Apple today announced the launch of “Enhanced Editions” for George R. R. Martin’s series, “A Game of Thrones,” beginning with the author’s first title, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the novel’s release. Books Two through Five will follow in the months ahead, says Apple. These Enhanced Editions offer iBooks users an interactive experience, with the ability to access secondary material, including interactive character maps, definitions of the various houses referenced in the novel, annotations, glossaries, and more.
For example, one feature will let you pull up a map of the world, then tap on a character’s name in order to see their journey across plotted across the map. You can also view multiple journeys at the same time to compare characters’ whereabouts.
The glossary, meanwhile, will help you to better decipher the connections between the characters and house lineage, Apple explains, and this section will expand in the subsequent releases.
The book’s Appendix includes other fun features, like a section with all 92 house sigils, and more information about the symbolism, house seat, region and allegiances.
And as a bonus, readers who buy the new Enhanced Edition will also get a sneak peek at the upcoming Book Six in the series, “The Winds of Winter.”
“We’re now entering a new period in the history of publishing,” said author George R.R. Martin, in a statement. “The digital book gives readers the ability to experience all this rich secondary material that had not been possible before. These enhanced editions available only on iBooks include sigils and family trees and glossaries. Anything that confuses you, anything you want to know more about, it’s right there at your fingertips,” he added.
This is not the first time Apple has offered this digital, interactive format for a series of popular books. Last fall, Apple released Enhanced Editions for the “Harry Potter” series, which included exclusive animations and author notes. The move was meant to highlight the advantages of Apple’s iBooks platform, and its ability to enhance a novel with animated content, audio, and interactive widgets.
The new A Game of Thrones: Enhanced Edition is slightly cheaper than Harry Potter versions were at launch, at $8.99 versus Harry’s $9.99. (It’s now $8.99 as well.)
However, it looks like the new books’ pricing will creep up with the later releases. Apple says you can pre-order Books Two through Five for $11.99.