Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Links &c.

- Michael Lieberman has a good post at Book Patrol on the "disappearance of the book middle-class" (that is, books priced $25-75 in used bookshops). "Within the last 10 years, the influx of technology, the advent of online bookselling and widespread internet connectivity, has brought into the market millions upon millions of books that were simply unaccounted for. The book resale market has become a petri dish of supply and demand economics. Here the true free market is deciding price points. This flood of available material has taken many of the books in the $25-75 price range and reduced them to $1-$15 books. Is this just a natural evolution of free market capitalism?"

Michael goes on to suggest that there are probably more "non-new books available for sale today that are priced under the cost of shipping the book to the buyer than the total amount of books available to the public 10 years ago." Given the number of people who sell books on Amazon for pennies (a business model which I confess I still cannot wrap my head around), I'd be willing to bet Michael's right.

On the flip side, of course, rarer items only get rarer, and collectors' ability to snap up any Aldine or Elzevier or [insert your niche passion here] is unparalled in today's searchable age. So prices go up up up on the high end, down down down on the low end ... and as Michael notes, "it is our friends in the middle who are being squeezed out." An interesting trend to watch, and one I've noticed very sharply in the last couple of years.

- The good folks at Bytown Bookshop had a "great day for buying" on Sunday; looks like they got some nice goodies! And at Lux Mentis, Lux Orbis, Ian's got some very interesting new Stephen King items and notes some upcoming book fairs he'll be attending.

- Over at Reading Archives, Richard Cox comments on the recent NARA report over the Sandy Berger case.

- I've added a sidebar link to viaLibri, a book search aggregator which looks through many of the online databases. I like that it's got year and price range searchability, those are always useful tools.

- Oh, I almost forgot ... the Brentano's in Copley Place mall (for those of you in/near Boston) is closing (since Borders just opened another store right up the street) and their entire stock is 40% off or more. This coming Friday's their last day, so if you're in the area, there are some bargains to be had.