Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Even more expensive book

Well. My baffle has been gabbed. A couple of  Tuesdays ago we looked at a book to save up for (£150, 588 pages, April 2012).

Another has come to my attention, which is makes that look like small change. $925, 880 pages, May 2003. And for that money, do you get Folio Society illustrations?  Apparently not, if this boring cover is indicative. I am not judging its insides by its outsides, but oh my goodness I am judging the publishers. Price point ? Hello? Who exactly do they expect is going to buy this? Not even every university library would want to fork out that much, let alone municipal reference libraries.

Mary Wollstonecraft and the Critics, 1788-2001 (Vol 1 & 2). Routledge, how many copies have you sold? The editor is Harriet Devine Jump, presumably the same as this Dr Harriet Devine.

It has a page on Google Books, with QR code but no preview, not even the table of contents or index. (Such a mistake.) Amazon says the volumes are hardcover. Yes, well, I should hope so too.


  1. Such large amounts are scarcely credible. I often have to buy academic books and always cringe at the expense, though understand that specialist books will never be cheap - but I cannot imagine the justification for such a crazily large sum - are the pages vellum or what? Am glad that this week I was able to order a biography of MW via Amazon for one single penny! BHiggi

  2. Yes, that's it, BHiggi, the pages must be vellum, from a calf killed with a golden knife, and the pages were illuminated by vestal virgins by the light of a blue moon, such is its rarity. (BTW the current exhibition at the British Library is on illuminated manuscripts. I am infinitely digressible.) The current price on eBay for an Australian seller is $1137.78.

    Which biography was it, and how did you score such a bargain? I am partial to Lyndall Gordon's, because it is the most recent major one, and the fresh research is fascinating: silver ship ahoy!

  3. It is indeed the Lyndall Gordon, available on Amazon UK now - new! - for one penny (plus postage) should you wish to send a friend a copy. BH