"Harry Potter" e-books enhanced for Apple devices
You do not need to be a wizard to see the "Harry Potter" books come to life.
The seven books are getting a makeover. They will have more than 200 new illustrations in the enhanced e-books. They are made for Apple devices. More than half of the illustrations are animated or interactive.
They include such touches as a golden snitch from Quidditch matches flying away as you tap it on the screen. Series creator J.K. Rowling also goes deeper into some of the characters and story lines. There are a handful of pop-up notes.
The editions were released Oct. 8. They are only in Apple's iBooks Store. They need an Apple Inc. mobile device or a Mac computer to read. For other devices, including Amazon's Kindle, standard electronic editions are available. They can be found through Rowling's Pottermore site.
The makeover offers readers a new way to engage with the story. It also gives Rowling and her publishers a chance to resell these best-selling books. The last one came out eight years ago. It is like when Hollywood releases the same movies in new formats and with bonus materials.
The illustrations are new and only on the enhanced editions. But Rowling's notes are not necessarily so. Rowling has been regularly posting new essays on Pottermore.
She has traced Harry's roots to a 12th-century wizard. And she has written about the origins of an invisibility cloak. It appears throughout the series.
Rowling has also written more books. They include "The Tales of Beedle the Bard." It is a children's book. It was referenced in the last "Harry Potter" book.
Until recently, the Pottermore site also had a game. It took readers through the books chapter-by-chapter. It had riddles and other discoveries along the way. That game had clips from the "Harry Potter" movies. The new e-books do not.
The new editions offer full-color illustrations and animation instead. They were made by Pottermore artists.
In one animation, you see multiple letters fly in through the fireplace. It has the news of Harry's acceptance to Hogwarts wizardry school.
In another, an owl, a cat and the fog come to life on Platform 9 3/4. That is where a Hogwarts-bound train awaits. On the train, you see landscape moving by through a window.
In one scene of a feast, you can slide left and right to see the rest of a long table covered with food. It is not clear which illustrations are interactive. The idea is to get readers to explore.
There is no sound. Harry's friend, Ron, gets an angry audio letter from his mother. You see steam coming out of the letter. But, you do not hear her screaming. You do in the movie.
You can access Rowling's extra materials by tapping a quill icon. It is embedded in the text. You can learn how students arrived at Hogwarts before train service began. Some rode on broomsticks. But that was tough, with trunks and pets to bring along.
There are not many notes. You get more backstory at the Pottermore site. But you need the e-books for the full text.
The books also get new digital covers to show each book's theme. One example is "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." They use serpents for that book.
Artists also designed a new font. Each letter has a lightning bolt. It is in the shape of a scar on Harry's forehead. This font is named Fluffy. It is named for the three-headed dog in the first book. The font is used for the first letter of each chapter.
The books cost $10 each. Or it is $70 for the series. There is no discount if you already own standard electronic editions.
English editions are available in the U.S. And 31 other markets are also available right away. Editions in French, German and Spanish are coming Nov. 9.