Remember when books cost $1.50 or less? Remember?
I remember a few years ago when this book first came out. Brentano's Beverly Center wasn't going to get one because we probably couldn't sell it, wrong clientele. But Brentano's Century City was getting one. I couldn't fathom paying $2,500 for a book...a book so big it came with its own stand. Especially a book of Helmut Newton's photography. He's never really impressed me that much, certainly not $2,500 worth of impression. As if I would even have that kind of money anyway. It's all about the packaging I suppose. Now, granted, the books I'm going to list here are mostly, if not all, published by Taschen
, and I like
Taschen. They put out some very nice art books. However, isn't this
a little ridiculous as well? Again, Araki, never really took to his work either.
Basically, you're paying over a grand for a glorified, "arty", dirty picture book. It's the name. You're paying for the packaging and the name
These books are limited press, numbered, signed, encased in slick packaging and are "immediate collectors items". We're getting at least 3 of the (SUMO) Helmut Newton books and they're already promised to customers. We had one of the Arakis and it already sold. It stood behind the back counter on satin, with little vases of flowers next to it, like a shrine. No one was allowed to touch it. No one was allowed to look at it. Potential customers had to browse through sample booklets. This, amazes me. I love books. This is common knowledge. But books were meant to be used, lovingly abused. My roommate, doesn't like it when the spine of her books are creased, even a mass market paperback. That, to me, is absurd. Books are by no means indestructible, but they were meant to be well-worn, in my opinion.
So yes, the Newton, the Araki, both sold.
Now, as of yesterday evening when I left there, we had 6 of these
left. If I were going to buy any of these books, this would be the one. Not only is the packaging VERY well designed and CREATIVE, not just slick...but the photos are amazing, the images I've seen from the browsing catalog anyway. And at $200, I suppose it's much cheaper. But I'm not a slobbering Marilyn fan, just casual one, so that's a complete no go. The store started out with 13 of these I think, now down to 6. 3 of them we sold yesterday.
Along those lines, the film/Marilyn lovers are buying this
. Yesterday at the beginning of my shift, we had 3. By the time I left, 1. It was amazing to see these people dropping that much cash on one book and not batting an eye. So many $300-$700 dollar sales...all for Christmas presents.
I lied, Rizzoli put out this
New York book. And it does look pretty great, but not only can we not open up the book...I'd be afraid to touch it.
Who wants a book you're scared to look at, for fear of damaging its "price tag". Christ, I cringe spending $25-$30 on a simple hardback book...which is also
ridiculous by the way.
What was the point of this?
No point really, other than to point out how ridiculous some things are, the ever-growing price tag. I suppose there are the creators, the consumers, the collectors, and the indifferents. It would just be nice if some of the creators and consumers could afford to buy a book without taking out a loan.
Big business in art, in literature. How boring, how ugly.
Such lack of reason, common sense, in the world today.
I'm going home now.p.s. All of the Taschen books are going up at least $50-$100 as of January 1st. Better act now. ;p