Pottermore Presents: 3 eBooks Put Another Nail in the Encyclopedia Coffin

Four days ago, a visitor to this website pointed out that I had a few pages missing in my Pottermore Index. After adding those four, I counted the number of total links on that index page: 92. So far, J.K. Rowling has written 92 articles for Pottermore.com, and it doesn’t seem as though she’s going to quit anytime soon. With four sequels following Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I would imagine there’s no end in sight to the ideas flowing from Jo’s imagination.

Not that I’m asking Jo to quit. As long as she has ideas to further flesh out our beloved Wizarding World, I say more power to her. There was a time when I thought that “All was well” should have been the end of it, because the Deathly Hallows epilogue tied up the story so nicely (almost too nicely). But then, shortly thereafter, Rowling tweeted or posted on her website that she was working on an encyclopedia of all the notes that she wrote down, all the backstories that she could not fit into the books.

And fans have been itching for this encyclopedia ever since.

However, before such a book (the “Scottish Book”) could be published, Pottermore was announced and released. I was a huge fan of the Pottermore website in its original format. In fact, my most-read articles on this website are about Pottermore. It was totally immersive. For me, the artwork, the sound effects and the interactiveness captured the atmosphere of the stories better than any Harry Potter video game I had ever played or movie I had ever watched. I was heartbroken to see it go.

Both the former and the current iterations of this website include writing by J.K. Rowling, but neither had/has an index to make these writings easy to look up. Sure, the new website has a search engine, which the old website lacked, but what I would like is a book with all these articles in it and a table of contents in the front or alphabetized index in the back so I can see at a glance all the articles that this book includes. I mean, what good is a search engine if you don’t know what’s out there? At least with an index, you can browse more easily and see what there is to see within the book.

That was my purpose in creating the Pottermore Index on this website: so visitors can see at a glance all 92 articles that the new Pottermore website has to offer. I tried to make these links easy to browse by including pictures, sorting them into five categories, and alphabetizing them within those five groups. Go check it out!

There was a time when I thought, at least once the Fantastic Beasts movies were done (so you never know, this may still happen), that Rowling would round up all the articles that she had posted on the Pottermore website and publish them in this all-inclusive printed encyclopedia that she had always promised. Instead, we have been given three digital eBooks (not much different than reading a website), which were released on September 6th under the three following titles:

  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists
  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies
  • Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide

All three eBooks were reported to be a mix of previously released Pottermore content and brand new material, though after reading the three eBooks, I’m not sure which articles are brand-new and which ones I had already read, because my memory is just that short: I felt like I was discovering a lot of new information for the first time.

There are two benefits to publishing these eBooks, and one downside. Firstly, publishing them allows them to be arranged in a more organized format than what we see on the Pottermore website (though I obviously prefer my own Pottermore Index page). Secondly, publishing them allows readers to draw a firmer line between what is canon and what isn’t. There are some, like me, who assume that everything Jo says, whether in interviews, on Twitter, in print, on her website(s), etc, is canon. There are others who hold to a stricter view: that only the words published (and purchased) are canon.

Since each of these three eBooks are $2.99, I certainly hope that the words within them can be considered canon.

Thirdly, the downside. Releasing these three eBooks, I think, puts another nail in the encyclopedia coffin. If “Pottermore Presents” decides that they’re going to release these three eBooks containing a few articles from Pottermore, what’s to prevent them from publishing a few more with other articles? When all is said and done, why would they then release an all-encompassing print version? And who would buy it, after buying a dozen eBooks with exactly the same content?

Well… me? Yes, I would. So, I suppose as long as there’s an audience willing to throw money at something, there’s still a possibility for it to be released in the future. I certainly hope this holds true for a Hogwarts MMORPG!

What do you think? Do these three eBooks mean the death of the encyclopedia? Comment below!