April 12, 1965


JAMA. 1965;192(2):163. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080150093028

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"Books are too expensive" is a perennial complaint. The purchaser may grumble at rising prices and the publisher who sets and defends the price grumble right back; yet, so long as costs are figured in money, both sides must bow to the laws of economics (which seem to get more and more complicated every year). But the true cost of books receives very little notice. The true cost to the purchaser must be measured not by units of currency but by whatever it is that he gives up in order to make the book his own. Books that are not read cost only money. Books that are read cost a great deal more.

The householder who, to complete his scheme of interior decoration, wants 2 yards of leather-bound volumes, octavo, and 1 foot in black or yellow cloth, quarto, is paying for interior decoration, not for books. And the collector,

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