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View Full Version : JK Rowling - the 1,950,000 Midas touch...


airship
13th Dec 2007, 21:57
The BBC reports (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7142656.stm) that a single copy of JK Rowling's latest work The Tales of Beedle the Bard (out of a total of 7 existing - and which is not destined to be published for the general public) fetched 1,950,000 (hammer price?) at Sotheby's in London: All the proceeds of the auction in London are being donated to Rowling's charity Children's Voice (http://www.chlg.org/cv/News-ViewItem.asp?ID=21).
I'm under the general impression that JK Rowling personally hand-wrote and illustrated all 7 copies, so I can understand how the only copy ever to make its way out onto the open market to date might raise such a phenomenal sum from a fortuned fan (or astute investor). Personally, I haven't read any of the Potter books but I did watch one of the films, I think.

However, anyone who knows me by now might understand why I decided to research the matter a little deeper, I'm simply very curious. Here are some of the fruits of my digging:

1) When Sotheby's sells something for you, they will normally charge you a seller's commission (http://www.sothebys.co.uk/help/sell/index.html): Seller's commission
Sellers pay a commission that is deducted, along with any agreed-upon expenses, from the hammer price. Should you have any specific questions regarding the selling commission, please call the appropriate specialist department for more information. Presumably, only JK Rowling knows what that commission is.

2) When you buy something at Sotheby's, you pay them a buyer's premium (http://www.sothebys.com/help/faq/faq_duringauction.html#a03), over and above the actual hammer price and in London, this is:
Amount of Hammer Price / BP%
up to GBP 10,000 / 25% (of the 1st 10k)
above GBP 10,000 - GBP 250,000 / 20% (of the amount between 10k and 250k)
above GBP 250,000 / 12% (of the amount exceeding 250k)
(adjusted for clarity) So the buyer's premium would normally amount to an additional 254,500 (+ VAT?) on a hammer price of 1,950,000.

3) There's also something called the Artist's Resale Right (http://www.sothebys.com/help/faq/faq_afterauction.html#a05) (or Droit de Suite) to factor in: Following the UK's implementation of the EU Artist's Resale Right Directive, living artists are entitled to receive a resale royalty each time their art work is sold in the UK by an art market professional, subject to certain conditions. Sotheby's will collect the resale royalty due to the artists from buyers of lots with a hammer price (excluding buyer's premium and excluding VAT) in excess of 1000. Any purchaser of a lot to which Artist's Resale Right applies will be charged an amount equal to the applicable resale royalty, which will be added to the relevant invoice. This is variable, from 4% on the 1st 50k tranche down to 0.25% on the tranche exceeding 500k. There is a maximum royalty allowable of 12,500. I don't know whether this JK Rowling production is "a work of art", but since it does contain illustrations, perhaps it also qualifies...?

I never realised that buying / selling at auctions was quite that expensive. Certainly, a very good earner for Sotheby's (254,500) in this particular case but for the point that all the proceeds are going to charity, aren't they...? :confused:

I was also interested to learn that new books are zero-rated for VAT purposes in the UK. Also zero-rated are newspapers, journals and periodicals; printed music and maps and charts. In France, new books attract a 5,5% VAT rate, so perhaps it's just lucky the auction wasn't held in Paris, I guess...?! It's almost a shame that the UK taxpayer stands to gain so little by way of this auction (the Inland Revenue, like Sotheby's, might have waived their tribute) destined for charitable purposes. But have you considered all the other similar auctions where no charities are involved...?!

"The remaining 6 copies will be given away to those closely connected with the Potter novels." Now that those remaining copies have a notional market value of almost 2 million a piece today, I guess there'll be a significant windfall coming into the Inland Revenue's coffers very soon from the taxes on all those "gifts"...?! Uhmmmm, unless they'd already been gifted "at zero-value" sometime before the auction?!

I'm trying to imagine what it would really cost me if JK Rowling were to gift me an as yet undistributed copy (not that I had anything to do with the books)...? What's the tax rate for a gift worth 1,950,000? I'd then be obliged to sell it at Sotheby's just to pay all that off. Then I'd have to pay all the seller's commissions. And then being in France, they'd probably hit me for 5,5% VAT. What if I just opened the gift package, read the book, and then sent it back FedEx - wouldn't that be cheaper...?! ;):8 :uhoh:

oerlikon
13th Dec 2007, 22:00
Who is JK Rowling?

con-pilot
13th Dec 2007, 22:07
Who is JK Rowling?

You definitely do not have any young children and don't get out much. :)

She is the richest woman in England. Does the name 'Harry Potter' mean anything to you?

airship
13th Dec 2007, 22:11
I forget. Something to do with dragons, dungeons, sorcery and similar crap? I always zap channels when I see anything to do with the stuff. I much preferred Enid Blyton, I think. More my age segment / group. If she hadn't died, I'd still be pestering her publishers wth letters pleading to be included as one of the famous 5 (6)... :{:{:{

tony draper
13th Dec 2007, 22:13
Tiz just the theory of gravity as applied to money,once one has accumulated one's first ten million all the free money floating around it falls inward thus it's mass increases thus it's gravitational field increases drawing in more and more money,ad infinitum as it were.
One has approached the Research Council and requested a grant of ten million in order to gather data and further refine one's theory but alas to no avail.
:(
Or as me old grandad would have put it,
Them as has already got it,gets it.
:rolleyes:

con-pilot
13th Dec 2007, 22:15
One little tidbit about the "Harry Potter" books is that when she first tried to publish the book no one in the UK would touch the project, she ended up going to the United States for publishing.

I would have hated to be one of those editors that turned her down, I wonder what they are doing for a living now? :p

airship
13th Dec 2007, 22:23
Working the night-shift as doorman at some bookshop most recently preparing to open the doors at midnight for some hyper super-media hyped, hyped-up book to do with dragons, dungeons, sorcery and similar crap?

Since JK Rowling won't be writing anymore, will all those editors now be unemployed, uhmmm...permanently?! :(

Bally Heck
13th Dec 2007, 23:53
Err. Con pilot. While this may seem a wee bit touchy. JK Rowling herself I think would be offended to be called the richest woman in England. But it is a common enough mistake for a Mexican to make.

con-pilot
14th Dec 2007, 00:36
Err. Con pilot. While this may seem a wee bit touchy. JK Rowling herself I think would be offended to be called the richest woman in England. But it is a common enough mistake for a Mexican to make.

First off I am not a Mexican. Secondly if what you state about J. K. Rowling is true, she should inform Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC, FOX News, ABC, NBC, CBS and all the other media outlets that have repeatedly called her the "Richest Woman in England" that she is offended by this information.

I did not make that up, in fact I really did not believe she was the richest woman in England until all of the above kept saying/publishing that fact.

Now, if I am in error, which considering the source (the media) is entirely possible, I will be more than happy to apologize to her in person.

Otherwise the post stands.

Bally Heck
14th Dec 2007, 06:05
They are wrong. JK Rowling is not English. She was born in Scotland, lives in Scotland and wrote her first book in a cafe on George IV Bridge in Scotland's capital city. Thus she is Scottish. The one way guaranteed to offend a Scottish person is to call them English, (thus the Mexican tongue in cheek jibe) It would however be entirely accurate to call her British, and she may well be the richest person in Britain, although the Queen must be in the running for that.

VnV2178B
14th Dec 2007, 08:30
Bally,

born in that well known Scottish town of Yate, near Bristol???

OK now she lives in Edinburgh - and I can't blame for that, cos it's a great place to be.

VnV

Wingswinger
14th Dec 2007, 08:35
Con-pilot,

She is the richest woman in England. Does the name 'Harry Potter' mean anything to you?

As others have pointed out, there is more to the UK than England. Besides, I think Her Majesty might disagree with you.

c-bert
14th Dec 2007, 11:47
I get the distinct impression that J K Rowling has now got to the stage whereby she could write, "A load of old balls" quite literally, and still sell it for hundreds of thousands of pounds. :(

ThreadBaron
14th Dec 2007, 12:25
VnV

OK now she lives in Edinburgh - and I can't blame for that, cos it's a great place to be.


And were I posting from Birmingham I would think the same!:}

S'land
14th Dec 2007, 12:40
One little tidbit about the "Harry Potter" books is that when she first tried to publish the book no one in the UK would touch the project, she ended up going to the United States for publishing.

I would have hated to be one of those editors that turned her down, I wonder what they are doing for a living now?


I spent 20 years in the publishing industry, before finding a proper job. This is a common enough story on both sides of the pond. As examples; THE PETER PRINCIPLE, turned down by lots of publishers (including McGraw-Hill), before becoming a bestseller and JAMES HERRIOT. His books were turned down by 17 publishers before Michael Joseph saw the marketing opportunities and turned him into a bestseller.

Publishers are human, well most of them - I can think of a few exceptions, they make mistakes.

VnV2178B
14th Dec 2007, 12:42
Too B$$*Y right.
I worked in Fife for a while and it was a sight better than being here in Brum, believe me, I am posting this from a dismal suburb with a delightful view of a demolished factory and a railway line.
Meanwhile, back on topic, am I alone in having neither read a book nor seen a film with Harry Potter in the title? and hence I have not contributed a penny to Ms. Rowling's wealth, however much it may be.
VnV

just to add: if she reads this and has a spare copy of her latest, hand-written tome perhaps she could send me it so that I could see for myself what the fuss is about... no?

frostbite
14th Dec 2007, 12:43
Over two million for a recent book!

Another example of the 'Us and Them' world.

con-pilot
14th Dec 2007, 20:00
As others have pointed out, there is more to the UK than England. Besides, I think Her Majesty might disagree with you.

I most humbly apologize. :\

More accurately I should have said the 'richest woman in Great Britain'. Now the finical reports, those released to the public, that I have seen does indeed show J. K. Rowling to be richer Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

However, remember this information did come from the media. ;)


(Now, although I am not Mexican, I have been to Mexico quite a few times, I guess that could count. :p)

brickhistory
14th Dec 2007, 20:11
Tom Clancy had the same happen to him. Dozens of rejection letters, then finally the Naval Institute Press published him in a small run.

Then-President Ronald Reagan was asked one day as he was exiting Marine One at the White House what he was reading, as he had a book in his hand.

Holding up a copy of the book titled "The Hunt for Red October," Reagan replied, "It was a great story."

Wonder how many of those editors got drunk repeatedly?




The same thing has happened to me.





The publishers/agents rejection part, not the wildly successful book run part......

tony draper
14th Dec 2007, 20:25
Makes yer think,Jesus didn't make nowt out of writing that Bible.:rolleyes:

Parapunter
14th Dec 2007, 20:39
Well howzabout that then Mr B History, I always thought Red Storm Rising came first. Turns out not. I always thought RSR was a far superior tale to the Hunt for Sean Connery. FWIW, The Harry Potter books have brought me great pleasure & I wish Ms Rowling all the best for the fun. Great books, the best kids reads since Ginger in the Puntiverse.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
15th Dec 2007, 03:58
Con Pilot is definately not a Messican :}

Loose rivets
15th Dec 2007, 04:34
'sright. Mexicans don't climb to that altitude. :}

ORAC
15th Dec 2007, 10:24
J K Rowling is English. I would have thought Scotland has enough of it's own authors without having to claim the English ones... :=:=
J K Rowling official website: (http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/biography.cfm)

p.s. She makes it into the British rich list at No 136. (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/specials/rich_list/rich_list_search/)

con-pilot
15th Dec 2007, 18:03
One more time ORCA to the rescue. :ok:

Looks like J. K. Rowling is the tenth richest woman in Britain. Just goes to show that ya can't believe nothing anymore.

(But wait a minute, I believed the link that ORAC provided, now what? :ooh:)

Bally Heck
19th Dec 2007, 23:52
B*gger.
My humble apologies to anyone who was offended by my post. I genuinely thought she was a fellow countryperson. I was wrong...and that's a first for me :{
My thoughts go out to JK herself who must be particularly upset not to be Scottish. What a shit thing to find out when you wake up of a morning.