decline of the modern library
billdi at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 28 16:04:25 EDT 2006
I think there are two things going on in this discussion -- pricing and
collecting. While pricing is directly related to collecting, collecting does
not have to be related to pricing at all, at least as defined by the "free
market." One can always opt out of an insane ebay auction -- I have done so
numerous times on many editions that I really wanted for my collection. If
the auction goes beyond the price for the same book through ABE or Biblio --
which probably are better indicators of market value than ebay anyway -- I
will get the book that way. I have done this for many books when the bidding
on ebay went too high.
There is a yin and yang to collecting -- nothing beats the thrill of finding
something for virtually nothing when you know the item is more valuable and
will continue to appreciate in value, but I have also passed on books (or
watches or whatever) that are too expensive because I'll probably find them
at the price points I want to pay down the road. This has happened several
times for me on ebay.
I'm not into ML collecting to buy low and sell high, although I enjoy
watching MLs increase in value. But that will happen with anything that's
old and increasingly scarce. I collect MLs because I want to keep them and
read them and pass them on to my children. Their market value is not crucial
to me, a good home is.
I think there is a decline in ML interest because there is a general decline
in reading, and because the classic ML strategy disappeared in 1970, meaning
that there is no real differentiation today between the current ML brand and
any other hardback brand. For ML what is past is not prologue -- and it is
a shame that RH has drifted so far from its ML roots. A generation of
potential readers and collectors has grown up with little or any exposure to
the ML that was once abundant in schools and bookstores.
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