Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of conversations surrounding the Harry Potter E-books which, according to this article, are apparently “game-changers for the digital world.” While I disagree that these e-books are any different from other books that were once in print and have since been redistributed in a digital format, I do believe the additional content that has been added to these books in the new Harry Potter website makes them very unique. Although e-books cannot be classified as electronic literature, websites such as Pottermore may, in fact, be “game-changers” for the literary world.
Last year J.K. Rowling and Sony released Pottermore, which Rowling first introduced with the vague description of it being “a unique online experience.” Pottermore was only opened to a select audience in July 2011 and I, having not been one of the chosen few, have yet to experience it for myself. After spending months wondering what I have been missing out on, I came across this walk through/ field guide which has given me a better idea of the site’s features.
Although Pottermore seems to only be promoting the readers ability to “to purchase and download the digital Harry Potter audio books and, for the first time, the Harry Potter eBooks” the site provides much more than that. On the site itself users have the ability to “explore” through each chapter of the books. The chapters are divided into “moments” which provide opportunities for the user to play with a variety of features which include viewing exclusive content, interacting with user users, and playing with interactive images. There are also several game aspects of the interactive features of each chapter in which the user is required to collect items and can “unlock” things when he or she reaches a certain level of progress. For example, in “Moment Two” of the second chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the user can interact with the Boa Constrictor at the Zoo. By waving cursor over the snake the user “will make him move” and by clicking on the Boa’s sign the user can read more about him. These features are digital born and make this reading experience entirely different from that of a traditional e-book.

  2 comments for “Pottermore

  1. cmccrzy
    April 20, 2012 at 10:47 am

    If you would like, Pottermore is open to everyone, now (as far as I’m aware). I just signed up on Wednesday and it only took me about two minutes to actually get into the content on the site itself (account creation was simple). They’re still trying to get rid of bugs and improve the site, and it’s only the first book that’s available for exploration at the moment, but it’s still there.

    I don’t know if I’m entirely comfortable with saying that Pottermore would revolutionize electronic literature, but it’s certainly opening up some new changes in the literature world. Harry Potter itself was a revolutionary story, if only because it made Elementary School students pick up extremely long books to read. Reading is suffering lately, and any series that can do this gets gold stars in MY book and the books of others who have commented on the phenomenon.

    By extension, Pottermore allows for a greater connection to Rowling’s background work on the story, and so allows for a little more “revolutionary-ness” in the literature world. In the population of readership, overall, only a small portion of non-scholarly readers actually research into why the author did certain things in the story, what the author’s background is and how that might have affected the story’s creation, and so on. Pottermore allows for this, and the story’s popularity would allow for this information to be spread to a much wider audience than most any author other than Shakespeare or Homer have had.

    I fully support the idea made here: that readers can find interest in and enjoy that extra material out there. That being more involved in the story world and information on the story can be fun and interesting. I think it would encourage literary discussion.

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