Comments and Observations on New Feature

Scot Kamins kamins at
Thu May 12 13:06:50 EDT 2005

On May 12, 2005, at 8:48 AM, HTatML at wrote:

> I think that scarcity on its own is not particulary helpful. ... I 
> think that scarcity on its own is rather irrelevant. What matters is 
> scarcity in relation to demand. That is what determines price. A thing 
> can be extremely rare, like one of a kind of something. But if nobody 
> wants it, scarcity hardly matters.

It depends on the goal. I find it extremely interesting to think that 
certain books, although not particularly scarce, command very high 
prices. The example of the Dante-illustrated Cervantes pops to mind. 
While the Guide shows this book to be expensive because of its demand 
(it being a cross-collectable in at least three communities - Dante, 
ML, illustrateds), it doesn't show what I consider to be  its relative 
commonality. My interest happens to be in the scarcity of pieces in my 
collection rather than in their market value.

> What does it mean first of all. Scarcity of the title whatever the 
> condition? Scarcity in dust jacket? Scarcity of the first? Scarcity in 
> relation to size of printing? Scaricty in fine condition? Scarcity 
> signed. etc

Yes, these are indeed sticky considerations - but I think they are 
manageable. Since most collectors want books in dust jackets, I would 
have a first-cut limit to books with DJs. Since it's the most common 
case that better DJs are scarcer than worn ones, there's a second 
limitation. I would think that absolute scarcity nearly always depends 
on the printing. And so on.

Consideration would have to be given to exceptions, and I think that 
there's where real value and interest lies and where the real 
contribution would be - the surprises that emerge in the analysis of 
collected data.

Scot Kamins

"We must be the change we want to see in the world."  ~ Gandhi
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