Monday, June 27, 2011

Pottermore and the Rise of Author-Publishers.

Last Sunday’s Age contained a story about how J.K. Rowling has retained the digital rights to her work, and plans to start a Pottermore website containing 20,000 words of previously unpublished material from the Harry Potter series and additional information about all the characters:

It will be a combination: part social-networking forum, part computer game in a website containing additional encyclopedic-like details. It will allow fans to continue interacting with their favourite books, but more importantly, it will make the series relevant to a new "digital generation" of readers who may not have been as prepared to read printed books in future.

A very shrewd business move. Having worked in copyright law for about five years (two and a half of them with visual artists), I’m fascinated by Rowling’s foresight in retaining the particular rights she did, and the opportunity she's now created for herself.

Interestingly, a representative of Melbourne University Publishing’s was quoted in the weekend's article as saying that Rowling's move won't start a new trend because 'authors generally want someone between them and their audience so they can focus on their writing'. these sound like the somewhat illogical rantings of a desperate member of a soon-to-be-extinct profession to you?

Writers are, of course, increasingly seeking more direct contact with their audience, not less.

How else to explain the rise of author blogs, twitter accounts and the like? How else to explain the rise of spoken word and performance poetry here in Melbourne, the world's second only UNESCO City of Literature.

How else to explain you, landing here, reading this?