According to Reuters, J.K. Rowling, famed author of the "Harry Potter" novels, has launched an online book club in conjunction with the series' U.S. publisher, Scholastic. The author plans an online global webcast in October, where she will discuss the series' lore, as well as the various intricacies involved in crafting the universe. The Harry Potter Reading Club is meant to promote the development of book clubs for teachers and young people, in an effort to stimulate education through consumption of the written word.
"Scholastic has been in conversation with educators, librarians and other book lovers about ideas for bringing the Harry Potter books to new readers in exciting and different ways," said Ellie Berger, president of the Scholastic Trade division.
A global phenomenon, the "Harry Potter" books spawned a series of blockbuster films, as well as video games and other assorted merchandise. The films alone have grossed more than a billion dollars for Warner Brothers, starting with "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone" (known as "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" elsewhere in the world). The final film, "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2" earned three Academy Award nominations, for Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects and Best makeup. Critically and financially successful, the series ended in 2011, with some fans happy to see the series end but others suffering from a kind of depression once it was completed, according to EW.
"The Harry Potter Reading Club is a direct response to that feedback and provides an entry point through which the thrill of these books can be shared with new generations of Harry Potter fans both within and beyond the classroom," Berger said.
The books have sold an estimated 450 million copies, and the website will serve as a guide for those looking to get acquainted with the series, or further their knowledge of the world Rowling created. Scholastic will also provide activities for readers, as the site will encourage interactivity as much as possible.