With the anticipated release of "The Hobbit: Part 1" this December, any self-respecting "Lord of the Rings" fan will want to brush up on his or her knowledge of J.R.R. Tolkien's prequel ahead of time. For those who have read the book before, or for first timers, the new enhanced version offers the premier experience with this classic by adding audio and video extras within the story. Available from Amazon ($7.70) and Barnes & Noble ($8.90), this special edition celebrates the book's 75th anniversary. We went hands-on with the Barnes & Noble version for the Nook Tablet.
Right from the beginning you know you're in a different type of e-book. This enhanced edition contains a short introduction by Christopher Tolkien, who is the third and youngest son of the author, best known as the editor of much of his father's posthumously published work. Other enhancements throughout the book include a readings by the author and all of Tolkien’s own drawings and full-color illustrations, including the rare “Mirkwood” piece.
We were blown away to hear J.R.R. Tolkien actually sing 'Chips the glasses and crack the plates' in Chapter 1. To hear the creator of the Elvish language singing a song from the text really gives the reader a feel for his creative vision. You can hear each audio enhancement as you read the book, or go to the Images, Illustrations And Audio tab in the Table of Contents to hear several in a row.
Within the Images, Illustrations And Audio tab, readers can see maps, images and artwork, in addition to the aforementioned audio clips. We appreciate all this extra content clustered in one place, but it seems as though this content is already in the book, and we would've liked to see additional content not in the original text.
We like that Nook makes it extremely easy to see your progress: In addition to telling you what page you're on, it also tells you how many pages you have left in the current chapter. Plus, readers can make notes and highlight certain parts of the text, as well as bookmark pages that they want to come back to.
All in all, although the enhanced e-book isn't bursting with special features and additions to the original text, "The Hobbit: Enhanced Edition" is a cool way to brush up on your storyline before the flick and get an added bonus of extras such as audio and illustrations.