I have been writing about expensive books before, and still maintain a list of ridiculously priced books. Now I bought one of them - at a "normal" price.
I have written about this subject before.
Books. Expensive books.
As you might know I'm a bit of a fly-fishing and fly-tying book buff, and follow the market quite closely, buy quite a few books and wish for even more.
Back in the good times review copies would willingly find their way to us at GFF - even without us asking for them - but currently the flow has dried out to a trickle, and as the crises has hit all industries, it has hit the "old fashioned" publishing industry even harder. Printing and selling books on paper simply isn't what it used to be.
But as I said: I still support the publishers and buy books. And I maintain a wish list - both in my mind, on my computer and on Amazon.
On this list has been a few odd books. Not that the books are odd, but the prices are. Let's take the really crazy ones. These prices are from Amazon:
Presentation by Gary Borger. Priced at 1,269.13 UK£ or almost 2,000 US$ or 1,500 Euros.
Fly Patterns by Randall and Mary Kaufmann. Priced at 1,003.87 UK£ or more than 1,500 US$ or close to 1,200 Euros. Used!
The River Behind the Hill by Philip Weigall. That one is 1,170.57 UK£ which is almost 1,800 US$ or 1,400 Euros.
In other words books priced as (cheap) used cars!
These aren't books from the 1800's craved by collectors and connoisseurs, but absolutely normal books, published within the last decade or so and at one point quite commonly available at normal prices. They are all large format and many pages, and today they are not quite as common, but I'm sure a lot of the people who read this will have one of these titles on their shelves, and my guess is that they didn't cost thousands of dollars.
I just got a package from Amazon today, and Phillip Weigall's beautiful book about Australian stream fishing is now off my wish list. And no, I did not pay 1,800 US$ for it! It cost just over 20 US$ and cost me less than 30 including postage. Sold by Amazon and brand new!
I have followed this title for a while, and one day it was there at a "normal" price. I ordered and it was mine. It's still available used at prices varying from just under 100 US$ to the above mentioned 1,800 dollars. Used!
I have no idea what mechanism keeps these books at such crazy prices, but it can't be the buyer's willingness to pay that kind of money. It's also very typical that the books are priced very closely from different sellers. They obviously look at each other to set the price, and price the books very similarly. Borger's presentation is 1,269.13 UKÂ£ from one seller in the US and 1,269.19 UKÂ£ from another in Japan. Coincidence...? I think not.
I have no idea what mechanism keeps these books at such crazy prices
Well, I'm just observing and wondering and not buying - unless the price is right. My Weigall book is priced at almost 1,200 UK£ new, so selling my brand new copy should give me a nice profit of about 1,180 UK£ or a good 6000%. I sincerely doubt that anyone want to buy at that price, but should that be the case, I'm selling!