Monday, October 3, 2011

Pottermore and books

The visuals for the intro video to J. K. Rowling's newest adventure combine some fascinating ideas about books as they transition between tactile and digital forms. The animated books, cut and shaped into moving sculpture show paper texts as malleable through digitization. Who knows how many websites sport Potter fan fiction right now, but J. K. Rowling is taking the her readers' writing under her own wings. As she says, "Just as the experience of reading requires the imaginations of the author and the reader to work together to create the story, so Pottermore will be built in part by you, the reader."

What does this mean for books in the future? Many scholars have explored the expansive possibilities of digital texts, hypelinked footnotes, the kindle's dictionary on demand, comparative texts from different printings and editions made simple through the use of technology, but Pottermore seems to be something entirely new. Something part fan club, part DVD-special features, part video game, and part storylab.

The intro video with its movable books is a perfect introduction to such a phenomenon. Part nostalgia, part magic, part exhibition of technologies in action.

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