From Existence to God: A contemporary Philosophical Argument by Barry Miller. Hardcover book published 1992.
Faith is a funny thing and I don’t really want to get into a philosophical argument about it… particularly anything contemporary. My faith is when i put my trust in the information i have and ride the roller coaster even though there is the chance that there will be a terrible accident… I have faith that I will complete the ride and not die in a screaming mess of rollercoaster bits and human flesh. Another good and totally unrelated example, is not to eat too much fatty food as its bad for you… or don’t go too fast on the freeway as you’ll get a speeding ticket… these are all things that I believe to be true and I have faith in the information available… maybe not 100% faith but from the evidence I reckon these things are close to “truths”. This book is a prime example of a time to question faith.
When I bought this book, as per usual, I did a quick www search of my regular reference points and sources of information, and nearly gasped out loud (nearly). There was only one listing of this title and it was priced at over $2,000 (… the exact figure escapes me, trust me though it was over 2 grand). I usually have faith in this sort of www information and price items accordingly, keeping in mind a few other realistic factors (condition, topicality, pure outrageousness of the www price etc etc). Now, the rarity of a book comes down to a lot of unknown and varied factors as well as faith. I read that something is rare and… well it’s probably rare (please note the use of the word “probably” this is not a definite). In this instance only 1 listing worldwide is a good indicator that it is more than likely a rare item. To be completely honest, my faith in this information is never 100%, but it tends to be pretty high. $2,000…??? My faith quickly wavered when I considered the book in hand, I could never imagine selling this title (…particularly this title) for that much money. No one has that much faith… or at least I don’t think they do.
So a few weeks later I’m ready to put this little gem on the market and low and behold there’s now a copy on the www for about $250. Now I don’t know about you, but I reckon this is a very large price decrease in just a few weeks… the other amazing piece of information is the number of copies now for sale. As I write this blog entry there are 7 copies listed on bookfinder and none of them are over $418.37. So where did the over $2,000 price tag come from and what happened to it? Did the book sell or did the seller loose faith?
If there is only one of something… its rare. There is only the one and realistically a seller can ask whatever they want for it… even $2,000. My theory is that someone (bookseller) has found that they had the only copy of this book for sale at a particular time and priced it at what they considered a good price… they must have had a lot of faith… $2,000 worth of faith… although the truth is that I don’t know whether they sold it at that price or not… my gut feeling is that they didn’t and have now repriced the book appropriately. Personally I’d be more than happy with just 250 bucks in my pocket.