Pottermore sets April launch date

Initial testing had revealed problems in website

LONDON — J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore website will finally launch to the public in April, six months later than planned.

Pottermore opened for Beta-testing last July and has signed up 1 million users. It was scheduled to go public in October but unspecified technical difficulties kept the site under wraps.

A statement posted to the “Pottermore Insider” section of the website Friday said it “will be open to everyone in early April.”

Acknowledging the frustration of fans, the statement explained that Beta-testing had revealed the original platform would not be suitable when millions more users came onto the site. As a result, Pottermore was moved to a different platform.

“This ‘invisible’ change has involved a lot of work behind the scenes, but it will enable our users to get the best from Pottermore as it grows and develops,” the statement said.

Pottermore will be an exclusive sales platform for Rowling’s e-books. It also aims to provide an interactive and social networking experience for Harry Potter fans, using the shared reading experience as a conduit for them to communicate with each other.

Rowling has reportedly written 18,000 extra words of material for the site, which also offers games, discussion forums and access to previously unpublished background notes.

Pottermore heralds a publishing revolution in the digital universe, the first example of a big-name author using the Web to self-publish her own e-books.

Rowling retained the digital rights to her work from her original publishing deal with Bloomsbury, even though that was long before any viable medium existed in which to exploit them.

In the early phase of Beta-testing, Pottermore peaked at 550 million page views per month, although this has reportedly tailed off in recent months after users exhausted the existing content. The statement on “Pottermore Insider” promises that many new features, including sounds, will be introduced in the weeks leading up to the public launch.

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