J.K. Rowling said Monday she planned to publish two Harry Potter specials aimed at conjuring up $33 million for deprived children.
“You should buy them because they will save lives,” said the millionaire author of the best-selling books about a teenage wizard who has become a favorite for tens of millions of young readers around the world.
The two new tales – “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “Quidditch Through the Ages”-- are both mentioned as textbooks in the library of Professor Albus Dumbledore's fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where Harry is a pupil.
Eleven million volumes are to be published in 100 countries from March 12. Three dollars from each sale will go to Comic Relief, a charity launched by British comedians to aid children in developing countries.
Suppliers, printers, distributors and booksellers are all waiving their profits, fees and payments on the books in what is expected to be another hugely successful chapter in the Harry Potter publishing phenomenon.
The four Harry Potter books have so far sold 60 million copies in 200 countries. The fourth, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” ran to 636 pages in its UK edition.
Two Harry Potter board games and two jigsaw puzzles have just hit the shelves in British toyshops, the first wave in a flood of merchandise ahead of November's release of a Hollywood movie about the bespectacled hero.
“I didn't want to write a short story because I'm no good at short as you can see from book four,” Rowling said in a statement.
“So I have written two of the titles that appear within the novels and I have done some illustrations for them,” she said.
“We are thrilled. It is as exciting as winning the Quidditch World Cup,” said Kevin Cahill, chief executive of Comic Relief.
(China Daily 01/09/2001)