Amazon Buys Extremely Rare J.K. Rowling Book

    December 14, 2007

J.K. Rowling created seven handwritten, leather-bound copies of a book called The Tales of Beedle the Bard.  Six were given to close friends, and the last was sold to for about $4 million.

The Tales of Beedle the BardThe book, in all its silver- and moonstone-covered beauty, was actually bought at auction, and the proceeds will go to The Children’s Voice charity.  So, although crazy amounts of money have been thrown around in the eBusiness industry, and we’ve never been afraid to make fun of bad decisions, it’s hard to call this one.

Unfortunately, it’s also impossible to call it a brilliant business move.  Amazon has put up numerous photos of the book if you’d like to “ooh” and “awe” at it.  There’s also a review of one of the stories within, and by Amazon’s reckoning, it was quite good.  That’s as close as any average reader will get to the book, though – pictures, reviews, and discussion threads are all Amazon plans to offer.

This has left a lot of people (see those discussion threads) with a sort of “what about the rest of us?” feeling.  Granted, Amazon’s showing more of The Tales of Beedle the Bard than a private collector could be expected to, and J.K. Rowling’s own restrictions are to fault for the lack of wide distribution, but, well . . . we want our fiction.

At the same time, Amazon wants its PR – that’s the only reason we can think of that might be behind the purchase of this book.  And, as the existence of this article proves, the company’s getting it.