Rowling and the Seven Copies
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Rowling and the Seven Copies

JK Rowling, writer of the bestest-selling Harry Potter series, has now written something that will have only seven copies produced.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2007 23:54 IST
Hindustan Times

JK Rowling, writer of the bestest-selling Harry Potter series, has now written something that will have only seven copies produced. If you don’t think that this is a groundbreaking brand-building exercise, then you’re either the sort who gets suckered into believing every blurb that you read (including the one that states, "This is the bestest book ever") or, worse, a die-hard Harry Potter fan. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a collection of five "wizarding fairy tales" that Albus ‘He’s gay!’ Dumbledore left Hermione Granger in the last Harry Potter book. Frankly, we’re not that keen to know what the stories are all about. (One of the stories-within-the-story appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, so we can sort of get the picture.) What we are keen to know — and to behold, if any of us are visiting London during December 9-12 when one of the seven copies will be on display before being auctioned — is what the book is all about.

Well, for one, the six autographed manuscripts of The Tales of Beedle the Bard that Ms Rowling will gift those who were closely associated with the Potter series, and the seventh copy to be auctioned for charity, will be “individually handwritten and extensively illustrated by the author”. So it’s not at all as easy as it sounds — 60 pages written (not photocopied!) in an Italian hand-made notebook, bound in brown morocco embellished on upper cover by Edinburgh silversmiths Hamilton and Inches, with five individually hand-chased hallmarked sterling silver ornaments and mounted moonstones. Which means the lucky owners of the textual version of bling can either place their valuable copy, bought or freely gained, next to the display of their grandfather’s musket collection or even wear it to the next Elton ‘He’s Dumbledore!’ John concert.

But more seriously, is this a return to the genteel past when the gentleman writer never sold his books for profit, but simply distributed limited editions among friends and admirers despite Gutenberg trying to help out by inventing the movable type print? After all, snooty gents like Philip Sidney (author of Eng Lit mandatory bores like Astrophil and Stella) never bothered to bring his creative output to the masses. To be fair to Ms Rowling, she’s chosen the limited edition path only after becoming humongously 'available'. So, she can afford to put up her metaphorical legs and ‘go selective’. Luckily for us — and perhaps unluckily for the writer — the story should be available to us courtesy the internet and the photocopying machine soon enough. But the demand for the limited supply of The Tales of Beedle the Bard will never really be quenched. Until, like those fake Rembrandts out there, some crafty person manages to replicate the ‘book’, bling and all.

First Published: Nov 02, 2007 23:53 IST