OT: Physical Book Prices

Sean Caron scaron at umich.edu
Sun Dec 14 17:54:35 CST 2014

Used books are where it's at! I've always believed in the value of the
printed word and I've been steadily stocking my library all along :) Many
good deals can be obtained on Amazon used, or through AbeBooks. It is true
that art books can sometimes be hard to find and/or retain high values
(esp. if they are out of print). In the case you cite above, the book is
both niche and newly printed so the used market can't help there. Sometimes
you just have to bite the bullet if it's something you decide you really
truly want. I think the most I ever paid for a book (outside of something
required by a University course) was around $40 for an copy of Organick's
/The Multics System/ that was in "excellent" condition. I collect records
too, same dynamics. I consider a nicely done book or record as more a piece
of art... it can retain value as an object of art or as a collectible...
you don't necessarily spend $50 or $100 and it immediately depreciates to

I wouldn't say printing is dead but certainly it's moved upmarket. As well,
in a way, it's somewhat less ephemeral than bits and bytes. As you say, the
Nook version doesn't do much for your coffee table.



On Sun, Dec 14, 2014 at 5:55 PM, Charles Dickman <chd at chdickman.com> wrote:

> Back in 2007 Stan Barr posted a comment about a book that was pure computer
> geek porn: "Core Memory" by Mark Richards & John Alderman. I thought it
> would be a good stocking stuffer for myself from someone in the family. I
> went looking on Amazon for it. The price is $172 for a new hardcover and
> $78 for a used hardcover.
> This is ridiculous. I thought it was only school books that were at totally
> unreasonable prices.
> Now, I can get the nook electronic version for $13.99 but this is a *coffee
> table book*, something to be displayed. It's geek porn.
> So then I went and looked at some other books that are niche. I enjoy
> analog design and a Jim Williams book is always good. "The Art and Science
> of Analog Design" which is about 15 years old is $50 in paperback.
> I guess the printed page is dead. Gutenberg RIP.

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