My friend made a telling observation in a bookshop the other day. I was looking at the Allen Ginsberg--William Burroughs' collaboration The Yage Letters and thinking I might buy it. Then I flipped the book over to the back and noted the £13.99 price.
My friend, who most definitely isn't a cheapskate like yours truly (I probably wouldn't pay £13.99 for my own funeral), was visibly shocked: "My God," she said, "no wonder nobody reads books anymore."
If The Yage Letters had been a large volume, like War And Peace or Ulysses ,perhaps an elevated cover price would have been justified. If it had been a limited edition hardback version of the same book with photographs and notes not availiable anywhere else, I might have considered it.
But this was a paperback, and slight enough to be read by an enthusiastic reader in two toilet sittings. And I am an enthusiastic reader. Just ask anyone who's ever been to the Bard Gaff.
Like my friend says, no wonder nobody reads books anymore. You can get a return ticket to Birmingham New Street from Northampton for less money than that. Or ten bottles of cheap lager. Both of which, I don't doubt, would bring you much more satisfaction.