Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Economics of coin book publishing

Bekircan Tahberer suggested (on the coinstudies list) that RPC 7, 8, and 9 have been finished by Edoardo Levante but funds cannot be found to publish them.

Volume 1, which sells for $700 and is offered at even higher prices, indicates a desire from collectors for the series. Perhaps the British Museum Press doesn't think academic libraries are ready to acquire the rest of the series, and that they make up the bulk of buyers?

RPC 7 part 1 is to be published this year, so mr. Tahberer is perhaps talking about 7 part 2? David Brown Book Co is offering the title and claims the author is Marguerite Spoerri Butcher. Amazon is taking pre-orders, and claims the authors are Ivana Marková, Per Linell, Michele Grossen, and Anne Salazar Orvig.

I stumbled across a thread on Collectors Universe on the economics of publishing books on US numismatics. The post by user and book author C. D. Daughtrey (AKA 'coppercoins') is especially worth reading.

'coppercoins' claims that although 'the Red Book' has a print run of 75,000 copies the typical book on US coins has a run of 1,000 to 3,000 copies. Mr. Daughtrey self-published his book and quotes his costs. Looking Through Lincoln Cents is paperback, spiral bound, and only 5.2"x8.8" inches, assume a bigger book will cost more. Amazon seems to offer an earlier edition, and has 'Search inside this book' enabled.

1 comment:

RJO said...

I have a lot more books than I do coins, but the price of numismatic references still astounds me. I have hundreds of academic references in a variety of fields, but almost none compare in price to recent scholarly numismatic publications. If it were just a matter of high cost initial it would be one thing, but they always seem to go out of print very fast and then cost even more in the after-market. If that's happening, clearly the publishers are misjudging the quantity needed, not to mention the profit potential. (It's the first copy that is consumes the greatest expense; producing another 1000 costs far less.) I would love to have a set of RPC, as well as any number of other titles, but that doesn't look very likely in the near future. If they'd cut the price in half they might well sell more than twice as many.