Image pinched from Amazon.com's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows page.
There are rumors, inevitably, that the 7th (and possibly final) Harry Potter novel has leaked and is available via a torrent file. Some people are saying the files are an elaborate hoax and others are saying it's the real deal.
Well, folks, I can tell you that it is the real deal or the most amazingly convincing hoax ever (and I'm convinced of the former). While I'm sure that the book's publisher may be wringing its hands and fretting over this, it's really not worth worrying about. The files are a collection of jpegs of the pages of the book taken with a digital camera as the book lies open on a table and someone turns the pages. The pages can't even be read without zooming in massively and are illegible near the spine of the book. No one is going to "read" the book in this fashion and fail to purchase a real book.
The main purpose of this leak isn't to allow people to not buy the book (after all, we're all going to buy it...my husband and I have our pre-order in place already). The point of this is to provide spoilers several days before the official release date. So, this means that spoilers are out there 3 days earlier than they normally would but otherwise means little else. Some people appear to have gone through the painstaking process of attempting to read these eye-straining pictures and plucked out all the most important details (like who dies) and posted them.
If you really care about not being spoiled, you may want to turn your computer off now and don't turn it back on until your pre-ordered copy shows up and you've spent all night reading it. For those of us (raises hand) who think that J.K. Rowling's "hints" lend an extreme irritation factor to reading the books because they make the reader think mainly about who is going to kick it, the spoilers are actually welcome since we can find out who buys the farm and just pay attention to the damn story this time around.