One of the complaints I get quite often at the end of July is “You don’t price the books high enough!” Yeah, I know. But people who pause to tell me how to run a Book Fair, especially on the last weekend in July, don’t necessarily have all their bulbs screwed all the way.
“The paperback romances are the same price they’ve been since 1985!” they cry, though many of them were obviously not born yet in 1985. (See previous note.)
It is true that the price of paperback romances has gone up only once in the last thirty-one years (it would have been around 2010 or thereabouts.) But this does NOT mean prices haven’t been hiked elsewhere. The price of secondhand paperback romances is not used as a Leading Economic Indicator by the federal government. Why insist on it here?
In the interests of full disclosure, I thought I might alert you to the places where we have left things alone, and where we have tried to dig a little more deeply into your pocket. (I WISH you’d clean out those Starlight mints you pick up when you go out to dinner; they melt all over everything during the summer.)
If you’re coming for Romance (in print), you’re pretty safe. The same goes for most of Mystery (but do check the price before you get to checkout; we have a lot of signed ones this year) as well as Fiction and Westerns. But sales were so high last year in Literature and Science Fiction that we’ve nudged the prices up on some of the newer and bigger items. (This means you may now pay three bucks instead of two for a book which cost $27 new. I hope you don’t drop dead of sticker shock.)
Coffee table books–those are the big ones, for those of you without coffee tables–have been eased up a few bucks. But books are priced on a case by case basis, and the books we know we’re going to get all the time, like that great big Georgia O’Keeffe or the Complete Works of Michelangelo, have stayed the same. (It’s also a marketing call: books which are really, really heavy don’t need another dollar or two on the price to help convince you not to carry it home.)
A lot of what you’ll find in the Big Room (Room 6) has gone up by a dollar. This is partly because demand has stayed high and partly because we had a LOT of high quality collections donated in the areas of History, Military History, and Fashion. Mind you, Religion and Judaica have stayed about the same. We had some high quality donations in each, but we also had a lot of high quantity donations.
Mathematics had been priced higher if I had no idea what the title of the book meant. Anything elementary enough for me to understand stayed about the same.
Foreign Language has stayed about the same. I know, I know: I should have gone up on all those exceedingly rare Swedish mystery novels. AND our very first ever Albanian-English dictionary. I’m just an old softie, I guess.
The price of full sets of encyclopedias has gone down (barring the ones which come in their own bookcases). But nice copies of the standard references: Roget, Webster, Bartlett, or the Chicago Manual of Style, have gone up. (The price of that Oxford English Dictionary with the magnifying glass still depends on whether the glass is in the little drawer.)
Now, as to…oh, why go on? If you’ve been to this Book Fair before, you know one of the truths of life. The books you WANT are always going to cost more than the books you don’t need. You have excellent taste. (Unless you pause to tell the man in the funny apron to price his books lower.)