More proof, if any was needed, that writers write for more reasons than just money. J.K. Rowling, who could live comfortably off of Harry Potter even if she never wrote another word in her life, has announced she will be publishing an adult novel later this year. There is no word yet as to what the book will be about or even what genre it will be in, but Rowling is publishing it through Hachette’s Little, Brown imprint in both the US and UK, and other Hachette companies worldwide.
Notably, Little, Brown will have the e-book as well as the print rights—Rowling famously kept the Harry Potter e-book rights for herself.
Speaking of the Harry Potter e-books, they were planned to be offered through the Pottermore website, which was supposed to launch in October. However, it is now February and the “beta” period still continues, with only one million Potter fans able to access the site so far.
Shoshana Kessler discusses the delay on The Guardian, noting that there hasn’t been a lot of information forthcoming on when this delay might end—sending in a support request just produces a nonspecific form email about extending the beta period to further improve the site. She reports being pleased but slightly unsatisfied by her own Pottermore experience, when someone who got into the beta let her borrow his username and password—you could do some fun activities, but it wasn’t magical enough to get lost in the way you could get lost in the books themselves.
And therein lies the problem of Pottermore. The millions waiting won’t get bored and move on, not true fans. Even as I was writing this, I found a website full of people urgently asking how to sign up.
But their expectations will get higher and higher and when they’re finally allowed in, unless there have been big changes, I expect that there will be a bit of a backlash.
And, of course, until the site does debut, Potter fans will also be without their long-awaited commercial e-books. (Though by now just about any Potter fan who wanted them has found his own way to acquire them.)