J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, has announced plans to join the multitude of authors distributing their works as eBooks. The catch, however, is that the series will only be available from the new Pottermore website, bypassing the likes of Amazon and Apple.
Pottermore, as explained in an introduction video, will be a new online community set to extend the fictional universe in as-yet-unspecified ways. "[Pottermore] will also be the exclusive place to purchase digital audio books, and for the first time, eBooks of the Harry Potter series," Rowling said.
The website is expected to launch in October, with a smaller test before then. Information on how to gain early access will be announced 31st July, but until then fans can leave their email address to receive updates. Although the audio books and eBooks will come at a price, the service itself is free.
The move is a turnaround for Rowling who previously refused to release eBook versions of her work, citing piracy fears. In 2005, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was uploaded in its entirety less than 24 hours after going on sale.
While details on what the rest of Pottermore entails are scarce, a leak from The Guardian yesterday claimed that the site would involve a treasure hunt of some sort. The introduction video made no reference to this, but the possibility is still open as the October launch approaches.