(AFP) – Jul 3, 2008
TOKYO (AFP) — Online bookseller Amazon on Thursday gave Japanese fans a glimpse of J.K. Rowling's first book since the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series, which it bought for four million dollars.
"The Tales of Beedle the Bard" is one of seven handmade books by the British author. Amazon, bidding anonymously, bought it at a December auction at Sotheby's where it fetched 40 times the expected price.
Amazon unveiled the book at a Tokyo press conference to promote the release of the Japanese translation of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows," the seventh and final novel of the series.
The Japanese edition goes on sale later this month, but Amazon has already received more than 70,000 advance orders, the company said.
"The Tales" are linked to the last Potter tome. The book is supposed to be the volume of five tales of wizardry left to Potter's friend Hermione Granger by headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
One of the tales appears in "Deathly Hallows," but the remaining four are told in "The Tales" for the first time.
There are just seven of the handmade books, bound in brown Moroccan leather covered with a silver skull motif and jewels. Rowling gave the other six to people involved with the Potter books.
Amazon, which has sold 12 million of the Potter books worldwide, will invite just 20 lucky customers from those who made online advance orders in Japan to an event where they can look at the inside pages, the company said.
All proceeds from the sales of the handwritten single volume went to Rowling's charity, Children's Voice, which helps vulnerable children across Europe.
The 42-year-old author, who once lived on welfare, has become a billionaire, with the tales of the boy wizard translated into 64 languages.
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