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September 8, 2016

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Rowling defends new e-books

JJK Rowling has defended the publication of her new Harry Potter e-books after fans complained that they were filled with very little original writing by the best-selling author.

The Pottermore Presents series was released on Tuesday, consisting of three online-only books that packaged up writing from the free-to-access Harry Potter website Pottermore in themed editions.

The 10,000-word books included chapters on the workings of objects familiar to Harry Potter fans such as the Sorting Hat and the Marauder’s Map, as well as entries on all of the Ministers for Magic - the wizarding equivalent of the Prime Minister.

Although Rowling’s name was listed on the front of all three books, the copy inside has been compiled by staff from Pottermore. Anne Rafferty, the website’s director of product, creative and content, explained on Pottermore: “We read through everything in our archives, took pieces written by Rowling and the Pottermore editorial team, and sewed it all together.”

The books, Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, and Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, are on sale for £1.99 each.

However, although Pottermore promised “original, never-seen-before” writing from Rowling would comprise certain chapters, there is little that fans have not known before. The majority of the chapter on Hogwarts teacher, and later headteacher, Professor McGonagall, can still be found on the Pottermore website, with just 660 words written anew by the author.

While the other “original” chapters from Rowling on Professor Slughorn, the man who gave Lord Voldemort his lethal secret and Animagi, those humans who can transform into animals, don’t exist on Pottermore, they are not full of entirely new information, either - zealous fans have compiled similar accounts from previous Rowling and Pottermore publications on sites such as the Harry Potter Wiki page.

Readers were quick to notice the lack of new information in the books after their release. One posted on Twitter: “is it me, or is there not that much new info in the HP shorts that isn’t already on Pottermore for free?”. Another prompted Rowling to response after asking: “why would y’all make info already available for free on pottermore into ebooks?”

The author replied: “We had many, many requests to make the extra writing available in this format.”

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