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Friday, August 1, 2008

Another offering from J K Rowling

In an hour of whimsy, the mega-bestselling children's chapter-book writer picked up a pen and wrote The Tales of Beedle the Bard by hand. One hundred and fifty-seven pages long, and illustrated by the author, it is made up of five fairy stories, and is supposed to be a book mentioned in Deathly Hallows. J K Rowling made seven copies, one embellished with semi-precious stones and bound in morocco, which was bought at auction late last year by, for $4 million. And that was supposed to be that.

Now, J K Rowling has relented, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard will be issued in a trade edition on December 4, with the addition of "notes by Professor Albus Dumbledore, which appear by generous permission of the Hogwarts Headmasters' Archive."

Amazon will produce up to 100,000 facsimile "collector's editions" of the handwritten book (at $100/50 pounds each) and Scholastic and Bloomsbury will print and distribute trade editions. The beneficiary will be the Children's High Level Group, a charity co-founded by Rowling to help children suffering in institutions all over Europe. (CHLG is technically the publisher.)

According to the press release, the charitable group will receive all "net proceeds," estimated to be about $8 million, but in a quote from Rowling, she says the charity will receive the "royalties." (Note that Amazon's edition alone would gross $10 million....).

Rowling says in the announcement: "There was understandable disappointment among Harry Potter fans when only one copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard was offered to the public last December. I am therefore delighted to announce that, thanks to the generous support of Bloomsbury, Scholastic and Amazon (who bought the handwritten copy at auction) - and with the blessing of the wonderful people who own the other six original books - The Tales of Beedle the Bard will now be widely available to all Harry Potter fans."

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