If you love Harry Potter as much as I do, today’s news will be yet another opportunity to read the seven books all over again. For the first time, Apple is now selling the Harry Potter books directly in the iBooks Store. In addition to that, Apple has worked with J.K. Rowling’s team to produce enhanced editions — you can expect new animated illustrations and exclusive author notes, custom typefaces and drop caps.
As a reminder, the Harry Potter e-books were only available in the Pottermore Shop until today. You could buy the books for $8.99 each and then send your copy to your Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Nook, Kobo and more. Pottermore sells the Harry Potter e-books in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese. The English edition costs $8.99 per book.
With today’s new editions, the books are available as a direct purchase in the iBooks Store in English. Available in 32 countries, the new books cost $9.99 or the local equivalent. French, German and Spanish versions will be available on November 9.
Apple had to sell the books directly as these aren’t ePub files — these are iBooks Author files (IBA). This format is exclusive to the Apple platform and brings multiple advantages. In addition to text and illustration, publishers can embed animated content, audio and interactive widgets.
Announced in January 2012, very few publishers took advantage of the possibilities of this proprietary format. It’s hard to convince publishers that they should do a special edition just for the iBooks Store. The Harry Potter series is a great example of what’s possible and also a great way to make people try the iBooks app again.
I grew up with Harry Potter and the fourth volume was the first book I ever read in English. The text truly shines by itself, but it’s great to see that Pottermore is also taking advantage of the iPhone and iPad to add extra content.
This content might come straight from Pottermore.com as this website has been publishing exclusive content for years, but in-line content is always better. eBooks weigh between 90MB and 150MB, making it much heavier than a standard ebook but still pretty small compared to your favorite iPad game.
And it’s Harry Potter.