I’ve just finished reading the final part of the Harry Potter series. And guess what- I read from an ebook! Some crazy fan had taken the trouble of typing down the entire book (I’m positive he/she didn’t scan the book and use OCR, because of the numerous spelling mistakes!). Someone in my college got a copy and soon everyone had it. And all this within a couple of days of the book’s release! Well, I don’t consider it “piracy”. I think “pirates” (I hate to use the word, but I do it for simplicity) are the biggest fans of an author or musician. They like the work and are actually taking trouble to tell their friends and give them access to the work, as well. If you argue that this might cause huge monetary loss to the publishers and the author, let me tell you. These companies estimate their loss taking into consideration a lot of copies that would never have been sold anyway. I mean, a lot of people, like me, would never have bought the book anyway, (and I don’t think it’s worth paying 1000 Rs for) and I think if I had borrowed a real paper-copy from one of my friends and read, I would have caused Bloomsbury the same “loss”.
When you buy a book, the author gets very little of what you pay. Most of it goes into the publisher’s pocket. The present state of the communication technology is such that you really don’t need a publisher to make a creative work, and publishers of books, journals, music CD’s whatever- are desperate to stick to their outdated business models to maximize their profits and maintain their relevance. But if they don’t modify their business models to suit the technology they’ll go down the drain, however big they are.
As for the book, well, it’s just too much hype. The book, as a piece of literature, is just awful. I read it mainly to complete the plot of which I had read in the first six parts. The plot and scenes themselves are an ingenius remix of bits taken from other fantasies and mythologies, but that’s acceptable. You’ve got to applaud derivative works. I tremendously liked the end, though. It indeed was a grand and fitting finale. But the world which Rowling has created is too patchy and incomplete, and the seventh part carries none of the charm there was in her first and fourth. The only reason I can think of, for the historic fame of the Harry Potter series is that it doesn’t take much mental effort to read the book, and its world carries almost a one-to-one correspondence with our world, unlike other fantasies, and of course, it’s been cleverly marketed!