first, unreadable file, 9781781100271_epub.v1.epub, was in fact Nook-DRMed.  Here’s how I verified it: after synching my desktop PC with my Nook account my Nookcentric copy of Sorcerer’s Stone—the one Pottermore Shop had successfully sent directly to my B&N cloud account to read on my Nook 3G—appeared on my hard drive in the folder My Barnes & Noble eBooks.  Its name: harrypotterandthesor_9781781100271.  So I moved it to a backup folder, copied 9781781100271_epub.v1.epub into My Barnes & Noble eBooks, and renamed it harrypotterandthesor_9781781100271.  With the new name I was able to open and read it with my PC’s Nook ereader software.  It was clearly identical.

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