The Harry Potter ebooks are HEEEEERRRREEE!!!
Book Reviews / March 27, 2012

What an absolutely wonderful surprise I had on reading my Twitter feed this morning (thanks @Elmblade43!) to find that the Harry Potter ebooks are now available for purchase through the Pottermore store.  This was unexpected to me as I'd not seen any prior announcements that the store was due to open; I'd expected it to be delayed until after the opening of the Pottermore site to the general public given how the original beta launch of the Pottermore site was launched. I had many misgivings about the Pottermore store given how poorly the beta site was handled.  However, from the moment I went to the store it was clear I was in much safer hands.  The first step in the process was to create a Pottermore shop account (not the same as your Pottermore account, meaning that non Beta Pottermore fans can still purchase the books.)  This was all pretty straightforward.  The rest of the purchase process was too; select the books (I opted for the bundle of all seven for a 10% discount) – and it has to be noted that they are very reasonably priced – $7.99 – $9.99. The next stage was the one which caused me…

Odds and Ends
Miscellaneous / October 1, 2011

I thought I would write a short entry today about a few thoughts that have occurred to me. First, Pottermore announced yesterday on its blog that it is extending the beta process for another month, new registrants will have to wait weeks or even months for their welcome emails granting them access to the site, and that the Pottermore store selling Harry Potter ebooks and audiobooks will not open until mid 2012.  None of this comes as a surprise to those of us in the beta program, who have borne witness to the numerous downtimes and the notorious Purple Screen of Death.  Indeed, it's probably the sensible – if only – decision the Pottermore site managers could make.  It is very disappointing though.  The site itself is fun and interesting when you actually get on, and of course, I was anxious to be able to add the Harry Potter ebooks to my collection.   Speaking of ebooks, I realised over the last couple of days just how much more enjoyable I find long form reading on my Kindle rather than my iPad, my iPhone or my iMac.  In all fairness, I should add that reading magazines is a delight on the iPad. The…

Pottermore – At Last!
Miscellaneous / September 12, 2011

Finally after 39 days, 21 hours and ten minutes, my Pottermore welcome email granting me access to the beta site finally arrived. As you can imagine, I was rather excited to receive this long awaited missive, and it was well timed as I am on holiday from work this week.  I logged on straight away and was immediately charmed by the beautiful artwork created for the site.  Much of it is interactive, so that in Chapter 1, for example, when you move your mouse over Professor McGonagall in her cat Animagus form her tail swishes.  The highlights of Book One on Pottermore have to be the choice of your pet avatar, Wand selection, and being Sorted into your Hogwarts House. When the time came to choose my pet avatar I knew I wanted a cat, being a cat lover.  I was torn between the tabby and the ginger, but the tabby didn't look like my Isis and the ginger had a similar look to Noah, so the ginger it was.   After purchasing my supplies at Diagon Alley, it was off to Ollivanders to be chosen by my wand.  After answering a few simple questions I ended up with a…

Pottermore – Slightly Bemused
Miscellaneous / August 16, 2011

So, this entry continues on my recent theme of Pottermore, JK Rowling’s latest website offering. Having worked many years on web projects myself, I’m rather bemused at how this project has been handled.  Honestly, when the early entry beta was announced did the Pottermore team not realise that several hundred million Harry Potter fans would be screaming at the gates, clamouring for IMMEDIATE access?  That means access now; not in October, not next week, now. Sometimes it seems as if the Pottermore team hasn’t quite realised that these beta testers are fans, not professional IT people.  Fans don’t care about balancing server loads, ensuring a good cross section of users across all languages or across regions.  They just want to access the new content from the brilliant mind of JK Rowling, to be chosen by a wand and to be Sorted into their Hogwarts House. The very low numbers (approximately 10,000 of the one million beta users) who have actually got to access the site since the beta started on the 31st of July appears to have left many people at worst angry and frustrated, at best apathetic about the new site.  In a fan’s perfect world, access would have…

Pottermore
Miscellaneous / August 5, 2011

I decided it was time I started blogging about my passion for fantasy literature and shared my views on some of the books I’ve been reading, movies I’ve seen and TV shows I’ve watched. Along with many Harry Potter fans, I’d been intrigued by J.K. Rowling’s announcement of the Pottermore website.  Promoted as an "online Harry Potter experience," few details were released.  Clearly though, it is a vehicle for Rowling to market the Harry Potter ebooks.  JKR shrewdly retained the ebook rights for herself.  Hey, I’m a Kindle and ebook lover, so that’s all good with me.  If, in addition I get to be Sorted into a Hogwarts House (am I the only person who’d be content to be Sorted into Hufflepuff?) and choose my wand, I’m sold.   Additionally, it appears JKR will be contributing a significant amount of new Harry Potter content via Pottermore.  She’s talked for some time about publishing a Harry Potter encyclopaedia.  It would appear that she has chosen to publish this online rather than in the traditional format.  More Potter content?  Bring it on, I say.   Anyway…. Pottermore is due to go live in October, but "a select few" – one million Harry…