Rowling to publish wizarding fairytales for charity

Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:45am EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling announced on Thursday that she will publish a book of wizarding fairy tales in December and donate an expected $8 million in proceeds to her charity for vulnerable children.

"The Tales of Beedle the Bard," which will be published on December 4, is mentioned in the seventh -- and final -- Potter book as having been left to Harry's friend Hermione Granger by Professor Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of their school Hogwarts.

Rowling initially only produced seven copies of "The Tales," bound in brown Moroccan leather and decorated in silver and moonstones.

She gave six copies to people closely connected to the Potter books and auctioned off the seventh, which was bought in December by Inc, the Web retailer known for selling books, for about $4 million.

Bloomsbury Publishing and Scholastic will now publish editions with an introduction by Rowling, selling for $12.99, while Amazon will produce up to 100,000 collector's edition copies, which will aim to replicate the look and feel of the original book and sell for $100.

"The new edition will include the Tales themselves, translated from the original runes by Hermione Granger, and with illustrations by me, but also notes by Professor Albus Dumbledore, which appear by generous permission of the Hogwarts Headmasters' Archive," Rowling said in a statement.

She said the proceeds from the book would be donated to the Children's High Level Group, a charity she founded in 2005 to help the 1 million children across Europe still living in large residential institutions.

Of the five stories in the 157-page book, only one, "The Tale of the Three Brothers," is told in the Potter novels. It appears in the final Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

When it was published in July last year, the final Harry Potter book broke all sales records as the fastest selling book ever. The Harry Potter books have sold over 350 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 65 languages.

(Editing by Vicki Allen)

<p>British author J.K. Rowling looks towards a speaker at the 357th Commencement Exercises at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts June 5, 2008, during which Rowling received an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>