Getting a Little Pottermore Back: Enhanced iBooks

Last Thursday, Pottermore Limited released the Harry Potter Enhanced iBooks series, not even one month since the new Pottermore was released, and little more than a week since the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated Edition, with illustrations by Jim Kay, was released. It’s been eight years since the last Harry Potter book was published, and now the re-releases are already happening. Who knows how long it will be until the movies are remade.

That being said, I was excited to get my hands on the Sorcerer’s Stone Enhanced iBook, seeing from a sample that it included the Pottermore artwork, which I love. I was excited to get what I loved about the old Pottermore back.

Perhaps I was expecting too much. Perhaps I was expecting every moment to be included, and for every illustration to be exactly as it was on the original complete with the ability to zoom in and out, complete with sound effects and music, complete with every animation in full screen mode. As I soon discovered, I did expect too much.

Most illustrations have a border almost like torn parchment, but at least those with a border still feature animations. A few illustrations can be made full-screen, but those are still images only. No sound. No music. No zooming in or out.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that most (if not all—I haven’t gone through every page and checked whether they are all there) of the illustrations are featured in the new enhanced iBooks… It’s just that it seems like a bit of the magic is gone from them. I am used to being able to interacting with these illustrations, not sit back idly and watch them animate on their own.

I would gladly pay to have the old Pottermore back—not necessarily for J.K. Rowling’s articles, which still exist in, I think, a better form on the new Pottermore. It makes sense to have those articles separate from the linear format, so that they are discoverable and readable by everyone, no matter which book they’re currently reading, no matter which device they’re currently using. I simply want the moments back as they were on the old Pottermore: complete with the interactivity, complete with the quizzes (which are promised to make a return), complete with the same magic that I used to feel.

Actually, I should mention that a little of J.K. Rowling’s additional information also made it into the enhanced editions. Not the entire articles, but an extra paragraph here and there. Simply click on the red quill to read more whenever it is available.

Some users’ biggest complaints about the old Pottermore was the inability to access it on mobile devices. Why couldn’t Pottermore have simply released an app? I understand that mobile browsers are limited, but certainly an app wouldn’t have the same limitations? Certainly, it would cost money to create such an app, and I suppose it’s bad publicity to charge for such an app, when the desktop equivalent is free. But it isn’t bad form, though, to charge $70 for iBooks? I guess not.

Eventually, I want to at least skim the Sorcerer’s Stone Enhanced iBook to see which, if any, of the moments are missing. How will I know? Well, I actually took screenshots of every moment and page on the old Pottermore website before it was replaced by the current, more mobile-friendly version. Actually, I’ve taken a few of my favorite illustrations and included them on the rotating header on my website. Ironically, I’m “boxing them in”, just as the iBooks have done, but so be it. I’ll add more to the rotating header as time goes on. For now, enjoy the select few that I have chosen from the first two books.

I have also finally updated the Pottermore Index. The links now actually go to their corresponding articles by J.K. Rowling on the new Pottermore. I did this, because really, that’s what the new Pottermore is severely lacking: an index that lists every article that JKR has written for the website, so that fans know that they haven’t missed one. Or twenty-seven.

Do you have similar complaints about the Enhanced iBooks? Share them in the comments!