J.K. Rowling unveils new 'Pottermore' website

JK-Rowling

Image Credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage.com

After a full week of wild speculation over the purpose of J.K. Rowling’s new site Pottermore, the Harry Potter author announced it to us Muggles this morning. Theories had ranged from a real-world treasure hunt to a MMORPG based on the books to the revelation that magic was actually real and that I had just been accepted to Hogwarts despite being far too old for it (wait, was that just me?), but according to the video uploaded to YouTube by Rowling (watch it below), Pottermore will actually be a comprehensive website with a number of features, including e-books and, Rowling says, “additional information I’ve been hoarding for years.”

The site, which will combine social networking elements with an immersive game-like world, will fully open in October, but a lucky few will be allowed to pre-register before anyone else. The author’s exhortation to “follow the owl” refers to a challenge that will begin on July 31, and the first million fans to complete it will be granted early entrance. At a press conference in London, Rowling said that the idea originated with releasing e-books and grew from there. “This was about the give-back,” she said. “The technology now existed to do something outside the books and the films for existing fans.” So start submitting your e-mail addresses and practicing your wand-flicking, Potterheads.

Comments (181 total) Add your comment
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  • sChiZoO14

    this is what it’s all about.. giving back to the fans..JKR is truly a great inspiration to everyone. I’m so proud to be a Potterhead.

    • Joanna

      LMAO!!!!! It’s all about the giveback, kids, and don’t forget to purchase the audio-books and the e-books on the website!

      That Rowling, so giving and generous.

      • Cygnus

        Not to mention to ads galore that will fill the site, trying to get your kids to buy everything. ALl of that aside, this was a let down. Anything outside of new Potter books is a let down.

      • Phil

        I feel so honored and grateful that after us fans have made Miss Rowling a billionaire, she is truly giving back to us and showing her undying gratitude by selling us more stuff and taking more of our money. Thanks, Miss Rowling. You are a generous soul and a warm, selfless human being. Now, do you accept Visa?

      • Tarc

        And why shouldn’t the (arguably) best literary series of the last thirty years earn money? Rowling is a thoughtful, generous, philanthropic lady, and wrote a series for the ages. She’s awesome, and it sounds like Pottermore will be fun.

      • Mark

        God you people are cynical retards. She has already said the profits from book sales are going to charity. Feel better about yourself now?

      • Tom Strong

        Not true, Mark. Only Beetle the Bard proceeds went to charity.

      • Adam

        You know, you don’t HAVE to buy anything, right? There will also be free stuff as well on the site. Obviously you have to pay for the e-Books though. I wouldn’t give the regular books away for free either.

      • Caracticus

        Way to jump to unfounded conclusions, Joanna: do you think JKR’s that stupid, to trump it all up as a “give back to the fans” then gouge and shill? Is that what you’ve got from her behaviour over the last 13 years? She’s a sellout?

      • deedeedragons

        If she’s holding a gun to your head you really should call the police.

      • kayleemarie

        Not true, Tom. The profits from the spin-off cannon books Quidditch Throughout the Ages and Fantastical Creatures and Where to Find Them went to charity.

    • Sasha

      You people are ridiculous. She’s already stated the profits will go to charity.

      Yes we dont have any proof that she will other than her word BUT I rather believe in the goodwill of others than be nasty and cruel.

      Ever heard about optimism?

      • Ellen

        So 100 % of all the sales from the ebooks will go to charity? When and where did she say this?

      • mike

        Does the term profit confuse you? 100% of the sales will not go to charity, the profits earned by those sales will go to charity.

      • Tom Strong

        You are lying. This is a for-profit venture.

      • Mad_Andy

        Bwaa haa haa. She’s worth about 600 million dollars and has more money than the Queen of England. Does that sound like the sales are going to charity to you? Suckahs!

    • Mallory Vining

      So she’s basically creating another avenue to sell her books? How is that “giving back” and “saying Thanks to the fans”???

      • Jennifer

        Selling the ebooks and audiobooks is just one part of the site. I’ll admit, I’m not quite sure what the reason is for selling them exclusively on this site. I’ll be interested to see what formats the ebooks will be offered in (that is, if they’ll be available for any ereader).

    • alicia

      i am disappointed…

    • YyyyYyyy

      IT IS ALL ABOUT THE FANS!!!! Oh wait….. Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that ebook rights for the books were estimated to have been somewhere in the neighborhood of $160 million, and Rowling stands to make that and even more cash. Yay capitalism!!!!! Wooohooooo!!!!

      • JXX

        oh no! The author of arguably the best book series in recent history is going to MAKE MONEY for her efforts? For Shame.

        *sigh* Rowling is a working mother and an impeccable talent. I can’t think of a single reason she shouldn’t cash in on her brainchild.

      • robboandthewizardrockkids

        She gives to SO MANY charities. And she’s generous in unusual ways. She allowed me to make a wizard rock CD and give MY profits to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of America (the disease that my mom fights and that took JK’s own mom). And I’ve given quite a bit because of that. Like a stone thrown in the water, JK Rowling has allowed the ripples of her creation to be of service to so many. She is a wonderful person.

      • Jo Peelham

        Poor Rowling, poor little billionaire working mother Rowling. Why are you attacking her for trying to gouge her fans for more money? She has only sold over 700 million copies. The woman has to feed her children, and she is practically on welfare.

    • Siggie

      Have you guys been to the Potter attraction in Orlando? It’s designed to have children make their parents fork over cash! there’s even a wand-matching demo where the wand “chooses” the child (YouTube it). Try to tell your kid they can’t have that wand!

      • Mirissa

        FWIW, I took my kids to Orlando and two of my girls were chosen for the wand attraction. When it was all over I had to ask which wands were “chosen” for them because they really weren’t doing a hard sell. In the end, both my die-hard fans decided on their own to stick with the homemade wands they already had.

    • Jane

      So basically it’s Amazon for dreamy-eyed losers. Pass.

    • Liz Lemon

      Agreed!

    • Gazza

      it’s the SCOTTISH WEBSITE!!!!!

      ahem.

  • Ali

    This is awesome!

  • C

    Everything I wanted and more! :D

  • Tom

    It’s all about the give-back, really? So why not write new Potter stories and giving them away, for free? They don’t have to be whole books. And at this point, she’s a billionaire. I’m sure she can afford to not make another one hundred gazillion dollars, if it means giving back to the fans for making her an uber-rich woman…

    • Matt

      Your last name… is it Riddle?

      • shannon

        sir, you just made me choke on my morning banana. well played.

      • kt

        THIS!

      • jelly

        Tom Riddle – a Socialist? Who new?

      • Nikki

        absolute best part of this comment feed.

      • Jamie

        Best bumper sticker I’ve ever seen says that Lord Voldemort votes Republican!

    • Rafael

      I follow this series from the very beginning but I personaly dont want any more HP books, I think they finished the story where it should have. I’d love her to write another series totally unrelated to HP tho. I dont think you are a true potter fan if you think the way you have on your post!

      • chris

        @rafael: hear, hear, rafael.

        I think Pottermore is an awesome way to support reading development in this digital age. As for giving back – go bark at someone else’s tree. There are other “uber-rich” people out there who are doing far less than Jo in terms of giving back.

      • Wil

        What exactly is “Jo” doing in term of giving back? She’s just putting her books for sale in a different platform. That’s it.

      • JMB in FL

        @Wil: She gives a lot of $$ to several charities, which you can find out more about on her website (not Pottermore, her own website). What do YOU do?

      • dee

        PLEASE NO!!!! Why can’t writers and Hollywood leave well enough alone! No reboots, sequels, and prequels! It was bad enough for Rowling to drop the PC card on Dumbledore for press after book 7. DON’T RUIN POTTER!!!

      • Pie

        Amen, dee! I totally agree about the PC agenda. The book series was fabulous and I’m a huge fan. Went to the attraction in Orlando and it really, truly is amazing. However, that little bit JKR dropped about Dumbledore. . . it was so unnecessary after it was all said and done. I have a degree in English and am a firm believer that if a book or author causes some sort of controversy, it’s worth some serious investigation. If only to satisfy curiosity.

    • Asha

      I never understand why people get so bitter about successful people making more money. So because she is wealthy she should never try to make another dime? She has a product that people want, she should just give it away for free because some whiners don’t believe in making money?

      • Fenris

        Thanks for pointing that out Asha and Sarah. If Rowling is offering new content or new ways to enjoy what she has created, I don’t care if she’s a billionaire or dirt-poor; she deserves to get paid for her efforts and I for one have no problem with that.

      • Annette

        I’m just not interested to care! She’s not really a great author like everyone thinks she is she is mediocre that’s it!

    • Sarah

      Why are you begrudging her for writing a fantastic series and making money off of it? She has hit the jackpot, for sure, but she worked hard to get where she is and it is ridiculous to expect her to write for free just because you think she has too much money. Should Oprah not make any money off her future endeavors either? Bill Gates? Stephen King? All these people have attained amazing success because of their ideas and all are great contributors to charitable causes already. You are just bitter.

      • Tarc

        And bizarrely, these folks don’t seem to have a clue that the CEOs of all the companies that they love (and that do little and they themselves produce NOTHING of worth) make trillions while enjoying their afternoon massages and workouts. If you want to complain, ask why GE made $1.2 BILLION dollars in profit last year and paid ZERO taxes. railing on Rowling is just incredibly ignorant.

  • Eric

    Lame. I was hoping for a dictionary of sorts.

    • Dash

      I really was too. I have a feeling that this site still has potential and will reserve my judgement til I see it.

    • emma

      It could have a dictionary on it. The e-books are just a portion of the website.

    • zeo

      well they already have that Harry Potter wikipedia site that has thousands of pages on characters (major and obscure)and all the different events and potions and everything, so I don’t think it would be necessary on Pottermore

    • madame pooch

      The Harry Potter Lexicon is a “dictionary” and more. Check it out online, it’s excellent. I am very excited for what sounds like the extensive back stories and biographies that Jo created for all her characters. She has mentioned them in interviews and apparently created them just for herself, never intending to use them in the books, but more about informing herself better about who her characters were as people. I hope that’s what she is referring to as the information she has hoarded for years.

  • Tom

    “It will be the exclusive place to purchase audio books, and for the first time, Harry Potter ebooks”

    So it’s not about the “give back”, it’s really about keeping the Harry Potter brand alive once the films are done, and making Rowling [even] more money. Let’s call a spade a spade.

    • amyc

      @Tom, I agree. It sounds like a good idea to me, but it’s definitely not a “give-back.”

      • Felipe

        she wouldn’t even allow her oetsfr daughter to read it anymore. At the time I was so deeply offended, Harry Potter being one of my favorite series, and simply wrote the teacher off as a moron. Now I feel extremely sorry for her and her daughter. What kind of monster would want to take away the joy of reading from a child? Who could put that border between a child and a fantasy world, a world of creativity? If a child wants to read, why would you stop that? Noam Chomsky was reading books on anarchy when he was ten-years-old. Where might he be without that influence?Yes, some Christians do believe Harry Potter is evil, but what is truly evil and corrupt are those who wish to hinder free-thought in the minds of children.

    • You got her!

      Yes, I’m sure Ms. Rowling is just like the indomitable Mr. Krabs, sitting in her room counting her fortunes while screaming “money money money!!!!!”. Get over it, this is how business is done, and no author in a million years – and surely not an author with a series that’s sold 700 million books, with many more yet to be sold – would sell their eBooks online for free a mere decade after the first one came out and less than 5 years after the final one did. In a way this is a give back, because the books are available in more formats. Stop trolling and, if you’re not interested in the site, don’t visit it.

      • Megan

        Nobody said that she should write a whole new book and give it away. But precisely because she’s sold over 700 million books and made so much more money in film grosses and merchandise, thanks to fans GIVING TO HER, she should at least pretend that she is truly giving back by at least some sort of free story. Come on, if you are going to run your mouth with “I wanna say thanks to the fans!” and “It’s all about the give-back”, don’t come and tell me then to purchase even more of what you peddle. That’s not giving back, that’s business as usual, and trying to grab more cash now that the HP series is over.

      • Hannah

        Actually Megan, “giving” implies that fans forked over money for nothing. They actually paid money in exchange for a product (the books and films).
        Stay classy, though!

    • Damn Tom

      Did Rowling kick your dog or trip your grandma?? She wrote a hugely successful book series and was rightly paid for it – get a grip dude.

    • teresa

      Tom: Do you make money? I think that if Ms. Rawling wants to continue making money off Harry Potter, she should go right ahead any old way she wants to. If people want it, they will buy.
      She created it and can do whatever the hell she wants to do with it. I’m sure that you, and all the rest of you complainers, would do the same.

      • teresa

        Oops, it’s Rowling. My bad.

  • steph

    It’s about time Rowling got on board with eBooks.

  • Bob

    It is interesting that someone (that doesn’t have to) is willing to give of her time, efforts and money back to her fans and those same fans WANT more. It goes to show that this world has become an “entitlement” world. Whereby demanding just because someone has done well for themselves, they MUST give, give, and give more back. Crawl back under the rocks you came out from you blood sucking vermit. Or is that not PC enough for wellfare receipients.

    • Tom

      How in the hell is she giving back her time, efforts or money? You honestly think that she sits down and designs the website herself? You think she doesn’t have an army of cronies who keep her empire running smoothly? And seriously, how is she giving her money back??? She’s a billionaire thanks to the fans who have fattened her wallets for years. It’s not entitlement, it’s being real. She would still be on welfare if not for the fans.

      • AJ

        Tom, you need to chill. “The fans who have fattened her wallets for years” would not have given her a dime, or a 10p, had she not written a series of fantastically engaging novels. Give the woman some credit.

        She wants to keep her work out there in the public eye? What’s wrong with that? Any other professional or business person is allowed to go out and make money, but God forbid a writer do it. They ought to be purists and starve!

      • Tolliver

        Wow, she wants to give back to her fans by making them buy more crap? How generous of her. You’re welcome, JK…

      • @Tom

        Yes Tom, she is rich. She is rich because of us. But she has also given back millions to those less fortunate who would not have gotten a helping hand without her. Also people have been clamoring for her to do E-books. Why shouldn’t she have some control over how they are sold? She is a corporation. Yes, she employs, as you say “an army of cronies who keep her empire running smoothly.” Yay for her. She is contributing more than your teeny tiny mind can fathom.

      • Sarah

        And the world would not have Harry Potter if it weren’t for her

      • @Tom

        She probably does have an “army of cronies.” Tell me, how many people do YOU personally employ?

      • Laura

        @Tolliver, how exactly is JK Rowling “making” her fans buy anything? Is she holding a gun to your head and forcing you to purchase ebooks? Nope, didn’t think so.
        If you don’t want to buy the product, then don’t. I have no interest in purchasing HP e-books, but that doesn’t mean that I think they shouldn’t be available for those who do.

      • kayleemarie

        She may not design the website herself, but she comes up with all of the information and backgrounds for the characters, which is probably a hell lot more than you’ve done with your life. Also; she’s given to numerous charities including Comic Relief UK.

        And exactly; she would be on welfare if not for the fans. That’s why she’s offering us this website, which while having the ability to sell audiobooks and e-books, is mainly about finding out more about the series and characters. Face it, your argument is null and she’s not forcing us to do anything. If you dislike the idea, please stop trolling the message thread. c:

      • Genoa

        What is wrong with people? The woman is selling books. It’s her business. People like to buy the books. That’s not gouging. That’s ordinary business. The people who want to shout at this woman for making money AT HER JOB are lunatics with no sense of reality.

      • Bobbie

        “She would be on welfare if not for the fans.”

        Are you freaking KIDDING me? She would be on welfare if not for the fact that she created something great that people, who then became fans, wanted to buy.

        She need not apologize for being a billionaire any more than she needed to apologize for being on welfare – or getting off of it -and what she does with HER money is her business. I’d wager she’s done far more with it for charitable causes than you – who I’d also wager isn’t in need of charitable donations -will ever know.

    • Pen

      Bob,
      You misspelled welfare. And the expectation of entitlement spans the spectrum of income levels. Welfare is NOT a dirty word except to those whose hearts have become hardened and who think everything they’ve accomplished in their life is their own doing. Just so you know, if you’re doing well, luck and the help of others helped to put your there.

    • hnp

      You hit the nail on the head with the word “entitlement”. Not sure why folks feel they deserve something from this woman for free. As far as those complaining about her saying she is giving back…I don’t recall her saying it would cost anyone to participate in the site (aka free) and the cost involved in generating a site of the magnitude described is pretty large…someone paid for it…perhaps her? (aka giving back)

      • Amy

        This is the best comment I have read so far. You are exactly right. I can’t understand why people are being so hostile. She is selling her ebooks now…big deal! Why does she not deserve to make money on her creation. If you love it so much, you should have no problem paying for it. If you don’t want to pay, don’t buy it. You still have the site that is completely free where it seems as though she will be releasing some short stories or information for fans. Everyone needs to relax!

      • chris

        Thank you!

      • Laura

        Thank you! Some bitter people on here.

  • You got her!

    Yes, I’m sue Ms. Rowling is just like the indomitable Mr. Krabs, sitting in her room counting her fortunes while screaming “money money money!!!!!”. Get over it, this is how business is done, and no author in a million years – and surely not an author with a series that’s sold 700 million books, with many more yet to be sold – would sell their eBooks online for free a mere decade after the first one came out and less than 5 years after the final one did. In a way this is a give back, because the books are available in more formats. Stop trolling and, if you’re not interested in the site, don’t visit it.

  • Paso

    I’m sad that they left out one of her other quotes from this announcement, it was posted on some other site. Can’t remember who. She was talking about how hard it was writing the last book and ending the series and saying that it almost felt like a break up:

    “I have never cried for a man the way I cried for Harry Potter.”-JK Rowling.

    That quote made me love her about a hundred times more.

    • IM

      She cried because without HP, how will she pay for her next 6 homes?

      • chris

        Jealous, much?

      • Asha

        She makes 1.4 million every three days or some number like that from sales related to Harry Potter. It’s been almost 4 years since the last book was released. I’d say she’s doing pretty well regardless.

    • Jillibean

      I watched the video announcement on youtube (youtube.com/JKRowlingAnnounces) and she doesn’t mention anything about writing the last book, that must have been another interview.

      • Remy

        It wasn’t in the video announcement – it was in the press conference.

  • Doug

    I personally would love more Potter books. I would actually like to see the adventures harry and friends would have as Adults. More grown up and maybe even darker. Would be great, I think anyways.

  • Landon

    JK Rowling doesn’t owe a single thing to anyone. She puts this stuff out there because people want it. Simple as that. Geez people. It amazes me how many people think they are entitled to stuff because someone was successful. Unbelievable.

    • Ellen

      “entitled to stuff because someone was successful”

      If the fans hadn’t bought her wares, she would not have succeeded. She doesn’t owe anyone anything, but she should not make empty pronouncements like “I want to give back to the fans” when all she’s doing is simply selling more HP crap, only online this time.

      • Jason

        “all she’s doing is simply selling more HP crap, only online this time.”

        I love blanket statements like this made to anyone who has been succesful. “The are ONLY doing this to sell more stuff”. Unless you’ve talked to her of course, and she mentioned that was her primary motive.

      • @Jason

        Yeah, I am sure her primary intention is NOT to sell more books and keep the brand relevant. Nope siree…it’s pure altruism. That’s why she is not selling audiobooks or ebooks on the website…not at all…

      • Jason

        Didn’t say it was. Of course she wants to sell more stuff, but everyone makes it out to be a negative thing. Any person in her position would do the same thing. It’s not a bad thing to want to continue to be successful. I just think people are too quick to spewing bitter comments about her.

      • Mallory Vining

        Then don’t frame your greedy endeavors with ridiculously insincere statements like “I wanna givebacK” or “this is my way of saying thanks”. Because they really come off as BS. You just wanna keep the brand alive and the money flowing, fine, great, but call a frigin spade a spade, and drop the “I’m o giving and generous and this is all for you” facade.

      • Dan

        If she hadn’t written such a great series, the fans would not have given her any money. That’s where it starts: with the quality of the product she created. Everyone seems to be acting like readers worldwide just gave her some spare change.

      • Genoa

        The woman has a right to sell her fiction for profit, no matter how much profit she’s already made. If you can’t respect that simple fact, I suggest moving to Cuba.

  • saint of E. 69th st.

    can’t wait to see the Pothead!

    • Mark Bellini

      Hehehehehe! It’s all about the give-back. Sure, if by give-back you mean ‘cash-grab’.

      • Tirman

        I guess you have to count me as just one of the many fraignls who love the bad boys. Black, yes. Snape, yes. But Lucius Malfoy — Oooh, too, too pretty, in that elegantly evil way I do so adore.But you knew that. >;-)–E.

  • James

    What is WRONG with you people? Good grief, you sound just bitter and hateful about this woman’s success. Success that she wouldn’t have had if the books weren’t enjoyable. The idea sounds great to me — almost like an organic reading group of sorts and a way to learn more information and help younger, digital-age children get involved in the series. And so what if they also sell audiobooks and ebooks? Will you be FORCED to buy them? Do you think you deserve them for nothing? Um, please. Get over yourselves.
    Like someone else said, Rowling doesn’t owe ANYONE ANYTHING. If you’re that butthurt about what Pottermore is, don’t participate. I doubt anyone on there will miss you.

    • Jason

      It’s funny how when someone becomes successful, like JK Rowling did, everyone is initially very impressed and happy for her. Then, when she tries to continue her success (like every person on the planet would), suddenly everyone starts to whine and spew hate. I love the internet.

      I hope this is very successful for her. She deserves it.

      *waits for the hate comments below*

      • Mark

        People love stories like hers early on because it gives people hope that they, too, can turn around their miserable, pathetic and mostly broke lives. Then after the person is successful for a while they no longer represent being able to overcome and succeed and become part of “the system” people like to believe is keeping them from being successful rather than, god forbid, put the blame on themselves or just plain old random circumstance.

      • Jan

        Can’t believe how cruel some people are. Here is a woman who was a single mother on welfare – who wrote a book, turned it into a successful series, movies and, yes, she now has lots of money. I’m sure she contributes to many charities. And now she is going to have a website and sell e-books. I personally am thrilled for her and think all the hateful remarks are just plain jealousy!!

    • GLMii

      Well said. Most people can’t be pleased with anything anymore.

      • AJ

        I agree completely.

  • Jonas

    Yay!!!! More useless HP stuff to buy! Thanks for “giving back” to the fans that have already made you so much money, JK. You are the most generous, giving writer in the world!

    • Jonas’ Brother

      Yeah JK! How dare you attempt to make money off of your intellectual property? She should be marched into the sea I say! THE SEA!

    • Cristina

      Wow, Jonas, what a hater! You don’t have to buy the e-books if you don’t want to. The website is completely FREE for all. It amazes me how supposed “fans” are turning their backs of Jo just because she is using an entirely different approach to encourage kids from the digital age to READ. She defined a great part of my childhood with her books, why shouldn’t she do this for younger readers now?

      Get over yourself, Riddle.

      • jelly

        @Christina – Jonas’ Brother was making a joke. Re-read the comment and I think you would agree.

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