NEW YORK (Reuters) - Author J.K. Rowling launched an online book club for young readers on Tuesday and will appear in a live global webcast in October from Edinburgh, Scotland, to speak with her fans about the magical world of Harry Potter.
Rowling's U.S. publisher, Scholastic, which developed the Harry Potter Reading Club website, said it will be a destination for fans of the British boy wizard and a tool for parents and teachers who want to set up book clubs to introduce children to the joys of reading.
"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," Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic Trade, said in a statement announcing the club.
"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."
The live webcast with Rowling from her hometown will be presented by the club at noon EDT (0500 GMT) on October 11 at www.scholastic.com/hpreadingclub.
Scholastic, which described the webcast as a "live virtual author visit to classrooms," said it will be Rowling's first opportunity since 2007 to interact with young readers and to discuss Pottermore, www.pottermore.com, a website launched in April to help fans navigate through the tales of wizardry and witchcraft.
The Harry Potter Reading Club will include a guide for everything about the boy wizard, an overview of the series of Harry Potter books that have sold an estimated 450 million copies worldwide and were transformed into eight hit movies, and information about Rowling, the world's first author billionaire.
Scholastic said it will add activities on the site every month.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Leslie Adler)