Apple is joining forces with J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore to bring fans a new immersive experience of all seven books in the Harry Potter series.
New enhanced editions, available exclusively through the iBooks store for the first time, offer the reader more than 200 illustrations, animations, interactive images and annotations from J.K. Rowling herself. The original digital versions were previously only available through the Pottermore Shop.
“I’m thrilled to see the Harry Potter books so beautifully realized on iBooks for the digital world; the artwork and animations in these enhanced editions bring the stories alive in a delightful new way,” Rowling said.
The enhancements are subtle, but offer an expanded imagination to certain scenes. For example, Aunt Marge will float on the page after Harry blows her up like a balloon, and readers can select which winged key to use while on the hunt for the Sorcerer’s stone with Harry, Ron and Hermione. An interactive Quidditch match will make it harder to decide what’s more fun: trying to catch the golden snitch or simply turning the page. And Molly Weasley’s infamous Howler explodes out of the text during breakfast in the Great Hall.
The sporadically placed extras don’t inhibit the reading process but instead make it more of an experience. And the annotations don’t make you feel like J.K. Rowling is reading over your shoulder either, but instead that she’s slipped notes on parchment in between the pages.
The illustrations come from the Pottermore vault and were reimagined and reformatted for these editions to be read on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac. You can also mirror your device with your Apple TV for a bigger experience. There are some noises with the animation, but they’re so sparse that when they do appear, it’s a pleasant, albeit scary, surprise—and in some cases even a bit of a precursor to the plot. (Ahem, Scabbers.)
There are new, modern covers themed to each book—like snakeskin for Chamber of Secrets and broken mirror glass for Deathly Hallows— and original fonts, including one called Fluffy that incorporates a lightning bolt and is used only for the first letter of each chapter.
Each book is priced at $9.99 and are now available for purchase in English in 32 countries. Pre-orders begin Thursday for the enhanced editions in French, German and Spanish, which will be available on Nov. 9 in 18 additional countries.