So the wait is over. After what seems like an endless build-up, the Harry Potter books have finally arrived via Pottermore‘s ebookstore. But was it worth the wait? And can a bunch of downloads ever replace the feeling of buying the seven (increasingly hefty) books?
There seems to be little point reviewing the books themselves, since they’ve already been picked over time and again. Suffice to say that they’re entertaining, well-written and imaginative, if a little over-hyped. But nothing could really live up to the hype surrounding the Potter franchise, and most visitors to the Pottermore shop – whether newbies to the Potter universe or long-standing fans – will likely have their preconceptions all sewn up by now.
So what about Pottermore’s ebookstore itself? Well, despite all the trappings, it’s still basically just a shop. A slick, well-designed shop, but a shop nonetheless. The prices aren’t bad and it’s good to have all the editions (including audio) collected together, although the covers are quite horrendous. Take a look at the cover for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, for example, and tell me honestly that you think it’s an improvement on the various previous covers.
It feels churlish to criticise Pottermore too much. It’s a shop, it sells things, so what is there left to say? The full Pottermore experience is set to launch soon, and perhaps that will add some more value to the whole experience. For now, it’s hard not to be a little disappointed about the fact that despite all the attention and care given to the store, it really is just a shop.