Response to questions about the cost of the book

    At the Barnes& Noble website that advertises my book, The Politics of Selfishness, an anonymous reader commented in December about the price for the book - $44.00 - that he or she thought to be exorbitant and ironic for a book about selfishness. The price for the book - that is available in hard cover and in electronic formats - has been solely determined by my publisher, Greenwood/Praeger/ABC-CLIO. In its defense, I would emphasize that ABC-CLIO has remained committed to publishing books for those readers who used to be called "the chattering class - educated, independent-thinkers who are willing to be challenged by thoughtful and provocative ideas. The publisher, unlike many publishers who cater to contemporary trends,  enjoys a very small profit margin as it endeavors to market books like mine throughout North America, Europe, and in large parts of Asia including India, Singapore, Japan, as well as in Australia and New Zealand.

      Because the book discusses complicated issues of politics, economics, law and social institutions  from a perspective rooted in the tradition of Western political philosophy," no matter how well-written the book, nor no matter how widely discussed, it will still appeal only a very limited audience, especially in the United States where instant analysis by pundits and spontaneous utterances are the preferred mode of political discourse. Hence, the book is a stark contrast to the vastly more popular, best-selling "political" books that have been written under the names of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and former President George Bush. In addition, because large chain book stores typically demand 50% to 60% discounts from publishers to display books on their shelves, it is unlikely that the book I have written will ever grace the shelves of Borders or Barnes & Noble.

         The reality of the print publishing industry in the second decade of the twenty-first century is that fluff and superficial "easy reads" sell while more thoughtful works, whether fiction or non-fiction, have a difficult time finding traction.

         For those who  cannot afford to buy the book - or are deterred by the price - I would note that large selections of the text are available free, on Google books. In addition, readers may visit my website,, where excerpts from the book along with related themes are frequently posted. The book is also now available in many public libraries (in those locales where they haven't all been closed because citizens refuse to tax themselves to support "big, oppressive government"- i.e., public goods) and in college and university libraries. I am also willing to speak before book clubs, discussion groups and to appear at author events and book-signings. In those settings, my publisher has agreed to make the book available at a discount of 40% off of the list price.              

    Lastly, I would remind Anonymous and other "price-conscious" readers that when one purchases a book that book may remain a life long companion that is always available- "on demand" as it were " - for re-reading, to challenge, and to provide opportunities for further reflection. The cost of two people attending a movie, a sports event, or rock concert in any metropolitan area, after one factors in the cost of parking and refreshments, significantly exceeds the price that ABC-CLIO charges for one to buy the book.
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