Customer Reviews: Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)
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on July 19, 2009
I, like many other people, used to dislike Harry Potter. I had never actually read the books, but for some reason looked down on Potter fans, thinking them to be a bit off color. I was certain that the whole thing was highly overrated and that it had been blown way out of proportion (like Twilight).

I could not have been more wrong. I finally read the books at the continuous urging of a friend in my junior year of high school, and they have become my favorite books of all time. I have already reread all seven books and stood in line for hours to see the midnight premiere of the newest movie.

When is the last time you have read a book and instantly wanted to pick it up and read it again? It doesn't happen often.

I can't even begin to tell you how incredible these books are. Not only are they very entertaining, but they are filled with the important themes of good vs. evil, the power of love, and the value of good choices. The characters in this book have become part of my life.

If you are at all hesitant to read this series because of its classification as a 'fantasy' series, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. Yes, the book is about wizards and magic, but you would be shocked at how quickly the story pulls you in.

I can only ask you to PLEASE read the first book. If you like it, keep reading. If you don't, keep reading. The books get better as they progress, and I feel that the final chapters of the last book are some of the best reading I have ever done.

Also, do not judge these books from the movies. Everybody knows that the book is always better than the movie, and it's the same case here. The movies are great, but you need to read the books to fully appreciate what's happening and become a true Potter fan.

--------- UPDATE - JANUARY 31, 2015 ---------

Harry Potter is still awesome.
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on October 24, 2007
I totally expected the "chest" to be made out of cardboard. I expected it to not be an expensive piece of artwork. I expected to get 7 books, some related stickers and a case to put them in.

I got exactly what I expected. And I couldn't be happier.

Applying for the amazon visa (and getting $30 off of this purchase) made this buy an excellent one!
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on October 19, 2007
I agree with everyone who has written a review saying that this boxed set was VERY misleading in presentation. This is a given. The publishers should have made a stronger cardboard box, included felt in the lining of the box, and should have downright made the box out of wood or leather. This incredible seven book series deserves the highest quality of workmanship and we, as the loyal fans, deserve the best offer and the finest quality of product. We deserve the publisher's respect, as well. They should be ashamed of themselves.

If you are buying this set because you already have the books and want to get newer versions of them and are focusing moreso on the collector's box to house all of the books and keep them pristine, I recommend that you DO NOT buy this particular set. It is in no way up to standard and the box is very misleading as a "collector's" item.

However, if you are like me and this is your first set of these books and want a fabulous deal on all seven of the hardcover books, which averages out to $17.00 a book, then you might want to think twice.

Here is what I am doing with the cardboard box that they give you. I took out the inner cardboard box that the books are already placed in and I am housing the books inside of there on my bookshelf. The main portion of the box (or trunk) I am using to house all of my Harry Potter DVDs and any other collectables I might have so that they are all kept together in one place. The stickers that they give you can be used on all four corners to cover the gaps of the cardboard that they didn't do themselves. You could put all four house stickers on each corner side.

So, if you want this set solely as a collector's item, don't get it. Wait for another version to come out. If you are mainly focusing on the great deal on the hardcover books and not the box, you might want to go ahead with this offer.
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on November 22, 2006
When these books were "translated" into American English, the Briticisms were edited out. If you go searching for the original English versions (the ones printed by Bloomsbury, where "Sorcerer's Stone," is called "Philosopher's Stone"), you'll get the original version of the text. For example, in chapter 1 of the first book, in the UK version Dudley's new favorite word is "Shan't," whereas in the US version it is "Won't." The differences seem to be relatively minor, from what I've read so far.

But the physical BOOKS are very different in the UK version. They are much smaller, and lighter. Looking at the front cover, the Bloomsbury (UK) books are a full 1 inch narrower, and 1.25 inches shorter. This cuts down the volume of paper (weight) significantly. They feel nice to hold in your hand. The margins are narrower, and there isn't as much wasted space between lines as in the US versions. The text is still a comfortable size for reading -- it's not squished. The paper has more texture. I'm not sure how the acid content compares, I wish I knew. Looks to be good paper, and the cover page said it is all recyclable and made from sustainable forests.

US hardbacks these days almost always have cloth only at the spine, and then the rest of the cover is wrapped with paper. That means that when you take the slip-cover off, the book is no longer aesthetically pleasing. With the Bloomsbury (UK) books, the whole cover is a cloth finish -- I believe it is a tough paper, pretending to be cloth. But again, it has a very nice "feel." When you take the slip cover off to read, the book feels friendly and good in your hand. The title on the spine is printed in gold, embossed in. Aesthetically much nicer than the US versions.

Best of all, even Order of the Phoenix, the largest of the books, is still at a size/weight that you CAN hold in your hand and read. Heavy, but possible. With the US versions you have to rest the larger books on your lap or a table, because they are too big to hold for long periods. Even the smaller US books are uncomfortable to hold up in your hand.

The weight of the US hardback versions of Sorcerer's Stone and Order of the Phoenix combined ROUGHLY equals the weight of the first FOUR volumes of the UK set, WITH box included. (This is not by using a scale, just by waving them in my hands, but it's a fair approximation anyway.)

What you lose by getting the UK version is the wonderful art. There is no interior art in the Bloomsbury books, either in the children's version (from what I've been told) or the adult version.

I bought the Bloomsbury "adult" cover version -- they're all black slip-covers, with photographic images, and the inside covers are black. ISBN: 0747581541 All my remarks refer to this set.

There is also a Bloomsbury "kid's" cover version, ISBN: 0747581533 From what I understand, these are the same size as the adult covers. (I asked a friend in England to compare them for me in a shop, and she said they were the same size.) They do have brighter covers, and art on the covers, but the British illustrator is not, in my opinion, anywhere near as good as Mary GrandPre, who did the art for the US editions. That's why I chose the adult covers when I bought my Bloomsbury set.
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on November 29, 2015
Honestly, this is one of the most beautiful book collections I've ever purchased. The combination of red and gold in the box is amazing. And it is a very sturdy box. The books are awesomely detailed. I recommend this collection for every Harry Potter fan out there.
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on October 2, 2005
Whether you are young or old and you haven't yet read any of J.K. Rowling's wonderful series of books about a young wizard named Harry Potter, then this set of the first six books would be a wonderful way to begin your own journey.

Harry Potter's story begins with the 1997 book "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". At age 11, he has been taken care of from the time that he was only one year old by his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, who have a child of their own named Dudley. They have taken care of Harry because his own parents, James and Lily Potter (Lily was Petunia's sister) were killed by the evil wizard Lord Voldemort. The Dursleys want nothing to do with magic, and since Harry may be a wizard, they have not treated him very well. However, just before Harry's 11th birthday, he received a letter from the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft; but the Dursleys won't let him read the letter. More & more letters from Hogwarts arrive until out of desperation, the Dursleys attempt to run away with Harry; but they are easily found and on Harry's birthday, a huge man by the name of Hagrid arrives to personally deliver Harry's invitation from Hogwarts to study magic. It is only then that Harry finds out that he's a wizard and that the Dursleys had lied to him about how his parents died. Harry leaves with Hagrid and begins his first year at Hogwarts, where he makes his first true friends: Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. It's an exciting story as Harry learns to play quidditch, learns potions with the unpleasant Professor Snape and becomes entangled in some secret affairs at the school. He may even have an encounter with "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named".

In 1999, Harry's story continued with "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". At age 12, Harry has been treated slightly better by the Dursleys over his summer holiday, but things begin to turn sour when an elf named Dobby suddenly appears in Harry's bedroom to give him a message: that he should not return to Hogwarts this year. Not accepting the warning, Dobby makes mischief while the Dursleys are entertaining. Uncle Vernon puts bars on Harry's bedroom window and refuses to let him return to Hogwarts, but a flying car carrying Ron Weasley and his brothers Fred and George arrive and rescue Harry. Harry's does finally get to Hogwarts, but students begin to be attacked by an unknown force and Harry starts to hear strange voices. That's when they learn about a legendary part of the castle known only as "the chamber of secrets", in which a horrible monster is said to dwell. Will Hogwarts get shut down, or can Harry and his friends figure out where the chamber is? Look out for Professor Gilderoy Lockhart and Moaning Myrtle.

Also in 1999, Harry's adventures continued with the release of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban". At age 13, after Harry accidentally causes one of his other unpleasant muggle aunts to inflate like a balloon, he runs away from the Dursleys to wait out the end of his summer holidays elsewhere. Harry meets the Minister of Magic himself, Cornelius Fudge, but he doesn't' get in trouble for inflating his aunt. Instead, there is something far more ominous: Sirius Black, a very dangerous prisoner and convicted murderer, has escaped from Azkaban prison. Everyone at Hogwarts must be on guard, especially with the dreaded dementors on the prowl looking for Sirius. While Ron & Harry can't understand how Hermione is getting to all of her classes (some classes at the same time), Sirius Black is looking for Harry. When Harry finds out who Sirius Black is, he goes ballistic; but things may not always be as they appear.

In 2000, at 14, Harry begins his fourth year at Hogwarts in the book "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire". This is an unusual year at Hogwarts: instead of the usual quidditch matches between the four houses, an international Tri-Wizarding Tournament is to be held. Limited to only upper-class students, everyone is shocked when Harry is named to be one of its contestants. The Tri-Wizarding Tournament is somewhat dangerous to its participants, but Hermione finds herself in an affair with a world-renowned quidditch player who is representing his school in the Tournament. In the meantime, Harry starts to have his first teenaged romance with a girl named Cho Chang, but his life is complicated when he begins to experience strange visions of snakes and "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named". What is "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" doing? Harry will no doubt be caught in the thick of it and it may interfere with the Tournament!

In 2003, at 15, Harry's adventures continue in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". After the events that conclude the previous book, Harry saves himself and his cousin Dudley from two dementors near the Dursleys home. In trouble for having used magic as an underage wizard, Harry is brought before a court at the Ministry of Magic. Thanks to Professor Dumbledore, Harry's attendance at Hogwarts is saved, but the Ministry of Magic thinks Harry is a liar. To keep a lid on Harry & Dumbledore, the Ministry makes the lives of Hogwarts' staff and students (especially Harry) miserable with the arrival of Professor Dolores Umbridge direct from the Ministry. Not only does she personally make Harry's life miserable, Harry has to take extra lessons from Professor Snape! However, something that Lord Voldemort desperately wants takes his band of Death Eaters and their battle with the Order to the secret halls of the Ministry itself resulting in a terrible price for Harry.

In 2005, at 16, Harry begins his sixth year at Hogwarts in the long-awaited book "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince". After surviving Professor Umbridge and the terrible events of the fifth book, the reputations of Professor Dumbledore and Harry have been restored as the Ministry of Magic has been forced to deal with the increasing number of attacks around England from the Death Eaters. In fact, Cornelius Fudge has been replaced by the more capable Rufus Scrimgeour as the new Minister of Magic. Professor Dumbledore himself arrives at the Dursley's home to take Harry and has a very interesting discussion with them. He also tells Harry that he will be giving Harry private lessons during his sixth year. These lessons focus on teaching Harry about Voldemort's life story, as best as Professor Dumbledore can remember. While Harry, Ron and Hermione have more homework than ever, Voldemort's war rages and a deadly plot is hatched that involves Draco Malfoy and Professor Snape resulting in Harry being faced with one of the most difficult experiences of his life. Decisions are then made that will have far reaching implications for J.K. Rowling's seventh and final (yet unnamed) book in the Harry Potter series.

Overall, I rate J.K. Rowling's first six Harry Potter books with a resounding 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend them. You too will then know what Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin are; as well as some of the secrets about Hogwarts and its magical world. You might even come across a hippogryph named Buckbeak, a spider named Aragog, a werewolf and a broad range of engaging characters. I very much look forward to reading the seventh and final book.
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on April 26, 2008
First off, I understand why people are pissed off about this. The box does look like crap. But step back a second and do some math people. You're acting like you got ripped off. Amazon is offering this set for 122 dollars. That averages to 17.43 a book. Now, considering the cheapest I found the actual books was 16.99 a book (I'm sure amazon may have them a bit cheaper now--this was when they were first released mind you), it's not like you're paying anything extra. Thats 3.08 extra dollars above buying the books separately. I think a bit of cardboard and a book of stickers certainly makes up for that. Did you actually EXPECT to get a finely crafted solid wood box for 3.08???? Seriously, people. Think just a little bit before you buy and complain. I understand that the pictures may have been misleading, but so are the pictures on the side of burger king. Don't be mad because you were too lazy to go out and LOOK at a 122 dollar investment before you decided to purchase. Don't be mad because you just ASSUMED you were getting something really special for a couple extra bucks. Give it time, I'm sure they'll come up with a box thats all wood, with brass handles and one of those massive padlocks where each set has its own unique key, and secret compartments that only open upon the voice code "alohamora" and what not.

But it's gonna be a little more than 122 freakin' dollars.
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VINE VOICEon October 20, 2007
There's no question that the contents of the books inside this so-called chest are of the highest order. The entire Harry Potter epic was ingenious, brilliant, engaging, and encouraged hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of young readers to read when they might have rather played with their Xbox.

But this is about the packaging, and the packaging is just horrid.

I wasn't expecting something that was as heavy and substantial as, say, a pirate's chest, but I certainly was hoping that the box was more sturdy than a few flaps of cardboard rather cheaply assembled, and easily DISassembled.

I bought this so that I would have a full set of unread hardcovers with the original artwork, for the sake of posterity. In one of the worst marketing decisions I've seen regarding the Harry Potter series, the publishers thought it would be a good idea to include the extras (decals and whatnot - things I'm not interested in) shrink wrapped with the books. To get at them, you have to tear the shrink wrap, and thus compromise the books over time (a long period of time, and admittedly not much would be compromised).

Also, the clasp on the box was cheap plastic. Horrible. I almost broke it when undoing it. Is a metal clasp too much to ask for? Apparently it is.

I'm not completely dissatisfied with the purchase, because the books are phenomenal. I would have purchased a compilation of all seven books at some point, but I wish I had waited until they offered such a product without the sadly and unfortunately shoddy "chest". When I bought this product, I absolutely, 100% was buying the packaging, and the packaging was dismal.
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on August 1, 2006
I'm not going to address the quality of the Harry Potter series. After all, if you weren't interested in the plots and storylines, you wouldn't be considering this item. What I will address is the fact that this collection is, hands down, the best value on the first six books of the series you will find, period! (Price at time of writing was $100) I'm a member of several book associations, and even they cannot match it. The books themselves are hardback, with excellent quality paper and high production value. The jackets all show the colorful illustrations of Mary Grandpré, and have raised lettering. The bindings themselves are library quality, and durable, with metallic lettering on the spine. It was a must have for my hardback Fantasy library and collection and, though most of my books for it have been obtained via a SFBC membership, Amazon definitely provided the best value on this one!
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on July 4, 2016
The product came damaged, it is clear the set is a knock off due to i have four covers that say the book is prisoner of Azkaban then open the book and it is a totally different book. Even the dust covers are different than the hard cover. The story inside seems correct but this was a waste of my money!
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