Apps of the week: Magic for muggles

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Harry Potter fans can now be sorted into houses, make potions and duel with other wizards on J.K. Rowling’s new fan site, Pottermore. What’s more, new Hogwarts “students” can purchase the entire Harry Potter series on Kindle through Pottermore or Amazon.

Books can be purchased individually for $8 to $10 or in the entire set for 10 percent off. J.K. Rowling announced the arrival of e-books along with the fan site, which just recently became open to the public. She also included additional writing and background for the site, which allows users to dive deeper in many chapters of each book.

“I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new digital generation,” Rowling said in a press release by Bloomsbury.

Kindle owners can also read Harry Potter through the Kindle Lending Library, which allows users to borrow one book a month for free, including new and popular releases.

Steven Symes is a freelance author from Salt Lake City and said ebooks were the big downfall of Borders, which recently went out of business. Although he said ebooks are both a blessing and a curse for independent writers, he uses the Kindle app along with iCloud to house his reading library when he’s away from home.

“I think ebooks have a permanent place but they will never completely annihilate print books,” Symes said. “I have read studies that claim ebooks are increasing readership, and that is a positive thing.”

Whether you enjoy magic or muggle activities, these reading apps can help you explore many worlds:

Nook and iBooks: Like Kindle, these apps carry free classics for download as well as modern books and magazines.

Goodreads: This site and app gives users book and author recommendations from a network of friends. Members can write reviews, suggest books to others, display a reading list of books and create a wish list.

Adriana Rankin, an exercise science major from Cross Plains, Wisc., said she uses Goodreads to get suggestions for new books.

“It’s great being able to get recommendations about books from people with similar interests and the same standards,” Rankin said. “It’s turned out better than just going to the library and hoping the books I pick up will be clean as well as having good stories.”

Audiobooks: This free iPhone app allows users to listen to more than 4,000 classics. The Android version has more than 2,800 classics available for free listening. For those wanting more than the classics, Audible offers monthly subscriptions for audio books in all genres.

Erin Shepherd, a psychology major from Gainsville, Fla., said she likes print books better than ebooks, but has become accustomed to using apps like Audiobooks because of their convenience.

“I like them because of the variety of books they offer and their simplicity,” Shepherd said. “You can have a whole library in your pocket without carrying around a bunch of heavy books.”

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