Author Topic: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society  (Read 1578 times)

The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« on: March 13, 2021, 11:55:34 PM »
I get a lot of facebook ads promoting the Folio Society . They are essentially now a boutique publisher that specialise in really high quality editions of classic literature with specially commissioned illustrations, etc. As a book obsessive that does appeal to me, but whenever I venture onto their site the prices just make wince. Here's a couple of examples:



£35 for a 64 page book??



Reprint of classic Captain America? Eighty-five smackers to you, squire!



Always meant to get around to reading Gene Wolfe's classic Book Of The New Sun duology, maybe instead of paying my council tax I could fork out £125 for this instead?

I wonder who the target audience is meant to be, I guess they're going mainly for the hardcore book collectors instead of yer average Johnny Waterstones, but it is frustrating, as I'd love to own some of these but can't really justify the outlay.

Has anyone ever taken the plunge with any of these and do you regret it?

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2021, 12:20:07 AM »
Some of those are beautiful items but who the fuck is buying them?

Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2021, 03:35:09 AM »
You used to see folio editions around a lot in second hand stores - I think they had a subscription service so people were getting a lot of books they didn't really want.

I picked up their five book Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series from a few places used, they're nice books but I wouldn't have paid full price.

That said, I am seriously thinking of getting that Book of the New Sun set as it's one of my favourite series and it works out fairly reasonably price-wise for four books - especially as other high end editions of the series are going for thousands of dollars online. The market for these books is definitely people way more interested in collectables than something to read - just check out Suntup Press if you want to be amazed at prices for the kind of books they're giving (regular editions) away of out the front of your local op shop

Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2021, 04:30:49 AM »
I actually have a fair number of these that I've accumulated over the years, mostly stuff they put out 10-15 years ago that you can now get on eBay for under $20. Most I've ever spent on one was like $50 for their long out of print version of Paradise Lost with the William Blake illustrations, and that was totally worth it.

I am curious who buys all the new ones at full price though.

Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2021, 06:50:54 AM »
That said, I am seriously thinking of getting that Book of the New Sun set as it's one of my favourite series and it works out fairly reasonably price-wise for four books - especially as other high end editions of the series are going for thousands of dollars online. The market for these books is definitely people way more interested in collectables than something to read - just check out Suntup Press if you want to be amazed at prices for the kind of books they're giving (regular editions) away of out the front of your local op shop

Pretty much all the novels I own are dog eared paperbacks that have been thrown around in my luggage in the back of some Patagonian trailer but I admit that is definitely tempting, does feel like it plays into the nature of the book and does have some character to it beyond the typical fantasy covers.

I'v got a history of paying a decent amount(the most I think around that price) for some books I spose but more art/photography stuff were quality reproduction in a large format is never going to be cheap, not really stuff I'v bought as a "collector".


timebug

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Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2021, 09:08:31 AM »
I own one Folio Society book, among my 3000-odd collection. I own it simply because it turned up in our local (and very good) second hand bookshop about twenty years ago, for a fair price! I think I paid about a fiver for it, and as it is beautifully illustrated and comes with it's own slipcase,I reckoned it was good value. It was a book I already owned in paperback, but the luxury of this edition just appealed to me. Sadly, our good second hand bookshop closed not long after,as the owner died.

Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2021, 11:22:11 AM »
The market for these books is definitely people way more interested in collectables than something to read - just check out Suntup Press if you want to be amazed at prices for the kind of books they're giving (regular editions) away of out the front of your local op shop

Yeah, I guessed that was probably the case. Looking around online and I can see quite a few Folio editions being sold second hand, so I guess it might be worth keeping an eye on Abebooks/ebay for them.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2021, 11:57:06 AM »
...they're nice books but I wouldn't have paid full price.

That said, I am seriously thinking of getting...

That’s how they get you!

As my wife pointed out, a lot (some? Most?) of these are public domain books so they are properly extracting the Michael charging hundreds of quid for The Three Musketeers or whatever.

Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2021, 04:14:59 PM »
That’s how they get you!

As my wife pointed out, a lot (some? Most?) of these are public domain books so they are properly extracting the Michael charging hundreds of quid for The Three Musketeers or whatever.

You're right for some of their titles, but they do put a shift in for others, so it balances out. The only one of theirs I've ever wanted (because I knew the bloke who'd done all the reproduction work on it) was the Mappa Mundi facsimile.

They do take a bit more care than your standard UK publisher over setting, illustration and materials. I don't think the people who subscribe do it purely for investment purposes because they'd find out pretty quickly that most of these editions tend to go down in value rather than up.

They also do as much of their production in the UK & Europe as possible, so you can rest assured that you haven't subsidised a forcibly relocated Uyghur child slave's existence.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2021, 04:35:49 PM »
They are undeniably beautiful objects, and I’ve had to stop looking at them because I’m a sucker for old maps and copies of my favourite books. There’s a version of The Silmarillion I have my eye on, but I must have 3 copies of it (and another on my kindle) already.

The only reason I sent the link to Mrs Ferris and a few friends with a kind of “ho ho look how expensive this version of Lord of the Rings is” or whatever is in case one of them takes it as a hint and buys it for me next birthday or Christmas, so not only have I fallen for it, I don’t even have the minerals to stand behind my decision and want someone else to do the dirty work of buying me an expensive book.

Pathetic.

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Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2021, 10:01:00 AM »
These aren't really books to be read are they? They're decorative items, with the added bonus that they link to something you're a fan of in a way that something like a Toby jug doesn't.

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Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2021, 09:19:02 PM »
I’ve got quite a lot of these and I absolutely fucking love them. Most recently got Something Wicked This Way Comes and it’s gorgeous, the cover is a really lurid yellow and the illustrations are beautifully fucked up and weird. I do read them and it’s always a pleasure, lovely thick pages and really well made.

Their Wizard of Earthsea edition is my favourite I think, amazing earthy illustrations by David Lupton. He’s done The Dispossessed and Left Hand of Darkness as well but I’d love more Earthsea ones.

I don’t have it but check out this edition of I Am Legend with Dave McKean art. Good Christ I want this.

Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2021, 01:03:01 PM »
I did illustrations for a self-published children's book author in the US last year and he listed it on Amazon for $45 (about 32 quid). Are the production costs for hardcover books just really high? I imagine if you're a popular author and can get a bulk order of 100,000+ you can sell them for half that but if it's a limited edition it possibly needs to be that expensive for them to make any money.

Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2021, 07:00:42 PM »
If you think the Folio Society are taking the piss...

https://thesistinechapel.callaway.com/order

Shaky

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Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2021, 07:45:51 AM »

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2021, 11:44:22 AM »

Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2021, 06:48:12 PM »
If you think the Folio Society are taking the piss...

https://thesistinechapel.callaway.com/order

Look again at the listing - a pair of cotton gloves are also included. Given that these often retail for two quid, you’re actually only paying £1,648 for the books.

*edit* that’s on the basis on how much I read the price, rather than the actual price.

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Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2021, 08:48:42 PM »
the perfect midlife crisis purchase

Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2021, 11:55:07 AM »
Oddly enough, I've been selling my Folio Society books on eBay precisely because of how much they're worth. This, coupled with my growing feeling that they're actually very tacky. Give me a nice old Penguin paperback any day.

I just got rid of my Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected. I got good money for it and, fuck me, it was shit. Horrible illustrations, unremarkable internal typography, and it took up a tonne of shelf space.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2021, 02:49:46 PM »
Yeah my preference is always to find an old copy second-hand, but there are so few old booksellers these days it makes it tough. I have a lovely old copy of Das Kapital for example, which is one of the few books that has travelled with me as I’ve moved about. A lot of them just went in boxes or charity shop.

buttgammon

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Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2021, 10:02:44 PM »
Yeah my preference is always to find an old copy second-hand, but there are so few old booksellers these days it makes it tough. I have a lovely old copy of Das Kapital for example, which is one of the few books that has travelled with me as I’ve moved about. A lot of them just went in boxes or charity shop.

The prices are a real problem sometimes too. You occasionally find bargains in Oxfam and on their website (I got a lovely Finnegans Wake hardback on there that was much cheaper than it should have been), but back when they were actually open, I'd often go to bookshops and think fuck it, I'm not paying that.

Admittedly, this may be skewed a bit by the fact that I sort of collect James Joyce books and his books are very susceptible to price inflation.

Re: The Ludicrous Prices Of The Folio Society
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2021, 02:14:51 AM »
I'm always a bit suspicious of the whole "manufactured collectable" side of book collecting - these fancy super-expensive reprints of books that are already all over the place. I like a nice edition of a favourite book as much as the next person, but putting one out thirty years later and saying "we're only printing two dozen so it'll cost you a grand" is taking the piss a bit.

If you really want a collectable, save up and buy a first edition (or find one going cheap in an op shop like everyone else).

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