[Sca-cooks] Comparison for Perspective (was: Cookery book at Longleat House?)

Mairi Ceilidh jjterlouw at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 8 08:39:20 PST 2009

The cost of many historical facsimiles, translations, or books based on
historical texts is all over the boards.  Some are pretty expensive.  A year
or so ago we were in London.  We paid the equivalent of $600 for a facsimile
of the Luttrel Psalter.  I have wanted the Book of Kells for ages.  I can
order a CD-ROM from Trinity College, Dublin for about $40.  I've been
looking for a facsimile, figuring there had to be one somewhere.  I finally
found it at the New York City Library Shop.  The cost?  A paltry $18,000.
Yes, that's eighteen-thousand dollars American.  And that is a price
reduction from $20,000.  They've actually sold two of them.  When my husband
wins the Lottery, they will sell another.

Just a bit of food for thought when we're thinking of buying a slice of
history.  Makes the $200 I spent for Soup for the Qan seem like a crop in
the ocean.

Mairi Ceilidh

Actually there may be a need for that price.

In terms of the cookery book marketplace, this is not a book
being put out by Tesco, the BBC, or the Food Network.
This book is not expected to sell in the hundreds of thousands of  
The people working on the book are historians and archivists.
These people are not food or gourmet personalities.

It's being published to benefit Longleat and is owned by Longleat.
That means it will be marketed in a different way.

The point is not to produce a cheap volume but a lasting volume.
The historical cookery book market is tiny. The fine book market is  

Comparable fine books might be the 1616 edition facsimile of Thomas  
Trevillian. Great Book of Thomas
Trevilian. A Facsimile from the manuscript in the Wormsley Library.
Roxburghe Club, 2000.
2 volumes, 252 + 320 pp. London: Maggs Bros Ltd, - £2200

Yes, that's right. 2200 pounds. (There are people in the SCA who have
actually bought the book at that price.)

The facsimile of the Folger Trevillion volume is also available,
The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608 *
A Facsimile Edition of Folger Shakespeare Library MS V.b.232**
* Thomas Trevelyon  Edited by Heather Wolfe
If so many people really care about the book and what it contains then  
why haven't
more people in the USA or around the world care enough about this
book that they already have purchased and own the copy on microfilm?
NOT the UMI copy, but the later microfilmed version that is readable?
It's maybe $140.00 plus you need convenient microfilm readers or pay  
to have it scanned in order to work with it.
Because of copyright you are not allowed to distribute or publish  
anything from it.
But you can own a copy right now to work with.

People make purchase decisions all the time. Some people buy furniture  
or take elaborate
vacations or buy new cars every three years. Some people buy and  
create elaborate SCA pavilions and costumes. Other people buy books  
and collect books and budget for books by not spending money on other  

At perhaps 200 copies at 600 or 700 dollars, will Longleat's  
investment be repaid?
Will they produce a great book with a digital facsimile plus the volume
of adapted recipes? I hope that it is absolutely marvelous and worth  
the money.


On Nov 8, 2009, at 8:12 AM, Elaine Koogler wrote:

> You know, I have to wonder why they price these books so highly.   
> You'd
> think they would understand, with the current interest in Medieval and
> Renaissance cookbooks, that they would sell many more if they would  
> manage
> to keep the cost at a reasonable level.  I know that a similar  
> situation
> existed when "A Soup for the Qan" was published.  The authors were not
> pleased with the fact that Kegan Paul set the price at such a high  
> figure
> that most folks couldn't afford it.
> I know a lot of work goes into getting a book like this ready to  
> publish,
> but they would stand a better chance at getting their investment  
> back if the
> price were more reasonable.  Sigh.  I'd love to have a copy, but  
> there is no
> way I could afford anything like this...and I don't know of many  
> people who
> can!
> Kiri

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