HARRY Potter author JK Rowling has come under fire from fans after delays hit the high-profile interactive website based on the books.
Pottermore was due to launch last October but readers are still unable to access the site more than five months on.
A spokesman for the Edinburgh-based writer refused to say what was behind the mysterious delays, but fans have already taken to cyberspace to complain.
Announcing the project, which is being launched in partnership with Sony, Rowling last year described the site as “a really great way to give back to the Harry Potter readership, who made the books such a big success”.
The site, for which Rowling wrote and extra 18,000 words of material, is currently still in a ‘beta’ or testing phase and while some fans have been given access, the majority are still waiting for the site to go live.
Those who are allowed to use the site are able to learn more about the Harry Potter universe, read ebooks and play Harry-related games.
Fans angry at the delays have taken to social networking sites, with some contacting the multi-millionaire author to demand answers.
One fan used the micro-blogging site Twitter to ask: @jk_rowling – not to be rude or anything, but when are you going to open up Pottermore to the general public? You promis4ed September and it’s now March.”
Another wrote: “@jk-rowling I know you are busy with your new book but pleaaaseeee tell @potter-more to hurry up”.
While a third added: “@jk_rowling Hello JK!! I doubt you read this but the pottermore release date wait is getting on my nerves!”
But those behind the site say there is still not date for the website being fully functional.
Fans on a site dedicated to the project were disappointed by the announcement, with one contributor writing: “This is very very bad advertising for JKR. Is she aware of what is happening? It is frustrating for all the fans, and worst of all there is no satisfactory response.
“It seems the eye is bigger than the belly. Come on JKR – get your finger out and type a response. It’s the fans of your writing that put you where you are today.”
At Pottermore’s ‘beta’ launch in August limited numbers of fans were given access but were disappointed when they could only access one book, and many are now considering boycotting the site until access is universal.
Henri Jonathan Mertens wrote on one 82,000 strong Facebook page dedicated to saga, saying: “Haven’t been on Pottermore in four months, and until the site is open to everyone, I won’t be on it.
“The delay of Pottermore is because of Sony but I wish JK Rowling would at least address the fans.”
And other page users have even been discussing a petition to force the site makers to open it up to the public.
Yet another Beta user, Teresa Gibson, complained that the site has not evolved since she was first granted access.
She wrote: “We are coming up on seven months since Pottermore open to beta users. By now we’ve all read/did all we can do with what’s there.
“There’s hardly ever any updates from the insider. They aren’t going public and time soon. Would you consider this a failure?”
But a computing expert said the site may have encountered unexpected bugs.
Tristan Donovan, author of Replay: The history of video games, said: “They [online computer games] are very complex to create and at the testing stage there can be a lot of problems, and you don’t really know until you test it what the problems will be. With Pottermore, it’s likely that technical problems have been uncovered, or something’s not quite right and it’s taking quite a bit of time to fix it. Making an online game perfect for its users is really quite a daunting and ambitious task so its unsurprising they have had delays.”
A spokesperson for JK Rowling said: “We are not ready to say yet [why the Pottermore site has been delayed]. There is no further information at the moment – but it [the reason] will be obvious when it is announced.”