The Harry Potter Collector’s iPod

Sure, the U2 and even the HP iPods are well-known to us nerds, but until yesterday, I had totally forgotten about this gem:

Harry Potter iPod banner

The Harry Potter Collector’s iPod was originally released in 2005, as a 4th-generation iPod with color display to mark the release of the debut of Harry Potter audiobooks on iTunes:

“We are honored that J.K. Rowling has picked iTunes for the debut of the Harry Potter audiobook series,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re delighted to be able to bring these wonderful and wildly popular stories to iTunes Music Store customers.”

The complete Harry Potter Digital Box Set is equivalent to almost 100 CDs, but customers can purchase this entire audiobook collection with just one click and then transfer all six books onto their iPod to take with them wherever they go.

Up to now, The Harry Potter audiobook series from Listening Library (a division of the Random House Audio Publishing Group) has been available only on CD and cassette. It is by far the best selling series in the history of audiobook publishing, with the six books selling over five million copies. The narrator of all six books available in North America, Jim Dale, won a Grammy award in 2000 for “Best Spoken Word” as well as earned three Grammy nominations for his work on the series. The audiobook series is available online for the first time exclusively on iTunes.

The iPod was engraved with the Hogwarts crest on the back, and was revved to a 30 GB, 5th-generation iPod shortly after release.

It could only be purchased with the audiobooks, for a combined cost of $548, and there were some special terms and conditions that applied to the offer. It’s important to note that the iPod didn’t come pre-loaded with the audiobooks; this was a digital purchase alongside an iPod. Customers had to download the files and sync them over themselves.

This is a pretty interesting — and exceedingly rare — bit of iPod history. There’s hardly anything online about it except some pages on the Wayback Machine. For instance, I can’t tell when the promotion was discontinued, nor can I find any decent photos of the device. It’s all very strange.

Don’t miss the follow-up post to this, with photos and some additional information.