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Why pay extra for a collectible?

April 21, 2011
by seth godin

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Why pay for a book at all?

When you think about it, there’s really no compelling reason to buy a book that you don’t need to read right now and own forever. The local library, after all, will be happy to lend you a copy.

And if you want to be is informed, there are plenty of ways to find out what’s in a typical non-fiction book. The idea isn’t protected, the Cliffs Notes might suffice.

And yet we buy books. Some of us (pointing finger at myself) buy a lot of books.

A book is a fabulous souvenir, a long-lasting, easily displayed, easily shared, makes-you-happy remembrance of an idea. Buying a book is a little bit of philanthropy, a way to support an author you respect. A book, multiplied, is a personal library, and a personal library is a testament to your curiosity, generosity and intellect.

So, yes, go find out the thing you need to know, right now, from Wikipedia. But yes, also yes, go own that treasured idea or story in hardcover.

Which leads to our line of collectible books. Do the Work, our latest bestesller, comes in a $65 collectible edition. Limited to just a few hundred. Signed by the author. (Benefiting the author). And packaged with a laser engraved hunk of steel that you can slam on your desk, throw through a window or lend to a friend. Who definitely doesn’t own one.

Collectible editions aren’t for everyone. Which is precisely the point. I wish other publishers would sell them to readers like us. If you keep buying them, we’ll keep making them.

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