Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wanted for publishing with intent to be scarce.

Every once in a while I wonder what it would take to own a copy of Project: Telstar, an award winning anthology from AdHouse Books (and including some work by Joel Priddy). Right now it looks like $90 can get you this $17 book, but if that falls through there's a couple more at $400. This just leads me to wonder why AdHouse does these with the intent of only publishing a few. I wonder who it is supposed to benefit. This book isn't expensive at the cover price with nearly 200 pages and fancy inks.

Following Project: Telstar, there has been Project: Superior (sold out) and Project: Romantic (available, for now). So who does it benefit that these are scarce? Near as I can tell, it doesn't benefit the artists who did the work or the publisher who took the chance. As the price of the books goes up, they're getting nothing from it. Only collectors are making money and that just doesn't seem like the people who should be benefiting. But then I buy a book to sit on the couch with it and read it, not to keep it in a special bag for five years when the publisher has decided not to print more and sell it off for as high as some poor buyer might go.

Perhaps it was to drive the collectible status of the later ones? Each comes in a limited edition hardcover version as well (like the paperbacks aren't limited) and the numbers on those have been going up. Only 100 for Telstar, 200 for Superior, 500 for Romantic were printed. And those of us who are too late wanting the robot one are just out of luck.

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