Inflation…or something else?

So, just over a week ago, I bought a copy volume 1, part 1 of the Cambridge Ancient History, mostly for the explanation of the chronology used in all the volumes. I got it used, in near fine condition, for $90, which is quite a deal considering that a new copy is around $150-170 (£110 on the Cambridge University Press site). (Did you know that the CAH volumes used to be printed with gilt top edges? Very nice!) Anyhow, flipping through the book, I found the original invoice, addressed to the former owner, from Blackwell’s. As they said in those days, “Far out!”

The order was placed 16 May 1969, and sent 8 February 1971. The price? £6,8/- (that’s Ancient English for “six pounds, eight shillings”) with the converted amount of $15.36. I nearly choked, I was so shocked. I still am! Gah! In the nearly 35 years since that invoice, these volumes, made more cheaply still (there ain’t no gold on new volumes from Cambridge University Press!), are more than ten times more expensive. It’s absolutely outrageous. What, ho, in another thirty-five? The $1,500 third edition volume 1 part 1, comprising only 14 pages, and that of mostly publishing credits, because it’ll be written by a minimalist who rejects chronology as “too reliant upon the Text as Authority”? I can hardly wait….

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