24 April 2008

What Goes Around Doesn't Always Come Back Around

A student told me about this earlier today, and I couldn't believe it. Yet here's proof:

Aristotelis opera /

ex recensione Immanuelis Bekkeri, edidit Academia regia borussica ; accedunt fragmenta scholia index Aristotelicus.
v.1 Renewed - Due on 05-10-08
v.5 Renewed - Due on 05-10-08
CU: Mullen Library Stacks
Call Number:
PA3890 .A2 1960
Number of Items:
Library Has:
v.1-2 v.4-5

In the Mullen Library at the Catholic University of America, the Berlin Academy Aristotle circulates (this student has the two borrowed volumes in her room)! I was told that other, even more valuable rare books are in the stacks.

(What's the market price for each volume -- $1000 ... $2000 ... ?)


Crantor said...

Less. It's free.


(171 MB as a PDF, 4.6 MB as text)

Michael Pakaluk said...

Victor, Do you know generally how the availability of digitized versions has affected the price of valuable books? Do they retain their value nonetheless? (I'm wondering now whether my Bekker has become worthless, of course!) M

Alexander R Pruss said...

I don't think the market value of rare and old books is significantly affected by digitized books, just as it would not be significantly affected by cheap reprints. The person who buys a $1000 volume is typically not buying it primarily for the contents. After all, if it were the contents one wanted, if the book were in good shape, one could just photocopy it (it's out of copyright) and then sell the original.

(I have a 19th century Oxford version of Bekker. Oxford unfortunately typeset it anew, so it doesn't have Bekker pagination. I got it for about $120, or about $10 per volume. It also comes with penciled notes by the previous owner improving on Bekker's textual choices in the De Caelo.)

Anonymous said...

CU Mullen often has some of the most unexpected books. If I'm looking for some obscure book or philosophy journal from early in the last century, if it's going to be anywhere, it's going to be Mullen.

Anonymous said...

I remember when I was an undergraduate (late 60's) the Boeckh edition of Pindar, also Berlin Academy I believe, was available for checkout in the stacks. I never did, just picked it up occasionally to revel in its sheer physical beauty.

The other thing I used to paw was the old bound NYTimes volumes with writeups of ball games with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig playing.