Blog Post

Pottermore Delays E-Bookstore Launch, Citing Overwhelming Traffic Concerns

Pottermore, the interactive Harry Potter community site that recently launched in beta, was supposed to start its exclusive sales of Harry Potter e-books and digital audiobooks as early as this month. But now the site has pushed back the Pottermore Shop’s launch to “the first half of 2012.” Why?

According to Pottermore’s official blog, the delay of the e-bookstore is “in order to allow us to focus on our first priority: opening Pottermore to as many people as possible and making the experience as good as it can be.”

Pottermore has been rolling out gradually to a million beta users, who have been “interacting with the site far more intensely and frequently than we thought they would,” and the site’s beta period is being extended “to ensure that the site will be ready when more people are enabled.” In other words, not only will the e-bookstore not be available as soon as originally promised, the site will also not be open to general registration as soon as planned. Pottermore also temporarily closed the “Wizard’s Duel” area of the site because “it has proved to be even more popular than we anticipated and we want to make sure that it will be able cope with the large number of users we expect before turning it back on.”

Pottermore has clearly been overwhelmed by traffic–this morning I’m unable to sign into the site with my beta account–and is delaying the e-bookstore launch to make sure that things are running smoothly once it opens. (Though The Passive Guy wonders if “whatever software/hardware supports the interactive aspect of the site may have some serious problems. You usually want to design this sort of thing so you solve capacity problems by throwing more servers online or renting more cloud space. If that won’t address the problem, you’ve probably done your software design improperly and delay release.”) Delays and bugs are one thing when the site is in beta and free but much more of a problem when users’ credit card information is on the line. At any rate, the books won’t be available by the holidays. But a lot more people should have $79 Kindles to read them on by the time they actually are available.