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A necessary and sufficient condition for the existence of a discrete-time nonlinear observer with linearizable error dynamics is provided. The result can be applied to any real analytic nonlinear system whose linear part is observable. The necessary and sufficient condition is the solvability of a nonlinear functional equation. Furthermore, the well-known Siegel's theorem on the linearizability of a mapping is naturally reproduced in a corollary. The proposed observer design method is constructive and can be applied approximately to any sufficiently smooth, linearly observable system yielding a local observer with approximately linear error dynamics.