With Pottermore, the new online community based on the world of Harry Potter, preparing to go into beta, The Guardian looks at how children’s books can often lend themselves to leaching into the real world:
Pottermore may be the most ambitious attempt to extend the legacy of a children’s book, but it’s just the logical technological extension of a process that began when print ceased to be the sole means of mass communication. Kids’ books have become radio and TV serials, feature films, cartoons, audiobooks – and now they are becoming apps, websites and more.
But isn’t there a risk that all the bells and whistles take away from the original book, restricting the limits of the young reader’s imagination – especially with films? “There can be the danger that the visual impact takes over,” says Elv Moody, the editorial director of Classic Puffin. “But sometimes it can work the other way. Film can be a great way into a book that might have seemed too grown-up to read.” She thinks this autumn’s films of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Three Musketeers will attract a new audience to those books, and points out that Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland prompted a massive uplift in sales of Lewis Carroll’s original book – even the Puffin edition, which had no film tie-in.