Friday, October 16, 2009

Shopping for expensive books

Earlier today, I saw a posting on the public HOGD/A&O yahoo group that was basically an Ebay advertisement as well as providing bragging rights for David Griffin. It was about someone offering their copy of the Ritual Magic Manual up on Ebay; starting price a mere ninety-nine dollars (the curent bid is now $100). The seller mentioned that he thinks this is low compared to what others are listing it for.

And yes, I had to go look. Not that I am in the market for a copy...I own a copy already. My copy sits between a reprint of the first volume of the Equinox and a copy of the Blue Equinox; I am not sure how it ended up being placed on the shelf that way, but I do find that the placement appeals to my sense of humor.

Anyway, so I am looking at the other listings of this on Ebay. There are two (both by a different seller; I wonder how many copies they have): one starting at $600, and one at the "buy it now" price of $800.

The price of the book is only slightly cheaper on Amazon: the lowest are starting at $350 and move up into the $400s. And there are a couple copies that have a thousand dollar price tag.

Now everyone who has read my book review of the Ritual Magic Manual knows that I think that the book is perhaps worth the fifty dollars I paid for it, but it is sure not worth no thousand dollars. Even the hundred dollar mark is pushing the envelope in my opinion.

So what I am curious about is: Who is actually paying this amount for this book?

My current theory is that it is not actually occult students buying this book at these inflated rates...I could be wrong; we do get some fools ripe for fleecing by those who are willing to indulge in cult-like behavior. But I feel that it is more likely that it is investors that hope to unload the book on someone else down the line for even more outrageous rates.

(There is a third possibilty...but no one would actually do that would they? Only I am that evil, right?)

Nevertheless, I must admit that I admire this whole business. It is hard to convince people to pay more than ten dollars for an ordinary book, and here we have an out-of-print book going for hundreds of dollars. It reminds me of the stock market...but that may just be my black heart; remember---I do not think it is real occult students paying this book.

So if you are in the market for a copy of the Ritual Magic Manual, hop over to Ebay and check out the listing; you may actually get it cheaper than the Amazon price. I am going to be watching the auction all the while wondering who is actually profiting from this book. Heaven knows that author did not get that much loot from the original sale of the book.

Full disclosure: I am the elected officer of a Golden Dawn based lodge in Denver, Colorado. The opinions expressed do not represent the opinions of my fellow lodge members or the Secret Chiefs (aka the cats). Complaints can be filed with the Secret Chiefs; bribes of tuna will help to gain their prompt attention.

Angry email and comments will be read, but not necessarily approved or commented on. This includes poison ink letters from the author himself. The book review represents my opinion which I am allowed to have as a member of the media; I am not going to rewrite my book reviews just because they upset authors (and it is a long line of authors that hate my book reviews).

Followup---18 October 2009: The book got seven bids and sold for one hundred and fifty dollars, a far sight away from the prices that some are asking for. Maybe it is just the recession...


Peregrin said...

Cute, Morgan cute :)

I too seriously doubt any actual magical practitioner will pay anywhere near the asking price for the book. As to 'who' is selling them...well if the thought is the thing itself, then ‘mea culpa’ as my thoughts went down the same line as yours :)

I think your review just about gives a good assessment of the book. For members of the RR et AC who need to work a lot of this out themselves as part of their discipline, the book is really just a curiosity anyway.

Lavanah said...

"...the Secret Chiefs (aka the cats). Complaints can be filed with the Secret Chiefs; bribes of tuna will help to gain their prompt attention."

Because our household representative of the Secret Chiefs understands (but chooses not to speak)English; we use the sacred names "Tetragrammaton Fish" or "The Four Lettered Fish" in place of the holy frenzy inducing name of "Tuna."