For those that are not up on the recent J.K. Rowling's announcement about Pottermore here's the video straight from her:
This will be yet another revolution in publishing. To have a site (and here's the important part) that is controlled by the author who has exclusive rights to electronic distribution is MAJOR!!
Rowling's won't have to share distribution fees with Amazon or Barnes and Noble. She'll not have to compete with other books - everyone who comes to the site is there to buy. She'll provide access to intellectual property that no one but she owns. It's brilliant and something that only someone with the clout of Rowlings could pull off but expect to see a lot more of this from authors who receive a popular following.
From a business perspective, she has a lot of partners helping in this and some are big players: Sony, Scholastic, and even Warner Brothers as they apparently own the copyright on the Harry Potter Characters (when did that happen??)
Since the ebooks have never been published I suspect that Scholastic did not have the rights to them. After all the series started when ebooks were still in their infancy and no contracts at that time could have predicted what was to become. But I suspect, that a non-compete clause has prevented her from selling, or releasing for herself the ebooks rights as well. So they were basically in limbo with neither party able to do anything about it.
A press release issued by Scholastic indicates they will be getting a "royalty" from the ebooks published so my guess is Rowlings had to "pay" to get out of the non-compete by offering them a piece of the action. I also noted that all digital rights (including audio) are now in her control so she also probably paid a pretty penny for that but in the long rung well worth it to have complete control of her digital rights.
I'll be watching Pottermore's developments with great interest, it might just be a blue print for others to follow. After watching the video, all I could do was channel Ron Wesley with a awed, "That's bloody brilliant" comment.