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Old 12-06-2019, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,998 posts, read 11,924,905 times
Reputation: 20456

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I am aware that there are books that have a very limited market: I understand that publishers can't sell them at price closes to that of consumer books. However, prices are becoming so high as to insult the intelligence of the prospective purchaser. The situation is exacerbated by the mad prices of hardcovers in comparison to that of paperbacks. A hardcover is not an affectation for books that will be used for reference.

I'll use a particularly egregious example to illustrate. Here is a book that lists for $85.00 in paperback and $415.00 in hardcover. In practice it is possible as shown here to buy the hardcover for $300.00 plus tax and shipping and the paperback for a small discount. It doesn't cost that much to add a hard cover. This book is from Oxford University Press,, a publisher that now uses glued rather than stitched bindings.

Don't they realize that more people would buy these books at lower prices?

https://smile.amazon.com/Commentary-...=UTF8&me=&qid=
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
24,066 posts, read 25,952,497 times
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I get the appeal of wanting to have a physical copy of a book, but that particular book is available free online through Project Gutenberg: A Commentary on Herodotus by W. W. How and J. Wells - Free Ebook
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,998 posts, read 11,924,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fleetiebelle View Post
I get the appeal of wanting to have a physical copy of a book, but that particular book is available free online through Project Gutenberg: A Commentary on Herodotus by W. W. How and J. Wells - Free Ebook
What do you do when you need five books open at once? Besides, you're not even citing the same book.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Sierra Nevadas (California)
58,790 posts, read 4,371,226 times
Reputation: 18898
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy in Wyoming View Post
What do you do when you need five books open at once? Besides, you're not even citing the same book.
5 tabs??
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
24,066 posts, read 25,952,497 times
Reputation: 53784
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy in Wyoming View Post
What do you do when you need five books open at once? Besides, you're not even citing the same book.
Okay, point taken, but do you need to own a book to do research? That's what libraries are really good at.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:49 PM
 
Location: Henderson, NV, U.S.A.
10,869 posts, read 6,930,346 times
Reputation: 18773
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy in Wyoming View Post
...Don't they realize that more people would buy these books at lower prices?
I hear you...

The Microbiome and the Brain, Dr. David Perlmutter $149.95 hardcover, $57.95 kindle

Brain related disorders are among the most challenging health issues of our time. The development of effective therapeutic and preventive strategies for these disorders relies on a comprehensive understanding of the underlying causative mechanisms. And, until recently, these mechanisms have remained somewhat elusive.

^ goodreads synopsis
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Old 12-07-2019, 11:07 AM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,785 posts, read 16,260,256 times
Reputation: 10570
A lot of the book publishing house use tactics pretty similar to pharmaceutical companies and "orphan" drugs. They know the majority of buyers buy because it is required reading for some class and the book has limited appeal for the general public - so they prefer to gouge the students rather than take the chance on the general public.

I had a grad-level paleontology text that, 20 years ago, cost $190 for 250 pages of text and B&W hand-drawn illustrations. The book was almost 50 years old at the time, without updates, well past the recovery point. The students got together, bought one copy and photocopied relevant sections and returned the book.

Make sure you check ABE books (now owned by Amazon, unfortunately). I have found specialty Native American bead pattern books for 1/4 the used Amazon price.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:26 PM
 
Location: The North Star State
2,656 posts, read 816,887 times
Reputation: 11501
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy in Wyoming View Post
I am aware that there are books that have a very limited market: I understand that publishers can't sell them at price closes to that of consumer books. However, prices are becoming so high as to insult the intelligence of the prospective purchaser. The situation is exacerbated by the mad prices of hardcovers in comparison to that of paperbacks. A hardcover is not an affectation for books that will be used for reference.

I'll use a particularly egregious example to illustrate. Here is a book that lists for $85.00 in paperback and $415.00 in hardcover. In practice it is possible as shown here to buy the hardcover for $300.00 plus tax and shipping and the paperback for a small discount. It doesn't cost that much to add a hard cover. This book is from Oxford University Press,, a publisher that now uses glued rather than stitched bindings.

Don't they realize that more people would buy these books at lower prices?

https://smile.amazon.com/Commentary-...=UTF8&me=&qid=
Oxford University Press is a nonprofit. Their mission isn't to make money selling lots of copies.

In the case of this particular work, it's an 800-paged work co-written by numerous academicians. The number of hours poured into A Commentary on Herodotus Books I-IV undoubtedly runs into the many hundreds. And the market is going to be very small no matter how cheaply it is made available. The production was probably a labor of love by people who made a lot less money per hour researching and writing than they did in the course of their normal duties as instructors, and the press is just trying to make enough money to be able to keep putting out works that simply will never have the broad appeal to turn a profit. I've often noted the extremely high prices for monthly or biweekly magazines that cater to a narrow professional niche - $40 or more per issue. As with Oxford University Press (which puts out over 6000 titles every year), those magazines have undoubtedly concluded - probably through experience - that to sustain themselves financially, high cover prices are a necessity.

After all, just because a Highland distillery would sell a lot more 25-year-old Scotch if it priced it at $10/bottle wholesale, that doesn't mean that they'd net more than selling it for the $50/bottle they charge. There's always an ideal per/unit price which maximizes the return to a seller, and beyond which (either higher or lower) that return is decreased. Is there any evidence that Oxford University Press doesn't have this particular book properly priced?
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Old 12-11-2019, 06:38 PM
 
11,227 posts, read 10,301,187 times
Reputation: 14588
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy in Wyoming View Post
I am aware that there are books that have a very limited market: I understand that publishers can't sell them at price closes to that of consumer books. However, prices are becoming so high as to insult the intelligence of the prospective purchaser. The situation is exacerbated by the mad prices of hardcovers in comparison to that of paperbacks. A hardcover is not an affectation for books that will be used for reference.

I'll use a particularly egregious example to illustrate. Here is a book that lists for $85.00 in paperback and $415.00 in hardcover. In practice it is possible as shown here to buy the hardcover for $300.00 plus tax and shipping and the paperback for a small discount. It doesn't cost that much to add a hard cover. This book is from Oxford University Press,, a publisher that now uses glued rather than stitched bindings.

Don't they realize that more people would buy these books at lower prices?
I see your point, but it might be that the people buying the books are required to do so for class, so they have a captive audience.
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Old 12-21-2019, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Cody, WY
9,998 posts, read 11,924,905 times
Reputation: 20456
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cida View Post
I see your point, but it might be that the people buying the books are required to do so for class, so they have a captive audience.
That is the case for many students, particularly in fields that are not known for their scholarship, e.g., nursing. It is also a problem for many professional people. However, books for courses aren't the worst. That honor goes to very specialized books purchased by the academic community as well as those suffused with intellectual curiosity. I'll use the example of one author, Eleanor Dickey. Her works aimed primarily at students are reasonably priced for today's market, but not the advanced works purchased by those who already have doctorates. Take a look at the difference in prices. None is a best seller, but all reflect her outstanding scholarship. Look as well at her reviews by peers.

Notice of bias: she's the greatest!

https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbook...line_sr_book_1

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017.09.51

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2016.12.26

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2013.08.34

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2007.06.08
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