Richard Pfaff—big name in liturgical manuscripts for those unfamiliar—comes out with a winner: The Liturgy in Medieval England. Can’t wait to get my hands on this!
Do you know what’s up with English university book prices?
This looks like wonderful book–for $120.00. I see that Oxford has put out a new volume this month in the Oxford Early Christian Texts series on St. Justin Martyr. For $180.00. And those can be bargains. I was looking for a good book on Gregory VII and saw that the Clarendon Press had one, but for $375.00.
These books make Folio Society fine editions look like the bargain basement.
Who can afford these? I know that they’re not mass market best sellers, but it’s hard for me to believe that, even from a pure revenue point of view, they wouldn’t do better at half or a third of these prices.
This is standard pricing for academic volumes.
The “who” answer is easy: libraries and academics with book budgets. Not having either I may be lusting for this one for a while…
Publishers print short runs of these, knowing full well that few individuals will buy them, and that most decent university libraries will. Short runs equal high costs, thus high prices.
Still, even libraries have budgets.
Twenty years ago I could buy high quality university press books for between twenty and fifty dollars apiece. They’ve undoubtedly increased in price much more rapidly than the fairly modest rate of inflation of the last two decades.
Maybe the internet’s to blame? Too much free stuff available for free depressing demand? But, as the recent Kindle 1984 debacle showed, having the book electronically may mean having it shut off or even modified without your knowledge. I find something reassuring in knowing that that volume on the shelf is going to stay there and stay the same, even if the spine cracks and the pages yellow.
Considering that the average science textbook now runs very close to $200, it really isn’t that out of line. The specialist books don’t have thousands of students required to buy them. It all makes my medieval hobby much more expensive!
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