Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Why so Expensive?

Welcome "One Ring" readers. I hope you are interested enough to look into the rest of the blog, and I certainly hope you're interested in Tolkien Studies.

I've received a few emails about the price of the text (and a link from BAW, whose toddler seems to be about a year younger than mine: don't despair, it gets much easier very soon; so much easier that you'll go insane and decide to have another one... which is what we just did)

But, yes, Tolkien Studies is quite an expensive book. There are a few reasons. First, the fewer copies you make, the more each has to cost. We are only guessing at the audience for a serious scholarly journal about Tolkien, and WVU Press is taking a real risk, but they're not going to print a huge number of copies and then have to warehouse them. Hence, a high price per copy.
Second, we decided to print the journal as a hard-bound annual to further differentiate it from Mallorn and Mythlore and other paper-bound journals. Mallorn and Mythlore both publish excellent work, but we wanted to occupy a different niche, and 'look and feel' is part of that niche -- but it costs.

Finally, Tolkien Studies is, in the words of someone who has held up a copy (I haven't gotten mine yet) "an absolutely beautiful book." I'm really proud of not only the content, which is great, but of the style and the look. I spent a huge amount of time examining old, beautiful books published by Oxford, Cambridge, etc. and trying to abstract their best features while still retaining the readability of more modern books. I think (if I do say so myself) that it worked, and I think that JRRT would be pleased by the look of the journal.

My contact, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that he's going to buy five or six of the issue and stockpile it: "in ten years this issue #1 will be going for $300 on eBay." That would be cool.

And one last thing: I've learned that if you need out-of-US postage, it's an additional $25 (ouch; try to find some way to get around that, like having a friend buy it for you or something), but if you subscribe rather than just buying an issue, and if you're domestic shipping, you don't have to pay the approx $6 shipping.

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