August 12, 2006

Dear, it is just Tim Harford’s book!”

Sir, Tim Harford, August 12, in trying to explain why his book is priced £17.99 and not rounded to £18.00, as this does seems insulting a buyer’s intelligence, reaches deep into his bag of excuses and proves to all of us that, in this department, he is a quite resourceful young man, mumbling something of having to come up with change reduces the risk of the salesman pocketing the full 18. Now, I as a writer, who also have a book listed at 17.99, albeit payable in much more humble US dollars, would just point my finger to the merchants. In fact, when I asked for my book to be priced at 18.01, as I wanted to send a clear message that it was worth 18, and then some, my request was blithely ignored with a very hard to counter “we know more about book buyers than you”.

Giving second thoughts to this whole pricing issue, it appears to me that a 17.99 also gives the transaction a quite attractive bona-fide ring since when it appears on your credit card statement no one would ever think of it as something else than book or something similarly serious. From here on whenever I have a couple of drinks with my friends I will ask the bartender to make out the tab to 17.99 so that… “Oh Dear, that’s Tim Harfords’s book!” If they would just send me the £0.01 for the copyright to this idea I could then probably afford to give away my book, for free, though, unfortunately, few read a free copy. (Why is that? Mr. Harford?)