Pottermore, the mysterious website that will become the online hub for all thing Harry Potter, made waves across the e-book industry today.
In a video posted to the site this morning, J.K. Rowling, who personally owns the digital rights to her work, revealed that she will be cutting out the middleman and selling audio and e-books of future Harry Potter stories through the Pottermore site.
Perhaps more interestingly, through a series of cool stop-motion animations, Rowling revealed that she will be bringing Harry Potter’s enormous fan community into the creative process.
“I’m thrilled to say that I’m in a position to give you something unique, an online reading experience unlike any other. It’s the same story with a few crucial additions. The most important one is you. Just as the experience of reading requires that the imagination of the author and reader work together to create the story, so Pottermore will be built in part by you, the reader.”
Crowdsourcing ideas for a book, film or album isn’t new. But the scale of Harry Potter makes this a watershed moment in the form. Betabeat would argue that, in fact, a book is the result of author and a reader who’s imaginations are working separately. Each creates their interpretation alone, and the book is where they meet. Giving the reigns over, at least partly, to readers during the writing process, is a novelty of the digital age.
Rowling has also smartly added an element of gaming/augmented reality to the process. “I’ll be joining in to, because I’ll be sharing additional information I’ve been hoarding for years about the world of Harry Potter. Pottermore is open to everyone from October, but a lucky few can enter early and help shape the experience.” Readers who want early access are given the cryptic command, “Follow the owl.”
What gives Rowling? You’ve been hoarding Harry deets for years? Time to give the power back to the people. Publishers beware.