This morning I got an email from Amazon Associates announcing the publication on December 4, 2008 of J. K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Last year Rowling produced seven handwritten and illustrated copies of the book. Six were given to people who were very influential in the Harry Potter series, and the seventh, the "moonstone edition," was auctioned off to benefit The Children's Voice, part of the Children's High Level Group, a charity founded by Rowling in 2005.
The book is made up of five tales for wizarding children. One of the tales is related in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, three are mentioned in that book, and a fifth is not.
The new editions, which can now be pre-ordered from Amazon, will be a Standard Edition for the general public, and a Collector's Edition that is meant to resemble the look and feel of the original seven handmade copies.
Amazon was the winning bidder, at $3.98 million, for the seventh handmade book and they are able to exclusively offer the Collector's Edition (pictured at top left - the image is from Amazon).
Right away I thought this was a great idea for a Beedle the Bard lens. A quick Squidoo search showed none existed. At first I thought I'd just have the introduction, some text about the book, and an Amazon Spotlight module for each edition. As I got to work on the lens, I added a video, some information about the charity, and a couple of modules of Harry Potter books for people who might need to catch up. And I added links to the charity's website and a couple of Wikipedia articles.
During my research for the lens, I found out that Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore's last name is an old Devon word for "bumblebee." Rowling said she pictured him going about the school humming to himself.