Harry Potter Fans, Your Day Has Come

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.com.
Huge news broke this morning for a very specific fandom: Harry Potter audiobook fans. As of this morning, the entire series is available for download on Audible. Who's up for a really, really long car trip?

Though the books were released on cassette and CD back in ye olden times, they have never been available for audio download on Audible. They initially became available on iTunes in 2005, then were sold exclusively through Pottermore (at almost $50 a pop on both retailers). Redditors sometimes posted illegal rips, but most listeners were forced to lug around piles of CDs if they wanted to hear the dulcet tones of Jim Dale (whose Grammy-winning narration made him the voice of Harry Potter to millions of American listeners). Irate fans have railed at the injustice on message boards for years, speculating a bitter publishing-world feud or plot by J.K. Rowling to deprive fans of the great joy of listening to Half-Blood Prince while driving down the New Jersey Turnpike.

We may never know the (probably boring and money-related) reason why the audiobook thing was such an issue, but at last, all is right with the world — and just in time for your annual schlep home for the holidays. It's good news for international listeners, too, as Audible is also offering the German and U.K. versions, read by Felix von Manteuffel and Stephen Fry, respectively.

"The breathtaking performances of Jim Dale, Stephen Fry, and Felix von Manteuffel transform Harry Potter’s adventures into immersive and truly transporting new experiences — even for those who have already read the novels," Andy Gaies, Audible's chief content officer, said in a statement. "We look forward to bringing more listeners to this richly imagined universe."

Bring on the holiday traffic.
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