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J K Rowling to take Potter digital
23.06.11 | Philip Jones
E-book versions of the seven Harry Potter novels are likely to move a step closer today with the launch of an immersive website based on the Harry Potter universe. The BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones has reported via Twitter that the paid e-books will be released in autumn.
The full details behind Pottermore will be unveiled by author J K Rowling on YouTube and at a press conference being held later today at the Victoria and Albert Museum. According to a leaked memo, the announcement is expected to focus on the gaming elements of the new site, and the memo indicated that it wanted to "build expectations" indicating that the e-books might not be sold on launch.
What is clear, however, is that the digital content will be published under the imprint Pottermore Publishing, rather than by her print publisher Bloomsbury, which does not own the digital rights. A company called Pottermore Ltd was incorporated at Companies House in late 2009, and has recently appointed as directors Neil Blair, lawyer and Rowling's agent at Christopher Little, and Eric Hartley Senat, formerly a senior vice-president with Warner Bros, the company behind the Potter films.
It is thought that the e-book versions will be sold directly off the Pottermore site when they are released. Pottermore Publishing will have full control over when the books are released and the price point. The e-book files will be able to be read across a range of devices, including Amazon's Kindle.
The Pottermore website was launched last week after fans were guided to its name by an online street view search. The launch, which points users to a YouTube video with a countdown to Thursday 23rd June. It has led to feverish speculation about what the intentions were behind the site, though her publicist has denied that it included an eighth book.
Rowling's literary agency indicated her willingness to allow legal digital versions of the books to be sold for the first time in May last year. Blair said the agency had been “actively” looking, whereas previously it had just been “monitoring the developing area”.
Rebecca Salt, Rowling's publicist, refused to comment to The Bookseller ahead of the launch.