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Re: Super-Deluxe Sigurd & Gudrun

Subject: Re: Super-Deluxe Sigurd & Gudrun
by Khamûl on 2009/3/2 6:26:17

I agree with much of what has been said; but this subject seems to strike at the very heart of what collecting is for many collectors -in this case collectors of Tolkien.

I guess HarperCollins believe (and rightly so) that there must be collectors of Modern First Editions (and Modern 20th century authors generally) who would wish to acquire a Super De Luxe signed book like CoH. But surprisingly, the market for this kind of book looks extremely small judging by the reasonable difficulty they have had shifting 500 copies over a period of nearly two years now.

Sales have been driven (because of the method of distribution) by collectors, and not the book trade itself. In a way it has been (I guess) an educational process for the publishers, as they have been given a clear indication of what actual demand there is for these types of books. Let's hope lessons have been learnt and the print run, for this undoubtedly less mass appealing title, is lower.

Having said all this, it's interesting quite how many collectors bought multiple copies of CoH. I didn't, but that's only because I did not have the money to do so. You can't get away from the fundamental fact that money (price, value, trade, resale etc) plays a central role in collecting: whether it's searching for value for money; finding that rare book at a car boot sale for pennies (getting that 'bargain'); owning a book that cost money; having a book few others have etcetera.

I disagree with the thinking that says if you don't care about resale & value, then you should not care about what number you receive. Why? I have no intention of selling any book anytime soon. But the number is of interest and appeal; and the thought of resale value is of interest also. Book collectors love the idea that they bought a book for blah amount of money, and now it's worth double that. It's just that little bit more expensive to care about these kind of details.

Another point that Rowns raises (or at least alludes to) is: why not just ignore the initial clamour, and pick up a copy at a later date; either discounted, or even on the second hand market. It won't cost you any more money.

I can't imagine the 1998 De Luxe Silmarillion sold terribly quickly; maybe someone can correct me on that. But now, regardless of demand, you cannot pick up a copy for less that ~£400. This seems (to me) inflated. But it hardly stops the trade listing the books at this price.

Having said all this, for all the trumpeting about buying multiple copies and not buying for resale: all of us have bought a book that we have no intention of physically reading. So we're all nuts!...

BH