Luxury Photo Books Still Selling Well?
In these days of fashion and shelter magazines either shrinking or folding and the book industry facing diminished sales could one spot be at the pinnacle of luxury publishing? The Guardian has an interesting piece that says that limited edition luxury photography books are still selling well. One of the biggest in the limited edition book business, Taschen, is still going strong even in this economy. Recently Taschen published MoonFire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing. The book pairs Norman Mailer's work A Fire on the Moon along with photography from the archives of NASA, LIFE magazine and many other sources packaged in aresin case designed by Marc Newson. For $1,000 you get the book along with a Plexiglas-framed numbered photographic print of Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon signed by Aldrin himself. The Guardian says that Taschen sold 150 copies in the first week of release alone. There are an additional 12 copies of the book which will be sold with a piece of lunar meteorite for a price reported to be in the six figures.
Why do these books continue to sell? The magic words "limited edition" and "collectible" seem to have a lot to do with it. These are books meant to be more admired than read, designed to sit on a shelf or table and endure only an occasional flip-through. Benedikt Taschen says spending this much money on a book is an investment and that the prices for these go up over time in many cases. This isn't the case for all art books. I visit my favorite used book store frequently and the huge art books are priced below list unless they are signed or extremely rare. Many of Taschen's ultra-pricey books fall into that category but the bulk of their books in the $30-$200 range sit on the discounted shelf like the rest.