5:47 am EDT, June 23, 2011

Coverage: J.K. Rowling announces Pottermore [UPDATED]

Today J.K. Rowling announced her newest project: Pottermore. It’s an all-new website with brand new information from the Harry Potter book world and includes various aspects that Potter fans are bound to love.

First look at Pottermore (when viewing an individual image, click it to see it FULL SIZE!):

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This post will stay updated with the latest information.

Well, we finally know what Pottermore is! Here’s a quick summary:

  • J.K. Rowling has written extensive new material about characters, places and objects from the Harry Potter universe.
  • Pottermore will later incorporate an online shop where people can purchase exclusively the long-awaited Harry Potter eBooks.
  • The shop will evolve into selling other Potter-related products.
  • The story will be brought to life with new illustrations and interactive ‘Moments’, starting with the first book.
  • Sorcerer’s Stone will be available for exploring at launch. Chamber of Secrets will be available in 2012. Material for the other books will be released over the next few years.
  • Examples of new content include much more on McGonagall (her friendship with Dumbledore, difficult early life, etc), how Petuna and Vernon met.
  • Pottermore will be open to all users from October 2011
  • An online challenge will be launched, whereby the first million people to complete their registration will gain early entry into the website, on July 31st!
  • J.K. Rowling: “Just as I have contributed to the website, everyone else will be able to join in by submitting their own comments, drawings and other content in a safe and friendly environment – Pottermore has been designed as place to share the stories with your friends as you journey through the site.”
  • Visit this website to register your e-mail address which will keep you updated on the latest news.

Scholastic’s comment:

Scholastic is proud to be a key partner in the Pottermore project, including connecting teachers and parents from our school and online channels directly to ebook sales via Pottermore and providing marketing and promotion support. We’re excited about the new content from J.K. Rowling to go along with the books. This will surely inspire more interest in the series and bring a whole new generation of readers to Harry Potter. We’re pleased to support Pottermore because we know the power of the Harry Potter books to turn kids into lifelong readers, and we believe every child should experience Harry Potter – whether in ebooks or in print. In addition, Scholastic will receive a royalty on sales of the U.S. editions of the ebooks.

JK Rowling press conference information (thanks to Leaky):
– Pottermore is an interactive new Web site and reading experience with more than 18,000 new words from J.K. Rowling: Much more to come.
– The launch of Pottermore will have more than 18,000 words from J.K. Rowling, but that is only a third of what she has written so far.
– J.K. Rowling said this morning that there is a lot more content to come for the Pottermore site, and she will develop it as it grows.
– This morning J.K. Rowling said that she and Harry have a “casual relationship,” instead of the serious kind they once had.
– J.K. Rowling downloaded eBooks for the 1st time this year and loved it – “a thousand books in your pocket” – though she loves paper.
– You will follow the story, get sorted into a house and get a wand (one of 33,000 possibles) – all crafted by J.K. Rowling.
– J.K. Rowling is excited to include a long backstory on McGonagall – her childhood, ministry career, early heartbreak.
– J.K. Rowling said if you’re not sorted into Gryffindor you get even more exclusive content about your house.
– A physical encyclopedia may come one day, J.K. Rowling said, but she is not positive.
– Also mentioned that Vernon ad Petunia met at work, backstory also on Pottermore
– Also shown this morning, there will be info on Minerva McGonagall’s long friendship with Dumbledore

Read the complete press conference transcript at this link.

Article Continues Below

And now, you can sign up on www.pottermore.com to be notified about any updates! This does NOT get you into the beta period. That will be coming in the future.

Walkthrough of how Pottermore will work (Thanks to The Telegraph):

Users will go through a quick registration process and then choose their own “magical username”.

They will then be given a personal home page called “the gateway” that will represent their own journey through each of the seven Harry Potter books.

Users move through the story chapter by chapter and are presented with “Moments” which are scenes of significance from each chapter.

In the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, there are 44 Moments, for readers to experience.

Tarek Nseir, chief executive of the digital agency TH_NK, which helped design the site, said: “We have tried to set the scene but allow your imagination to do the rest.”

As fans move through the site they can scroll over different aspects of each scene such as a Privet Drive sign or a cupboard under the stairs.

They can then click on items such as Harry’s sock and uncover new writing from Rowling and additional information about the characters.

Readers will be given a key to access Gringotts Wizarding Bank where a virtual currency will be available to enable them to choose items from a shopping list needed to complete their journey.

They will be issued with one of 33,000 wands and can collect items such as chocolate frog cards and spout flavoured beans to put in their trunk.

Users will answer a series of questions selected at random from a vast pool and will be sorted into one of Hogwarts four houses based on their answers.

The chosen house will be the centre of their experience but Rowling insisted that those not placed in Gryffindor, Harry’s house, should not be disappointed as they will be offered an extra quarter of a chapter to meet prefects and learn about the “true nature” of their own house.

Rowling disclosed that she always considered Gryffindor and Slytherin to be the two closest houses and said that Harry himself could have gone into either. She said she had tested the pool of questions on her own family and each of them was sorted into the house she had predicted.

The author said that each users profile would grow as they progress through the books and add their own comments, drawings and pictures as they go. They will mix potions, challenge other users to duels and interact with various characters along the way.
Mr Nseir said: “The future will be decided by you the reader. It’s the same story but with one new addition, you.”

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