More information on the leak is available here.
Photos of what appeared to be every page of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the breathlessly awaited seventh and final installment in the wildly popular series by J.K. Rowling, were circulating around the Web today, potentially upsetting the most elaborate marketing machine ever mobilized for a book.
Various file-sharing Web sites were carrying what looked like amateur photographs of each pair of facing pages of the book, which officially goes on sale at 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning. The pictures show the book laid out on a green and red-flecked looped carpet with somebody’s fingers holding it open. Some of the photos make the text difficult to read, but the ending is definitely legible.
Kyle Good, a spokeswoman for Scholastic, the book’s United States publisher, said that she was aware of at least three different versions of the file “that look very convincing” with what she described as “conflicting content.”
In a court filing on Monday, Scholastic sought “materials hosted on Photobucket.com’s system” that it said might violate the book’s copyright, Bloomberg News reported today. Photobucket is a unit of the News Corporation.
In addition, Bloomberg said, Scholastic sent a subpoena to Gaia Interactive in San Jose asking the identity of someone who had posted a copy of the book on Gaia’s social networking Web site, gaiaonline.com. A spokesman for Gaia told Bloomberg that it had complied with the subpoena, turned the name over to Scholastic, removed the material and banned the user from the site.
In Britain, where the book is published by Bloomsbury, Sarah Beal, a spokeswoman, said: “We are encouraging people not to do this. This happens with every book, and there are a lot of them out there, and we appeal to everybody not to put them up. It’s amazing how creative people can be. It may look real, but it doesn’t mean they are.”
Hype and frenzy have been building for weeks, as readers anticipate the release of the final book, in which Ms. Rowling has hinted that two or more characters are likely to die, leading to speculation from many fans that Harry might not survive his own series. Fans have been guessing about other important plot points, as well, such as who will end up with whom, or whether Professor Severus Snape, a character whose moral character has been in question, is genuinely evil.
Bookstores across the country are gearing up for festivities Friday night and are expecting long lines of readers who want to get their hands on a copy, which comes out in hardcover. Scholastic is publishing a record-setting print run of 12 million copies.