I, like much of the world, suspected that we hadn’t heard the end of Harry Potter, but I, like much of the world, didn’t exactly see what was coming next. JK Rowling continues to be a genius by surprising her readers, and the world in general, with her recent announcement of Pottermore, writes Cory Treffiletti for MediaPost.
Pottermore is basically a virtual world of publishing where readers will be able to read new and previously unreleased material set in the world of Harry Potter. It will consist of back stories for characters, locations and other assorted tidbits of knowledge that will keep her readers bathed in the Hogwarts glow for many years to come.
In creating this masterpiece, Rowling does three things. First of all, she satisfies the almost insane, obsessive curiosity of her fans pining to read more of her world of wizards and magic, which she so eloquently created. Second, she is setting the stage for what could easily become the foundation of publishing for the next 50 years. Third, she guarantees monthly revenue for herself until her grandkids’ grandkids start having kids of their own (not that she really needs it)!
The focus for me is the impact on publishing. Many authors have turned to the Web to create content. Some have looked to the area of virtual worlds, while some have looked to video and other avenues, but all these iterations felt stale and/or forced. What Rowling is doing is using digital purely as a tool for distribution of background and extended work, basically replacing the existing publishing system, while maintaining control of all her own materialIt’s brilliant when you think about it: She can always package the work into a book later, and she can leak it out slowly over time, monetizing it however she chooses. If I were George Lucas, I’d be keeping a close eye on what Potter fans will be seeing, as this is a model that “Star Wars” could, and should, likely emulate!
Of course, if Rowling decided to partner with Radiohead, then all of the entertainment world would be standing on its toes! Both Radiohead and Rowling are trying new ways to distribute their work directly to fans and maintain control over their product. Both are laying the groundwork so that others can emulate, and both are having strong success in doing so!
Not every author will be able to pursue this model, but many of the most successful franchises certainly can. The “Twilight series” is an obvious opportunity to emulate this model, and even the “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” series, if you tap into the character back stories and tangentially related offshoots of the books.
What I also find interesting is that, right now, Pottermore is primarily a free site, and it will encourage fan participation. How will this turn into revenue? My guess is a simple three-tiered model of advertising, merchandising and publishing. Rowling can package new material for collectors whenever she wants, even on-demand. She can integrate advertising or marketing, with many brands being willing to pay a pretty penny to be integrated into that world and the eyes of her loyal readers. She can also merchandise her world to her heart’s content. Those pages of Potter-related products in the Air Mall magazine are just the beginning!
Rowling may not be releasing everything she intends to do as of yet, but she’s a smart cookie. She has a plan, and as with most of her stories, she won’t tip her hand too early. I look forward to Pottermore and the untold stories that will be laid out in front of me.
To register: //www.pottermore.com/
This article republished by kind permission of www.mediapost.com //www.mediapost.com
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