Is there a bigger writing phenomenon than J K Rowling? Has there ever been a bigger one?

Amazon, the greatest internet bookstore in the world, has just happily announced that it has bought a book from Rowling for 1.95 million pounds. That’s pounds sterling. Nearly two million of them. For one book.

Fortunately, Rowling is donating the money to charity. After all, being the world’s first and only US$ billionaire author, she’s not short of a bob or two. The book is a hand written and illustrated (by Rowling herself) collection of tales, referenced in the last Harry Potter novel.

“Oi, you in the gloves. Don’t even breathe!”

From the Amazon announcement:

We’re incredibly excited to announce that Amazon has purchased J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard at an auction held by Sotheby’s in London. The book of five wizarding fairy tales, referenced in the last book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is one of only seven handmade copies in existence. The purchase price was £1,950,000, and Ms. Rowling is donating the proceeds to The Children’s Voice campaign, a charity she co-founded to help improve the lives of institutionalized children across Europe.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is extensively illustrated and handwritten by the bard herself–all 157 pages of it. It’s bound in brown Moroccan leather and embellished with five hand-chased hallmarked sterling silver ornaments and mounted moonstones.

As a hopeless bibliophile, just the thought of this fills me with longing. One of only seven in the world, hand written. Rowling has managed to create something that seems to have come directly from Hogwarts. The fact that it’s worth two million quid has nothing to do with my desire. Nothing at all. Really.

Imagine spending two mill then not being able to read her writing.

But where would you keep such a thing? Imagine a house fire! You’d have to have it locked in a hermetically sealed box, in a steel vault, underground. Guarded by a dragon maybe. What a remarkable artifact.

I can’t help wondering what’s going to happen to the other six. Being hand written and illustrated, they would all be unique. Anyway, good on J K Rowling for turning her ridiculous level of success into big wads of cash for charity.

You can read the whole of the Amazon announcement and see more pictures here.

(Images from