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Hogwarts comes to life
November 8, 2015, 5:22 pm

You do not need to be a wizard to see the marvelous Harry potter world come to life.

The seven books have got a makeover with more than 200 new illustrations in enhanced e-books made for Apple devices. More than half of the illustrations are animated. They include such touches as a golden snitch from Quidditch match flying away as you tap it on the screen.

The editions were released on 8 October and are limited to Apple's iBooks Store, requiring 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 obtained through Rowling's famous 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.

While the illustrations are new and exclusive to the enhanced editions, Rowling's comments are not necessarily so. Rowling has been regularly posting new essays on Pottermore. She has traced Harry's roots back to a 12th-century wizard and has written about the origins of an invisibility cloak that appears throughout the series.

You can access Rowling's supplemental materials by tapping a quill icon embedded in the text. For instance, you can learn how the students arrived at Hogwarts before train service began: Some rode on broomsticks, but that was tough with trunks and pets to bring along.

The books also get new digital covers to reflect each book's theme. For instance, serpents for the second book. Artists have also designed a new font with each letter incorporating a lightning bolt, the shape of a scar on Harry's forehead. This font, named Fluffy, for a three-headed dog in the first book, is used for the opening letter of each chapter.

In one animation, you can see multiple letters fly in through the fireplace with 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 the scene of a feast, you can slide left and right to see the rest of a long table covered with food. It is not obvious which illustrations are interactive. The idea is to get readers to explore.

The books cost $10 each, or $70 for the series. There is no discount if you already own the standard electronic editions. English editions are available, while editions in  French, German and Spanish came out on 9 November.


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