"Frustrated Harry Potter fans have finally received the news they have been waiting for: JK Rowling's much-delayed Pottermore website is set to open to all comers in early April, with ebooks due out around the same time.
Pottermore, an interactive version of the Harry Potter universe where users can duel their fellow wizards, cast spells and progress through the storyline of the Potter books, opened to one million beta users last July. Full launch was initially scheduled for October, but the immense popularity of the website among users – 550m page views were made in just two months – meant it was delayed until 2012.
Officials have now announced that pottermore.com will open to everyone in early April. A spokesperson for Rowling confirmed to the Guardian that the long-awaited Harry Potter ebooks, which will be sold from the site, would launch "at around the same time", but provided no more details. The Potter ebooks and digital audiobooks will be distributed to more than 18,000 school and public libraries worldwide by Overdrive, it was announced last month.
Pottermore admitted that the "extended wait" for Potter fans "has been frustrating", and thanked readers for their patience so far. The delay, said officials, was down to a decision to move Pottermore to a new platform set-up.
"We always knew Pottermore would be incredibly popular, which is why we made the decision to only open to one million beta users to begin with. We wanted to make sure that we had a really good understanding of how people want to use the site and which bits we'd need to modify before giving more people access," they said in a statement.
"We gathered some incredibly useful feedback from our eta users, and it became clear that our original platform wouldn't be suitable when millions more users came on to the site. So we made a big decision: to move Pottermore to an entirely different platform set-up. This 'invisible' change has involved a lot of work behind the scenes but it will enable our users to get the best from Pottermore as it grows and develops."
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