Amazon says Kindle owners can lend Harry Potter e-books

SAN FRANCISCO, Thu May 10, 2012 – Inc. said on Thursday owners of its Kindle e-readers and tablets will be able to lend Harry Potter e-books to each other in a move aimed at encouraging more people to use the devices and sign up for its Prime service.

Amazon, the world’s largest Internet retailer, bought an exclusive license from author J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore e-book business to make all seven Harry Potter e-book available to lend through the Kindle platform.

Lending begins June 19 and includes Potter e-books in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.

Amazon did not say how much it paid for the license, but comments from Chief Executive Jeff Bezos suggested the deal was part of its plans to spend heavily to promote Kindle devices and its Prime service. Prime offers free two-day shipping and video streaming for $79 a year in the United States.

“This is the kind of significant investment in the Kindle ecosystem that we’ll continue to make on behalf of Kindle owners,” Bezos said in a statement.


Time Warner quarterly profit beats Wall Street forecasts

NEW YORK – Time Warner Inc. posted better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday helped by its cable networks and the last installment of its Harry Potter movie franchise.

Shares rose around 5 percent in premarket trading, as the company also revealed an aggressive buyback strategy and an increase in its quarterly dividend.

Net profit rose to $773 million, or 76 cents a share, in the fourth quarter compared with $769 million, or 68 cents a share, a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, net income was 94 cents a share, ahead of average analysts’ forecast of 87 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $8.2 billion.

Subscription fees at its cable networks including HBO rose 5 percent to $3.5 billion driven mainly by a 5 percent increase in carriage fees paid by cable and satellite distributors.

But cable network advertising was up just 2 percent, with growth benefiting from international operations.

Advertising revenue at its Time Inc magazine publishing business was flat during the quarter but total revenue was down 1 percent to $1 billion.

Warner Bros revenues rose 7 percent to $3.9 billion, due mainly to stronger home entertainment, video games and new subscription video-on-demand deals with companies like Netflix Inc. and others.

The company forecast its full-year percentage growth rate in adjusted diluted net income per share to be in the low double digits from a base of $2.89 in 2011.

Time Warner also raised its quarterly cash dividend by 11 percent to $0.26 and announced a new $4 billion stock repurchase authorization by its board.