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Harry Potter 'Book of Spells' by J.K. Rowling launches Wonderbook

June 5, 2012 | 11:40 am


As the publishing business is gathered in New York's Javits Center for Book Expo America, some of the most exciting book news of the week was being announced 3,000 miles away. It was at the E3 electronics conference in Los Angeles, and the company with the news was Sony.

The Harry Potter universe just got bigger, and more interactive, with an impressive new game-slash-ebook for Playstation. The tool is called the Wonderbook; its first book is "Book of Spells," written by JK Rowling herself.

Rowling has been trying to forge a unique path for bringing her Harry Potter books to life. Of course, there was the movie series. Then in 2011, she launched Pottermore, an interactive website designed to allow fans to do their own Harry Potter-inspired storytelling. If that was a bit of a disappointment to some, "Book of Spells" may pick up the slack. It does seem to be a leap forward.

"Book of Spells" for Wonderbook lets readers -- or is it players? -- use a wand and an interactive book to make things happen on the screen. In the demonstration Monday, players released a video dragon, which lighted  the book on fire, and players patted  the book with their hands and put the fire out. Apparently, after reading more of the book, a player could learn spells to put the fire out.

The demonstration is pretty impressive. And it's interesing that as e-books continue to evolve, the place to find the most innovative new books may not be in the hands of publishers, but the industries that put the "e" in "e-books."


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-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Two players demonstrate "Book of Spells" and the Wonderbook. Credit: David McNew/Getty Images.

See a video of the demonstration after the jump.