Good news for fans of Harry Potter! If, like us, you've been itching to read J.K. Rowling's supplement to the series, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which was bought last December for £1.95 million by Amazon.com, now you finally can! … If, that is, you are the lucky winner of Amazon's Beedle the Bard Ballad Writing Contest. Entrants — "muggles ages 13 and older" — must write a 100-word essay answering one of three questions about the Harry Potter series; the top essay in each of two age groups wins its author a weekend trip to London and an audience with the book, which is currently locked away, presumably in a vault guarded by goblins.
Seriously, Amazon — and J.K. Rowling, whom obviously we love — it is time to stop this baloney.
Millions of fans have rewarded both of you for your brilliant ideas and hard work (J.K.) and easy-to-use interface and on-time delivery (Amazon). You have each made scads of money as a result. If Rowling wanted to write this book only for her friends and family, that would be one thing. But she put it on public auction, and Amazon bought it, and so now this supposedly treasured limited edition is being used by Amazon to flog stupid essay-writing contests where kids answer the question, "What have you learned from the Harry Potter series that you use in everyday life?"
Just let us buy the stinking book, which is all we want to do. Sell it for $10. Donate all proceeds to charity — you'd be giving way more to your favorite causes than you did by auctioning it off in the first place.
Barring that, we're definitely entering — and winning — this contest. "Harry Potter taught us that information wants to be free!" Hands off, suckas, the book is ours.