Pottermore originally launched in April 2012 and the website was initially developed to sell all seven Harry Potter titles in the digital format. One of the big draws was a gaming system which appealed to a younger demographic and allowed you to join in on the early adventures of Harry Potter. You could join a house and play mini-games, something a small but loyal audience continues to enjoy. Susan Jurevics the current Pottermore CEO has announced that in the coming weeks the service will undergo a total redesign and drop all gaming elements from the site.
In an interview with the Bookseller, CEO Susan Jurevics said the changes had been driven by identifying the core users of the site, how technology had developed since its original launch and the need to reflect that the Harry Potter universe is no longer confined to the original seven books. A stage play is currently under development, and the first of three new films, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, is to be released next year. Starting this October fully illustrated edition of the Harry Potter series, with drawings by Jim Kay will be also sold on the site.
Over the years J.K. Rowling has also used Pottermore as a vehicle to steadily reveal secrets of the wizarding world, delving into the histories of beloved (and some not-so-beloved) characters, and discussing her thoughts on the books and characters. One of her biggest bombshells was that she really wanted to have Harry and Hermione get together. Her musings and short fiction will also be a central theme to the websites relaunch.
The main reason why Pottermore is being revised is because when it originally launched the iPad was’t invented yet and people did not sleep with their smartphones. The current iteration of Pottermore is a desktop and laptop experience and this is something the company wants to change. They need the service to be totally mobile friendly and have all of their content show up in the search engine, something that it is unable to do now due to the dynamic nature of the gaming system.
I think Pottermores lasting legacy is how it shook up the publishing world. When you buy the e-book edition from any of the worlds top digital bookstores, such as Amazon or Kobo you are actually redirected to the Pottermore website and those sites earn commissions. This is something that had not been done before and hasn’t been duplicated since.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.