How much would you pay for a book?

What’s the most expensive book you’ve ever bought? While most of us will probably stretch to paying £19.99 for a new hardback as a present for a relative or close friend, I suspect we’re rather more cost conscious when it comes to our own reading.

Whether it’s waiting for the paperback version, downloading it onto Kindle, or waiting until a secondhand copy becomes available, there are ways of keeping the cost of reading down.

However, cost is clearly not a consideration for some people. When I received an email from the publisher about Nicholas Foulkes’ authorised biography of Patek Philippe at £185, I queried the price. But that really is how much it will cost you. If you’re prepared to spend thousands on a timepiece, I suppose a couple of hundred on a book probably won’t trouble your bank balance.

It got me wondering just how expensive books can be. Thanks to Amazon , it’s a simple matter to browse the more expensive end of the book market. Those with price tags in the hundreds of pounds are intriguing selection, with titles that have you wondering what they might be about, and who they might appeal to.


Yet in among the volumes with titles that are probably only understood by a handful of buyers such as `Sunlight and Shade in the First Cities: A Sensory Archaeology of Early Iraq’ at £205.

How about the New Oxford Shakespeare Complete Set which, the blurb tells us, “gives today’s students and playgoers the very best resources they need to understand and enjoy all Shakespeare’s works”. You’d really have to love the Bard to shell out £295. complete-shakespeare

If you are going to buy expensive books, you probably want to make sure you live long enough to read them all.

One addition to your bookshelf that would presumably help is the rather clumsily-titled `World’s Healthiest People Who Live 100 Years More SECRETS REVEALED: Over 100 Years of Longest Life! SECRETS REVEALED, in Best of Health, Success and Happiness! Live the World Centenarians Lifestyle!’


This (hopefully?) life-changing paperback costs £205.

Some of the pricing is bemusing to say the least. If you were desperate for personal finance advice then £233 might seem a lot to download Personal Finance by Jack Kapoor and Les Dlabay to your Kindle. But if it really is an essential purchase, surely you’d opt for a hardcover at just £92.61 or loose leaf at £79.99 ?

On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to appear in The Rich Register 2017: A Directory of America’s Wealthiest People by John Anderson, then the £368 price tag will not trouble you for a moment.

It could be one of the entries in that list who purchases what appears to be the most expensive book currently available on Amazon. An 1896 edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer can be yours for £46,020.

If it appeals, then you’d best get a move on as there’s just one copy available….

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