Yesterday, I was looking though my email, and opened the latest advertisment from New Falcon Publications. New Falcon is offering for sale five leather bound copies of The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic, one for each element (complete with an unique symbol), signed by Lon Milo DuQuette. They are going to retail for $999 each.
(There is a discount if you buy one before June 5, 2010.)
And my first thought was "Here are five copies of the book that are never actually going to be used."
At a certain price level, occult books hit the point where they are so expensive that their only purpose is as collector items; no one is ever crack the them open to actually use them because to do so would devalue them.
(It reminds me of comic books. There are people who buy comic books, seal them in plastic, solely for their investment value.)
The only exceptation to this tends to be books that a few people use for their "super secret initiated knowledge." And then they will sell you the information for a (large) pretty penny, though they will say it is "freely provided to the members of their Order."
(By the way, if you wrote the book in question, this is ok. I only find this really wrong when a Chief is ripping off the work of other writers and charging outrageous sums for access to the informatio. If you are the one that did the work, assembling it and expending it, you deserve the opportunity to try to make a profit from your own skull sweat.)
In general, expensive occult books do not get used. It does not matter how great a book is, if you put a large enourgh price tag on it, no one will dare open the book in fear of damaging it.
Fortunately for me, and the occult community in general, we now have a ground leveler---the almighty PDF. Say what you will about PDFs, but they allow everyone access to the expensive books without anyone having to worry about damaging the investment value of their expensive copy.