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Meet Pottermore…sort of: JK Rowling announces new project

In Books, Film, Shopping, Web Sites/Online on 23 June, 2011 at 6:38 am

What will life be like after Harry Potter? The final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 premieres in theaters on 15 July, 2011. The final book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hit shelves nearly 2 years ago and Rowling maintains she has no plans to write an eighth book in the series. Leaving fans to ask: What next?

For starters, The Boy Who Lived isn’t going away. He probably isn’t going to grow up much more either. Like Dorothy (Judy Garland) in the Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), and BFFs Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) will never grow up for audiences. Author J.K. Rowling is virtually ensuring that with the announcement of Pottermore, a “unique and free-to-use website” that will provide Potter fans with a new online experience centered on the Harry Potter books.

Pottermore will bring some new content to life, as well as create a broader and more interactive experience for the familiar and existing novels. The goal is to inspire and entertain readers as the journey through the books.

“I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new digital generation,” Rowling commented at a press conference announcing Pottermore. “I hope fans and those new to Harry will have as much fun helping to shape Pottermore as I have. Just as I have contributed to the website, everyone else will be able to join by submitting their own comments, drawing and other content in a safe a friendly environment — Pottermore has been designed as a place to share stories with your friends as you journey through the site.”

At the press conference (held at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum) Rowling revealed a few of the features Potter readers and fans can expect to see when Pottermore officially debuts in October 2011. She described how fans will be able to discover their Houses and wands experiencing the Sorting Hat and Ollivanders for themselves. Newly commissioned illustrations, interactive “moments” and exclusive writing from Rowling herself will further enhance the reading experience for fans beginning with the very first book, Harry Potter and the Philosophers/Sorcerer’s Stone.  Material and the storyline for the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, will go live on the site in 2012.

Pottermore Hogwarts Express

Pottermore Hogwarts Express (image courtesy of Pottermore.com)

Not surprisingly, Pottermore.com will include an online shop where fans and newcomers can purchase the long-awaited e-books of the popular novels. In fact, the Pottermore Shop will reportedly be the only place where fans can get the e-book version of the most successful book series of all time. This is possible because Rowling owns the e-book rights to all the Harry Potter books (as the Preternatural Post reported earlier this year)  and has assiduously avoided selling or releasing them. Further enhancing the marketing potential of the Pottermore.com property is the continuing partnership between Rowling and Sony.

“As I think people know, I am very protective of Harry and have always been very selective with any new initiatives, but I am totally committed to making this partnership with Sony and this wonderful new website a success,” said Rowling. “There are many companies I could have worked with on this ultimate digital expression of Harry Potter’s universe, but it is Sony’s unique philosophy of creativity in harmony with technology that made them my first choice as main partner. The spirit behind Sony’s make.believe philosophy is one that rings true with Pottermore’s own values.”

The Pottermore adventure begins with registration. Fans can currently submit their email address on Pottermore.com in order to receive updates and news as opening day approaches. On Harry’s birthday (31 July) the site will open for registration and an online challenge will be launched. The first million people completing their registration on Pottermore.com will gain early access to the site and help put the final touches no the experience.

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