Now that the excitement over J K Rowling’s latest reveal has died down, I’ve come to my senses (somewhat) and, after reading an excellent article by one of my other favourite writers, Lev Grossman (TIME magazine writer and author of The Magicians), I’ve realised that Pottermore may actually be detrimental to the art and magic that is reading.
As Lev says,
There are two things that separate reading from other media experiences. One is that reading is better: it’s richer and deeper and more complex and more beautiful. It’s more intellectually rewarding. And I say this as, among other things, a hard-core video gamer. All media have their strengths. I just think reading’s strengths are strongest.
So, the question is: will Pottermore be able to really augment the reading experience, or will it detract from the richly-imagined Potterverse that is so unique to each and every reader out there? Of course, the website hasn’t been released as yet, so we can’t say anything definitive about it just yet. But if you were to take away the whole glitz shrouding the site, is Pottermore just another interactive website – akin to countless other “spin-off” sites that publishers deem necessary to promote books to a younger, more techno-savvy readership?
Rowling said it herself, that e-books are here to stay. So, for the fist time ever, the Potter books will be available in digital format. But will this cause an entire generation to not experience the charm of reading traditional “codex-form” books, as they become engrossed in the digital formats that are set to permeate the reading sphere?
For me, it all comes down to increasing global readership in general. The biggest challenge the world faces today is a dwindling population of readers, as more and more people become infatuated with an excess of multimedia. Not that I’m saying multimedia is bad – hey, I’m a big fan of digital content. But the fact that e-books have the potential to convert more people to the joys of reading is enough to ensure that this sacred art lives on.