[ModLib] Miller: Tropic of Cancer

Ron Holl ron at scribblemonger.com
Sun Jul 20 16:36:44 EDT 2014

Hi Bill,

That is an interesting theory.  I'm not familiar with the sum of tax
changes at that time, where in this case an expense was no longer allowed
but there were cuts in other areas.

I would expect titles to be dropped, rather than prices greatly increased.
 I don't think book prices were elastic enough to allow this and the
publisher would be better off just not publishing if the title was going
to be a poor seller.  In other words, if the publisher had to gamble their
own money rather than the taxpayer's money different decisions would be
made, viz, don't publish.

I've attached a snippet from "The Culture and Commerce of Publishing in
the 21st Century" which has a comment about book prices in the 1970s and
1980s, and it claims book price increases were actually lower in the 1980s
than the 1970s.

In the case of the ML woodcuts, the more expensive jackets are covering
(in some cases) printings of the book indicating First Edition.  Either
the slug was never removed, or the remaining inventory was priced higher
although that is an odd way to get rid of inventory.


> Scot,
> Most book prices doubled or more in the early and mid-1980s during the
> Reagan administration's new tax laws that stopped publishers from writing
> off the value of their unsold inventories.  The only way to guarantee
> covering already-incurred printing and publication costs was to increase
> the price of books...greatly.  That legacy remains.
> Bill
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