Harry Potter Goes Digital as Author J.K. Rowling Starts ‘Pottermore’ Site

J.K. Rowling, the billionaire author of the Harry Potter books, started an Internet venture to sell electronic versions of the novels and publish material about the boy wizard.

Pottermore.com will be a free-to-use website with “extensive new material about the characters, places and objects,” Rowling’s publisher Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (BMY) said in a statement today. From October, the website will incorporate an online shop to sell all seven of Harry Potter novels as e-Books.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the final Harry Potter novel, was released in July 2007, ending a series of books that began in 1997. Rowling broke a publishing industry record when the latest book sold 8.3 million copies in its first 24 hours and 11.5 million copies in its first 10 days.

Authors and book companies are pushing electronic versions of books into the market to benefit from the boom in devices such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle and Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad. Bloomsbury, whose e-book sales rose to 1.5 million pounds ($2.4 million) last year from 79,000 pounds in 2009, said today it will get a share of the sales from the Pottermore venture.

Bloomsbury dropped 0.8 percent to 126.25 pence at 1:25 p.m. in London, valuing the company at 93 million pounds.

Scholastic Corp., the U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter novels, said in a separate statement that it will receive a royalty on sales of the U.S. e-books editions.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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