Potter Fans' New Nemesis? The Web.

(By Todd Cross For The Washington Post)
By Kendra Marr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter fans: Beware of the Internet!

The last installment of the boy wizard's saga is supposed to be kept secret until Saturday, but photographs and scanned copies of each page of the unreleased book -- both real and fake -- are already circulating on the Web.

Pictures of pages 1 to 495 can be downloaded off several torrent sites, part of a peer-to-peer filing-sharing platform. Some materials have been hosted on PhotoBucket.com, a Web site that lets users share pictures and videos on networks such as MySpace, Craigslist and Xanga. One personal Web page lists plot summaries with scanned images of the text.

For months, Scholastic has been asking people on various sites to take down material that might spoil the plot of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

The plot thickened Monday, with the publisher serving a subpoena to Gaia Interactive of San Jose, which runs a social networking site, to learn the identity of the user who allegedly posted the book.

"The main thing is to keep spoilers from ruining all the fun for the fans," Scholastic spokeswoman Kyle Good said. "They're all looking forward to their midnight parties on Friday. They want to keep the magic."

Some of the pages could be fake, but it will be impossible to verify their authenticity until the book hits shelves.

Because some fans are trying to steer clear of anything that might ruin the book, staff members at Tree Top Kids bookstore in Bethesda keep their lips sealed on all things Harry Potter, even after the book is out.

"We have policy here at Tree Top that we won't talk about it the week after so we won't spoil it for anyone," said Jacqui Ricca, the store manager. "It's for some of the customers -- but mostly for the employees who haven't gotten around to reading it yet."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company