The Washington Post consults a set of experts about the draw of the Harry Potter series and comes to the following conclusion:
One of the most interesting discussions centers on the community of readers. Some have suggested that though reading is often a solitary experience, many of us read Harry Potter as part of a community, discussing, interacting, writing fan fiction. Rowling has seemed acutely aware of her audience and has interacted with that community of readers increasingly through the text as the series went on. (Ebony Elizabeth Thomas)
When you go to the Pottermore website (link below), you will find a video of J.K. Rowling, explaining how Pottermore provides a platform for sharing the experience of reading the series. “an online reading experience like no other.” It will also be the “exclusive” place to purchase digital audiobooks and e-books. I would be very curious to know what Henry Jenkins (author of Convergence Culture) thinks of Pottermore.
Here’s what Jenkins has written in “Why Heather Can Write: Media Literacy and the Harry Potter Wars,” a chapter in Convergence Culture.
“So far, we have seen that corporate media increasingly recognizes the value, and the threat, posed by fan participation. . . . Storytellers now think about storytelling in terms of creating openings for consumer participation. At the same time, consumers are using new media technologies to engage with old media content, seeing the Internet as a vehicle for collective problem solving, public deliberation, and grassroots creativity. Indeed, we have suggested that it is the interplay–and tension–between the top-down force of corporate convergence and the bottom-up force of grassroots convergence that is driving many of the changes we are observing in the media landscape. . . . Corporations imagine participation as something they can start and stop, channel and reroute, commodify and market.”
And here’s Sony, sponsor of the site. Sony embraces, see below, the “philosophy of make.believe.”
Pottermore is an online reading experience built around the world of Harry Potter, created for a new digital generation of readers who can share and participate in the stories, showcase their Potter-related creativity and discover new information about the world of Harry Potter from the author herself. It will also be the exclusive place to purchase, for the first time, eBooks, as well as digital audio books of the Harry Potter series.
As a leading company in entertainment and electronics including games and digital books, Sony is proud to partner with J.K. Rowling to create this interactive story-telling experience. Sony’s philosophy of “make.believe“ is woven throughout the Pottermore journey, where users are inspired to believe that anything they can imagine, they can make real. Through Pottermore, Sony will be able to reach both current and future generations of Harry Potter fans, and introduce them to products and services beyond their imagination.