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Pottermore: It's an interactive reading experience. But it's not online yet.

June 23, 2011 |  5:56 am

Pottermore launched at noon Thursday in England, and fans of Harry Potter swiftly crashed the site's email sign-up.  The buzzed-about website appeared suddenly last week, promising a new and exciting announcement from J.K. Rowling; Thursday, she appears in a video explaining what's in store.

"I'm thrilled to say I am now in a position to give you something unique, an online reading experience unlike any other," J.K. Rowling says to her readers in the video announcing Pottermore. "It's the same story, with a few crucial additions. The most important one is you."

The site, which will be free, will be open to all in October. Fans will be able to read online and help expand and build the Harry Potter world.

"Just as the experience of reading requires that the imaginations of the author and reader work together to create the story, so Pottermore will be built, in part, by you, the reader," Rowling said.

The site will also be the first -- and, for now, only -- place to buy Harry Potter ebooks.

Select readers will be able to enter the site early to get Pottermore up and going. Interested readers are encouraged to return on July 3 to learn more and to leave their email address to be notified when registration opens. (As of 4:30 a.m. Pacific time, the email option was still not functioning.)

As much fun as it may be for fans to join forces in writing about Harry Potter, there have been similar activities happening on fan sites for years. In this case, however, there seems to be some significant things to look forward to: deepened interactivity with lush production values, it appears, and participation from J.K. Rowling herself. She says that, in Pottermore, she'll be sharing information she's "been hoarding for years" about the world of Harry Potter.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

 

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