Saturday, 30 July 2011
When it's gone, it's gone
Just sold the last pair of Barry Sheene gloves, despite all sorts of caveats on our website about how lightweight and unsuitable for riding thy are (although I wore mine on the Giro) and really don't know whether I'll recommission another batch. Similarly I've just ordered the Phil Aynsey Ducati book from sole European distributor Disco Volante - looks expensive at £65, but there are now just four left. That means £65 will look cheap next year. Why? Supply and demand.
Take good friend of Team Benzina's, Richard Skelton. His book, Funky Moped had an RRP of £15, discounted to just a tenner by WH Smiths. But now they're all gone, and copies already regularly top £30 on eBay. Looking for something else, I spotted my 50 Years of Ducati book (£15 in the bargain bucket at the NEC) now makes over £120. Eek, better keep it away from the teething puppy...
Folk will ask why the publisher doesn't reprint, but it's rarely worth it. A hardback need to be a run of at least 1,000 copies, which will cost the same as a really nice motorbike. A run of 2,500 to 5,000 is more like it, which will cost the same as a holiday cottage in France. Would you risk it?
Not when you discover that the resellers (Amazon, Smiths, bookshops et al) expect to trouser north of half the cover price, sometimes plus a listing fee. The publisher needs to make a judgement call, and so do we. If you want something and can afford it, buy it. You'll hopefully still appreciate the book (or bike, or meal out) long after you've forgotten what you paid for it.