Some art books skyrocket in value just a few years after they’re published. How much cash is sitting on your coffee table?
"After witnessing the staggering after-market success of “Helmut Newton: Sumo” — which cost $1,500 when it came out in 1999 and is now worth 10 times that much — the art publisher Taschen has invested in making more of its books good investments. The company’s gigantic limited-run “art editions,” many of which come with signed gelatin prints, are specifically designed to appreciate in value. Some, like Mario Testino’s 2010 book on Kate Moss — which had a $500 list price and currently resells for $2,000 — do this very quickly. […]
Charles Miers, the publisher of Rizzoli, attributes this new market dynamic to a “subliminal enthusiasm for bespoke books,” which he said is increasing just as Kindles and iPads threaten to make other printed books obsolete. “We just wish that enthusiasm reached a wider reader,” he said. “The funny thing with some of these books that double or triple in price is that they often didn’t retail well and only find a new value on AbeBooks or Amazon after they’ve been remaindered. It’s a kind of ironic devaluation and then hyperinflation.”
Left: “Sleeping by the Mississippi’’ by Alec Soth, Original Price: $40. Now: $1,500.
Right: ‘‘Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961-1967’’. Original Price: $1,800. Now: $14,000.
The Bibliophile’s 401(k)
“There is no shortage of wonderful writers. What we lack is a dependable mass of readers.”
“The books we need are the kind that act upon us like a misfortune, that make us suffer like the death of someone we love more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we were on the verge of suicide, or lost in a forest remote from all human habitation—a book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us.”