The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Harry Potter fans (and miscellaneous book collectors) out there might want to smash open the piggy bank, with today’s announcement of the December 4 publication of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a companion volume to J.K. Rowling’s blockbuster series about a boy wizard. The mass market paperback (Amazon US and UK) is already #1 on Amazon.com, four months before release.

Much more pretty and desirable though is the limited edition hardcover (Amazon US and UK). At $100.00/£50.00 (respectively) it doesn’t come cheap, especially for a small page count book, but the packaging looks first class – and you can just see the kid’s faces lighting up on Xmas day when they open this up…

Tucked in its own case disguised as a wizarding textbook found in the Hogwarts library, the Collector’s Edition includes an exclusive reproduction of J.K. Rowling’s handwritten introduction, as well as 10 additional illustrations not found in the Standard Edition or the original. Opening the case reveals a velvet bag embroidered with J.K. Rowling’s signature, in which sits the piece de resistance: your very own copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, complete with metal skull, corners, and clasp; replica gemstones; and emerald ribbon.

Offering the trademark wit and imagination familiar to Rowling’s legions of readers–as well as Aesop’s wisdom and the occasional darkness of the Brothers Grimm–each of these five tales reveals a lesson befitting children and parents alike: the strength gained with a trusted friendship, the redemptive power of love, and the true magic that exists in the hearts of all of us. Rowling’s new introduction also comments on the personal lessons she has taken from the Tales, noting that the characters in Beedle’s collection “take their fates into their own hands, rather than taking a prolonged nap or waiting for someone to return a lost shoe,” and “that magic causes as much trouble as it cures.”

With 100,000 copies available, it’s hardly what most people would call “limited edition”, though relative to the sales of the Potter series I guess it is. And the price looks cheap compared to what Amazon paid for just one of the hand-written copies: £1,950,000.