Just when fans began to fear the death of Harry Potter, at least as far as new adventures are concerned, Pottermore, a new website comes to life. J.K. Rowling plans to fill the site with new information about the characters, places, and objects, not the least of which are magic wands, that populate the seven books she authored.

Pottermore by J.K. Rownling - Coming soon"I?ll be sharing additional information that I?ve been hoarding for years about the world of Harry Potter," Ms. Rowling told reporters in London. She called Pottermore the "ultimate digital expression of Harry Potter?s universe." 

Pottermania is a world-wide phenomenon. Just 36 hours after the teaser home page went on-line, the new website had over a million visits. Catering to its international fame, the site will launch initially in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. A Twitter account, @Pottermore, garnered thousands of followers immediately. Pottermore, the website invites early visitors to record their email addresses so they can be contacted after registration opens. Pre-launch day is appropriately on Harry?s birthday, July 31. An on-line challenge provides a chance to access the Beta version of the website, where the one-million winners of the contest can comment and make suggestions about the site before it officially opens everyone in October.

Pottermore is a mixture of a role-playing game, a digital encyclopedia, and social networking, capped off by an online store. The site is supposed to be enhanced by newly-commissioned illustrations. The headliner of the announcement is that the Pottermore Shop exclusively will finally offer Harry Potter in eBook form. Users will also be able to interactively navigate through the storylines on the site. As you enter, you will choose a magic username and join Hogwarts. You?ll be assigned to a house by the Sorting Hat, and you can cast spells to help your house win the House Cup. All this will be done in a kid safe environment which complies with internet codes of practice in the UK, Europe and USA.

It all started on a train which continues to roll through Pottermore
It all started on a train which continues to roll through Pottermore

The Hogwarts Express is an appropriate place for Harry?s printed and digital adventures to begin. Rowling started working on the series during a train trip via London King?s Cross railway station. That train ride evolved into seven books: Harry Potter and the… Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber Of Secrets, Prisoner Of Azkaban, Goblet Of Fire, Order Of The Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows. The movie industry split the final book into two parts, the first released in November 2010. The final episode is scheduled to hit theaters in less than a month, on July 15. Warner Bros which distributes the Potter movies trademarked the Pottermore name in 2009. They also hold trademarks on the characters.

Bookstores that have benefited greatly from the Harry Potter series will not profit from the eBook sales that will be exclusive to Pottermore. However, the publishers, Scholastic and Bloomsbury, will share in the eBook revenue generated on the website, as will Rowling who retained digital rights. The eBooks will be compatible with Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iPad and of course, Sony?s Reader. Tom Turcan, COO of Pottermore says that Ms Rowling wanted to "make the books available to everybody, not to make them available only to people who own a particular set of devices, or tethered to a particular set of platforms."

J.K. Rowling, Author of best-selling Harry Potter series of books
J.K.Rowling, creator and author of Harry Potter series, will exclusively profit from new eBooks

Money made from the eBooks and the official Pottermore Shop will line the pockets of its creator J.K. Rowling as well it should. We can?t help but agree with Sam Jordison of The Guardian who writes: "The Hogwarts’ Express money train is riding back into town."

Rowling partnered with Sony who will also add to their bottom line thanks to the website they helped bring to fruition. She said: "Sony?s unique philosophy of creativity in harmony with technology that made them my first choice as main partner. The spirit behind Sony?s make.believe philosophy is one that rings true with Pottermore?s own values." TH_NK, a UK digital agency, designed and built the website.

If the site has anything near the response the books have had ? approximately 450 million printed copies sold, in more than 200 territories, in 70 languages ? the internet might just come crashing down as fans scramble to take part in Pottermore. Check out what Ms Rowling has to say about this new ad-venture.