Dear Santa Blogs,
I was picking out some gifts from the carts you have outside the A.C. McClurg Bookstore and noticed that you were charging five dollars for a book that originally sold for $2.95. I know it’s all for a good cause and Christmas and such, but do you think you should be gouging the public to that extent?
Well, first off, my lad, if you had just moved on inside the A.C. (Awesome Christmas) McClurg Bookstore, you would have found a lot of excellent gifts, all selling for exactly the price they were marked. As this seems to be your standard of righteousness, this would have solved your problems handily.
What I generally ask of people who bring this sort of conundrum to me is that they check the YEAR that the book cost $2.95. Dover Books has been very helpful here, with that line on the back cover something like “This is a Dover Books original (1974) and sells for $3.” I think you will generally find that hardcover books very, very seldom sell for $2.95 these days, and you are actually looking at a price that was current about fifty years ago. I would not mind, myself, buying a few things at the prices they were during the Kennedy administration.
In fact, to go a bit further, there is a stamp which cost one penny when it was printed in Mauritius in the nineteenth century. I do not understand how stamp dealers can ask six figure prices for something clearly marked “One Penny”. I would even spring a whole twenty bucks for one of those double eagle $20 gold pieces of days gone by.
Not so very many years ago, a number of booksellers in Chicago, having dealt with the righteous of your stripe, adopted a policy of clipping, inking out, or punching a hole through the old price on a book. Santa Blogs does not do this because it a) marks up the book, which, oddly, does not make it priceless and b) leaves you with a lot of little triangles of paper saying “$2.95”. There is no market for these.
Anyway, as Santa Blogs suggested earlier, you can always step into the bookstore and look around at things selling at their marked price. It’ll be good for you. I sense that you have not recently paid retail for anything. Didn’t I see you at that secondhand egg nog sale?