Re: More On Book Price Inflation
- From: Michael Hart <hart@[redacted]>
- Subject: Re: More On Book Price Inflation
- Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 17:06:10 -0700 (PDT)
On Mon, 24 Sep 2007, Ben Crowell wrote:
>> This in the face of more and more new paperbacks priced for
>> around $15 for books that cost $.25 when I started reading.
>> So how is it that these nicer blank books are half priced a
>> few decades later, while the paperbacks of just one decade,
>> or so, earlier, are 60 times as much???
> You may be comparing apples and oranges. A $15 paperback
> today is a trade paperback.
Even the people behind the counter at Borders were unwilling
to use the term "trade paperback" for these new editions, as
it is obvious that these are NOT what has been referred to a
long time by that term.
The new editions I see there bear more resemblance to ye old
mass market paperbacks than to ye old trade editions, not to
mention they are cheaper by comparison in price.
Talk about comparing apples to oranges!
> I'm not totally clear on your
> description of the dates, but if I'm understanding you
> correctly, I suspect the $.25 price you're remembering was
> for a mass market paperback. The most recent mass market
> paperback I bought was $6.29 from bn.com.
Again with the apples and oranges?
Comparing bn.com to over the counter at Borders?
What is wrong with this picture?
If you actually go go Borders you will see a great many of
the books that used to be available in mass market edition
are no longer, forcing the prices up as a result.
Just look from Ian Fleming to Agatha Christie to others in
the mystery realm, even Perry Mason. . .vanishing from the
mass market shelves.
Try Kurt Vonnegut, and compare to the original prices.
The prices are more like apples and oranges than the books
which are not all that different, and less different every
time I see a new edition come out. . .smaller, notice?
Below you go on even to grapefruits than just oranges with
textbook pricing, which has never been included in general
book pricing, though I agree textbooks are also in similar
hyperinflationary spirals, but from different baselines.
> I don't know if it's possible to talk about broad inflationary
> trends in book prices, because it depends so much on the
> type of book. Here is a study of physics textbook prices,
> which shows them rising much faster than inflation:
> I suspect that the $6.29 I paid for that mass market
> paperback, on the other hand, is probably quite a bit
> less in real dollars than what I was paying when I first
> started buying them in the 1970's. It's true that fiction
> publishers are more frequently releasing novels only in
> trade rather than mass market, whereas in the past they
> would have routinely released them in mass market. There
> have also been huge changes in distribution systems in the
> last 10-20 years. The advent of big-box bookstores has
> often had an anti-inflationary effect, since they push
> publishers very hard for deep discounts.
Just try buying the ones I mentioned above, and compare to
the original prices from the 50's and 50's.
Then compare to gasoline, milk, bread, cars, etc.
There IS no comparison. . . .