New Book from Ms. Rowling: >$62,000 per copy for ‘Tales of Beedle the Bard’

Here’s hoping she releases a cheap edition (sans precious stones) post-auction for us groundlings!

Rowling Completes Post-Harry Potter Book

Thursday, November 1, 2007 5:43 AM EDT
The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — J.K. Rowling has completed her first post-Harry Potter book, a collection of wizarding fairytales titled “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.”

Rowling said Thursday that only seven copies of the book are being printed. One will be auctioned next month to raise money for a children’s charity, while the others have been given away as gifts.

The collection of five stories has been handwritten and illustrated by Rowling.

“The Tales of Beedle the Bard” is mentioned in the final Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” as a gift left by headmaster Albus Dumbledore to Harry’s friend Hermione, and provides clues that help destroy evil Lord Voldemort.

“‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ is really a distillation of the themes found in the Harry Potter books, and writing it has been the most wonderful way to say goodbye to a world I have loved and lived in for 17 years,” Rowling said.

The volume, bound in brown morocco leather and mounted with silver and semiprecious stones, will be auctioned at Sotheby’s on Dec. 13 with a starting price of $62,000. Proceeds will go to The Children’s Voice, a charity that helps vulnerable children across Europe.

“Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and final installment in Harry’s adventures, was published in July. The seven books have sold nearly 400 million copies and have been translated into 64 languages.

This collection must be a great one if Ms. Rowling has priced it at over $12,000 per story. I look forward to reading a translation of the version sure to appear on the Internet in Mandarin or Tagalog the week after publication.


  1. As for a cheap edition, there is a 48-page ‘Tales of Beedle the Bard’ Commemorative Catalogue offered by Sotheby’s for the much more reasonable price of $16.

    Here’s the description: A special commemorative catalogue for this unique item is being produced and will be available to purchase from Sotheby’s. The 48 page commemorative catalogue contains a message from the author about the creative inception of ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ plus images from the manuscript itself.

    Also included is information about The Children’s Voice charity, images showing the making of the manuscript and auction information for prospective buyers. Profits from the sale of the catalogue will be donated to The Children’s Voice.

    Read more information here.

  2. I recall Rowling stating some months ago that she was working on a project for younger children.

    I think this is probably it.

  3. In the similiar article I read, they added at the end that Jo is suing Lexicon Steve to stop publication of his upciming encyclopledia based on his site, The Harry Potter Lexicon. I think that’s awful. Unless there is going to be nothing in her book that is not in his, she should leave him alone. His site saved her disorganized butt many a time. She’s admitted using it to quickly check facts and given it awards. She should leave Steve alone. Supposedly she is worried about the money the charity would lose, but she could give them that herself and never even miss it. Why didn’t she also offer this book up for mass sale for charity, as well as this one special copy, if that’s what she cared about? Everything she is doing makes her look greedy and petty in my opinion.

  4. I deliberately deleted the addendum to this article about the law suit because I don’t think it is something we can discuss here in good conscience. The little I know of the matter is what I have learned from Fandom friends and from three news reports. The only thing I am sure of is that we are once again only getting half-truths, fabrications, and distortions from the Daily Prophet about the Lexicon, Steve Vander Ark, and Ms. Rowling. There is no sense discussing this matter because it is entirely speculative, and, unlike the speculation about what the words “Deathly Hallows” might mean that we all engaged in earlier this year (all of us being much entertained and entirely wrong), guessing who is in the right and who is wrong here is anything but edifying and ennobling. These are real people and we cannot know, unless they lose their minds and post about the suit here, at the Lexicon, or at Ms. Rowling’s site, what is really happening.

    Thank you in advance for not posting on this subject because the moderator will not give these posts a “pass.”

  5. Jayne1955, all the profits from the Tales of the Beedle the Bard Commemorative Catalogue ($16 each, on sale to the public) are being donated to The Children’s Voice charity. Just FYI.

  6. JohnABaptist says

    I feel your decision about the “Case-that-may-not-be-posted” is exceedingly wise. After 40 years in the software business, I can assure anyone who asks that Intellectual Property law requires certain reactions to certain circumstances in order to protect copyright even where no real desire to object or argue otherwise exists.

    Further, the treatment of website content currently exists in a state of dynamic flux, but the treatment of printed materials has long since been reduced to action–reaction scenarios that MUST be played out regardless of the likes or dislikes of the individuals involved. This is especially true when Corporations and Corporate Attorneys become involved.

    Best to just let it rest.

  7. Who got the gift copies of the books?

    I’m guessing the three leads from the movies. the sister, the literary agent, and Arthur Levine. the wizard at Scholastic who conjured Pottermania.

  8. Arabella Figg says

    Please, let’s not enter into a “how many times and ways can we now find fault with Rowling” bender. It doesn’t become us.

    I’m guessing her children get copies of the book. What a precious gift to receive. How fascinating to read it. How depressing to shut it into a safety-deposit box just after reading it, because keeping it pristine will fund one’s old age.

    Madame LaScrawny predicts we’ll see a widespread plain version of the book in the near future. She hopes there’s a cat in it…

  9. Regarding both Beedle the Bard AND the case that may not be posted, I put forth the following other books for your consideration, while you are waiting a chance to get a peek at Rowling’s book, since none of them got sued:

    The Unofficial Harry Potter Encyclopedia: Harry Potter A-Z by Kristina Benson

    The Ultimate Unofficial Harry Potter Trivia Book by Daniel Lawerence

    The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the World of Harry Potter by Tere Stouffer

    The Pottersaurus: 1,500 Words Harry Potter Readers Need to Know by Eric D Randall

    An Unofficial Muggle’s Guide to the Wizarding World: Exploring the Harry Potter Universe by Fionna Boyle.

  10. There’s also a Mugglenet encyclopedia pending. Amazon is taking pre-orders.

  11. I’ve accessed and enjoyed the *Quiddich* game very much! I hate to admit, though, that I’m not 100% all of the time…and I’ve definately learned some British terms along the way. I have not purchased the book…yet.

    A little bit of intercultural learning, if you will, that enhances the joy of reading HP…and when you discover the reason behind Eric D. Randall’s efforts to compile the 1500 wordlist (he is the father of an HP fan…sound familiar, John?), then acquiring the book makes even more sense.

    Just thought you would like to know!

  12. I have a feeling she gave the 6 copies to some of the people she thanked in her Acknowledgement when the door opened on her website: Arthur Levine, Barry Cunningham, Christopher Little, Emma Matthewson, Nigel Newton… probably her sister or one of her other editors?

    Also, in the interview with BBC, she says she’ll never publish the book. 🙁 I so want to read “Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump” 😉

  13. Sotheby’s commemorative catalogues aren’t the same as the book, unfortunately, for those who were holding out hope. My grandfather’s collection was auctioned at Sotheby’s NY, and the catalogue is basically good quality photos, descriptions, etc. For $16, you’d get a peek in at a few pages, and a lot of stuff about JRK, the manuscript itself, and that’s it, unfortunately. The pages shown likely wouldn’t be complete stories, either.. like an amuse bouche without any meal to follow.

    I think it’d be sweet if she were to publish Tales of Beedle the Bard.


  14. Again, she is quoted in the BBC article as saying that the stories will not be published.


  15. I personally hope JKR gave each of her children a copy first.

    On the other hand, maybe she will *vault* the volume for a few years and then issue a version in commercial type, including her illustrations. The book could be beautifully bound without the silver and gemstones and still be a work of art and command a decent price. Even if she doesn’t need the money herself, she has to realize the potential of this work for raising thousands of dollars for her preferred charities.

    Not to read into JKR’s intentions overmuch, but does anyone else feel as if we (the general populace of Potterdom) have been *escorted out of the castle* as if our interest and loyalties no longer matter? At least we have one of the stories out of DH.

  16. pj says: “…Not to read into JKR’s intentions overmuch, but does anyone else feel as if we (the general populace of Potterdom) have been *escorted out of the castle* as if our interest and loyalties no longer matter? At least we have one of the stories…”

    I disagree completely. I do not think for a moment that I have acquired any rights or entitlements in how JKR conducts her life just because I paid a few quid for some books that she wrote. I got more than my monies worth of pleasure from those books. For me at least that is how it is supposed to work. Full stop end of story.

  17. SeaJay,

    Thanks for your reply. I was thinking out loud when I posted earlier. For certain, the buying public does not have control, rights or entitlements over an author’s life. And I agree with you…purchasing the books has been money well spent for the reading pleasure I will revisit many times over in years to come. This doesn’t keep me from wondering why Rowling would miss an opportunity in amassing more funds for her charity with a commercial publication of “Tales of Beedle the Bard.” Pottermania shows no signs of waning yet.

    Global fame appears to bring some level of expectation from the masses; therefore, I doubt Rowling will ever be able to retreat into obscurity and gift others with HP-related material without speculation/hope of future publication as long as her PR people continue to issue press releases.

  18. Thank you pj for your considered reply and you raise another interesting point. JKR could simply have secretly produced 6 special gifts rather than go on to create a seventh (just cannot help herself with sevens?).

    Once a copy exists to be auctionned then there is good reason to generate a lot of publicity:
    1) to attract as many bidders as possible and
    2) to publicise the charity and the work that it does.

    Yes it is true that more money would be raised by publishing a version we all could buy… as I’ve said JKR’s decisions are none of my business.

    However that route would involve cutting down yet more trees and burning fossil fuels to print and distribute the books etc etc. and it all becomes a massive palarva.

    Maybe even this could be resolved by charging a small sum to download the stories from the internet (oh but then free versions would be available in minutes so maybe not).

    I hope that eventually these short tales will become available to download for free just as a bit of fun, meanwhile I will not be loosing any sleep.

  19. Let’s be frank. If Ms. Rowling wanted to make real money at this auction for charity, she would be auctioning the publishing rites to the little book along with the copy. As it is, it seems the auction was an afterthought to the gift idea.

  20. says

    SeaJay says:

    However that route would involve cutting down yet more trees and burning fossil fuels to print and distribute the books etc etc. and it all becomes a massive palarva.

    You say that as if it were a bad thing! Cutting down trees (for paper) and burning fossil fuels (for energy) seem a reasonable thing to do at this point in time.
    There is little doubt that the Tales will one day be available to the general public. Alas, it may be well after I leave this mortal coil. But . . . the decision doesn’t belong to me, but to Ms. Rowling. I hope she can be persuaded otherwise, but . . . it’s not my call.

  21. Maybe she’ll publish the Tales for Comic Relief charity like she did the small books Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them and Quidditch through the Ages.

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