July 17, 2007 — -- "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," J.K. Rowling's highly anticipated finale to her seven-part Potter series, is three days away from hitting the book stands, but it has already appeared on the Web.
After Rowling hinted that two or more characters were likely to die in her final book, Potterheads have been speculating who it will be.
Will Harry live? Will he die? It seems the answer is too much for some people to wait for.
Despite security measures surrounding the book's publication and distribution, rabid fans have found a way to bring the story -- and its ending -- to an eager audience earlier than its slated release at 12:01 Saturday morning.
The novel appears on the file-sharing Web site BitTorrent, and several other sites, and though the quality of the photographed pages isn't high, the story is readable.
Kyle Good, a spokeswoman for Scholastic, the company that publishes the American version of the books, told ABC News, "There is a lot of material on the Internet that claims to come from 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,' but anyone can post anything on the Internet and you can't believe everything you see online."
According to Bloomberg News, Scholastic sought materials from the image-hosting Web site Photobucket.com that it said might violate the book's copyright. News Corp. purchased Photobucket earlier this year.
Scholastic also subpoenaed Gaia Interactive, asking for the identity of who posted a copy of the book on Gaia's social networking Site, gaiaonline.com. A spokesman for Gaia told Bloomberg that it complied with the subpoena, gave the name to Scholastic, removed the material and banned the user from the site.
A July 5 Publishers Weekly story reported that the final volume of the "Harry Potter" series was being printed at a plant in Crawfordsville, Ind.
The article said the printing of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was being conducted under the strictest security in order to not irk the book's publisher, Scholastic Books, and author J.K. Rowling.
The intention was that nobody would get an advance peek, and everyone associated with the publication seems to have taken an oath of silence.
Well, spoilers are the sound of silence.
Less than a month ago, the blog Gawker.com leaked the book's ending. The author of the spoiling post claimed a publishing insider at Bloomsbury with "intimate knowledge" of the Potter project told Gawker the ending on the condition he or she wouldn't disclose the information until the day the book shipped.
That didn't happen, and following the ending, the writer wrote, "Okay, can all you adults get lives now and stop reading a book meant for 11-year-olds? Thanks."
So it seems there are haters and fans alike leaking the final moments in Rowling's work.
And the motive?
Nothing beats being first.
A user by the name of Yamathan, who posted the book on Pirate Bay, wrote, "Let's make Internet History!"
Spoilers or no spoilers, bookstores nationwide are gearing up for what promises to be a busy Friday night of long lines and anxious readers. Scholastic is publishing a record-setting print run of 12 million copies.
Scholastic hopes that for most, nothing but a hard copy in the hand of a true Potterhead this Saturday will suffice.
Good said, "No matter what anyone claims before that time, we know that parents, booksellers, librarians and especially fans do not want spoilers but rather want to keep the magic alive for that midnight moment when everyone can read the book together."