The scoop on Pottermore, the author's soon-to-launch interactive website

By Adam B. Vary
July 01, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

On June 23, with the kind of pomp and circumstance befitting the Quidditch World Cup, author J.K. Rowling unveiled, a vast interactive online supplement to her epic seven-book series.

The site will add fresh life to the saga with Web-only features and 18,000-plus words of new and previously unpublished material written by Rowling herself on the characters, places, and objects of the Potter world. The extras include a treatise on the difference between wand woods, the backstory of Minerva McGonagall, and an extensive questionnaire designed by the author to place each reader in one of Hogwarts’ four houses Sorting Hat-style.

Pottermore will launch in October with bonus material for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but a sneak peek will be available to one million lucky winners of an online scavenger hunt that begins July 31 — Harry’s birthday (details of the contest are still to come). Though the site itself will be free, Pottermore will also be the exclusive place to purchase ebook versions of Rowling’s novels — which will finally be available starting in October (for multiple devices), with royalties shared by Scholastic and the series’ non-U.S. publishers. While the movie franchise may be ending, Rowling seems committed to keeping Harry’s magic sparking for a good long time.