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Well, it seems that Amazon.com was the winner of the auctioned copy of J.K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard. For those who don't know and might care, the book is one of only seven hand-written and hand-bound copies featuring five fairy tales which are referenced in Rowling's final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Six of the seven copies were given as beautiful, personal gifts to cherished friends who helped and supported her throughout her years of writing the Potter stories. The seventh was put up for auction, with the proceeds going to Rowling's charity, The Children's Voice. The auction earned nearly four million dollars for the organization.

Read all about it here: The Fairy Tales of J.K. Rowling.

Based on the pictures Amazon has posted showing the interior of the copy they bought, the volume is gorgeous and lovingly crafted. When I first read what she'd done, I was struck by the elegant simplicity of the idea (and duly impressed with the amount of effort required to bring such an idea to fruition).

(Hey, you think anybody would go for a hand-typed, printed-at-the-push-of-a-button version of "The Tellarite Story"? If so, I could save a bundle on last-minute Christmas shopping.)

Now, I've not read any of the Harry Potter books (fantasy, wizardry, etc. just really aren't my thing), but I've been following this story off and on since I first heard about it. The most incredible thing about is the uproar from the HP fan community, who feel slighted because the book of fairy tales -- which, as I understand it, are absolutely non-essential with regards to reading and enjoying the HP books -- is not being made available to the public. The reactions, such as those you can read if you follow the link to Amazon and check out the discussions at the bottom of the page, are both hilarious and more than a little pathetic.

Were I a reader and fan of the HP books, I might sympathize with the notion of feeling left out. Were a book or similar product relating to one of my favorite series made available by the author in such a limited manner, I might feel a bit stung at first, even though I'd like to think that logic and reason eventually would win out over emotion. On the other hand, and as a writer who feels it's my decision and not the readers' about what I write and how or even if I choose to distribute what I write-- tie-in work notwithstanding, of course....editors give me my marching orders there -- I have to side with Rowling. It was a wonderful gesture to her friends and it netted a nice chunk of change for her charity. While publishing the book for the general public would probably make a lot of fans happy, it also would cheapen Rowling's original intent. Of course, when I say all this, I'm voicing it from the standpoint of trying not to be cynical, and hoping her motivations for this were indeed honorable and that she and Amazon haven't entered into some arrangement whereby the book will suddenly appear in the coming months (you know, like an exclusive Kindle edition or something).

Here's hoping.



( 3 comments — Lay it on me )
Dec. 15th, 2007 02:18 am (UTC)
Like you, I think this is very cool as is.
And like you, I am concerned about possible corruption of what is essentially an intelligent and caring act by the demons of commerce.
Dec. 15th, 2007 06:59 pm (UTC)
Alternatives to Potter
Try Lemony Snicket or the awesome HIS DARK MATERIALS series. Especially the latter. You may surprise yourself.

geoff t.
Dec. 16th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
Re: Alternatives to Potter
Thanks for the recommendations. I'll keep those in mind for when my "To Be Read" stack gets down to a managable level. Say, 2025 or so :D
( 3 comments — Lay it on me )


Dayton Ward

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