Since the first announcement last week speculation has run wild about what exactly J.K. Rowling is up to with her new venture, Pottermore. This morning, at 12:01 British Summer Time, Rowling ended the suspense (well, some of it anyway) and announced Pottermore as "a unique and free-to-use website which builds an exciting online experience around the reading of her hugely successful Harry Potter books."
Pottermore.com launches in Beta on Harry Potter's birthday, July 31st, and fans can sign up to be contacted when registration opens. Our own attempts to sign up resulted in a "come back later" message as legions of fans overwhelm the site--which I'm sure comes as no surprise to anyone. Pottermore.com will be open to all in October, but the first lucky 1 million fans to complete their registration on July 31st (will there be a test of Potter knowledge, I wonder?) win early access to the site and the chance to contribute to the final result.
Images provided through the press department (see below) show portals to a lot of interaction, amazing graphics, and what looks like a very cool Harry Potter environment. Rowling has created a seemingly massive amount of new material for Pottermore, and for the first time fans will have the opportunity to experience Hogwarts as an insider--Rowling even reveals the questions asked by the sorting hat when users receive their own assignment to a Hogwarts house.
As suspected, there will also be a shopping component to Pottermore, a Pottermore Store, but that feels very secondary to the creative and collaborative world that J.K. Rowling, in partnership with Sony, have established for longtime fans and newcomers to the world of Harry Potter. I, for one, can't wait to see it unfold, and will continue anxiously refreshing the sign-up page so I can wade into the registration fray on July 31st with the rest of you.
What do you think, Omni readers? Have you been successful in signing up? Do you like what you've seen and heard, so far? Let us know, and I'll check back with you on July 31st to see which of you (and oh, could it be me?) make the 1 million fan early adopter challenge.
Photos of Pottermore after the jump.