Re: RARA-AVIS: Digest Number 1666

From: Patrick King (
Date: 13 Oct 2007

What appears to be going on in modern publishing, is that a specific price is wanted for every book: hardcovers about $30.00, paperbacks about $10. To justify these prices, publishers offer a lot of paper. I remember when Peyton Place came out in paperback. That was the original "blockbuster" book, and quite
'noir,' too, btw. It was about 400 pages as I recall and it sold for 50 cents, 15 cents more than most paperbacks at that time. It seems to me that publishers noted a great big book could justify a higher price. Now, they don't want anything but great big books and they'll ruin a perfectly good little story by forcing it into fat format. This is not just bad for consumers, its bad for the literature of our time. Suppose this had been done to The Murders in the Rue Morgue, or The Hound of the Baskervilles, or The Maltese Falcon, or The Big Sleep, or The Postman Always Rings Twice. Would we be talking about them today if these great stories had been forced into a 500 page format? I doubt it. I wonder how many great stories are already out there floundering in too much paper, never to be recognized for what they are, due to narrow minded publishers hungry for one-price-fits-all and that price HIGH!

Patrick King
--- jacquesdebierue <> wrote:

> --- In, Patrick King
> <abrasax93@...> wrote:
> >
> > Okey. So by this calculation, a 35 cent book in
> 1960
> > should cost about $2.25 today. The trick is, no
> such
> > books exist. What's up with that?
> If you do it with the price of houses, you will find
> a similar
> phenomenon... The general index doesn't tell you how
> particular things
> appreciate. I recall reading a similar comparison
> with movie tickets,
> which is a more appropriate comparison since tickets
> and books belong
> to the same category (popular entertainment). Also,
> the important
> factor is not how prices have risen but how the
> purchasing power has
> changed. For example, how many Gold Medals could the
> average guy buy
> in 1960 vs. today, what multiple of average (or
> median) family income
> buys an average (or median) house, etc. Price by
> itself doesn't tell
> the whole story. Even with food, the comparison can
> be faulty if the
> diet has changed... and entire categories of
> products exist now that
> didn't exist back then. It's not so easy.
> Mind you, I do support the $2.25 paperback, but only
> Dover offers
> those and the books are out of copyright.
> Best,
> mrt

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