…though not Phil this time. Once again I am after a rather nice book. Not quite in the same league as my quest for Don Quixote, but still, it would be nice to have a good edition. This time, the object of my desire is Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Another classic that I would love to read and in a nice edition.
I recall as a child watching an old black and white movie based on the book; or rather I watched it on a black and white TV – I know not if it were colour or black & white. The film frightened me in parts whether it were the application of tattoos to human flesh, or the stern mariner, or the white beast itself. There seemed to be a thought or two running through the narrative that I’d like to revisit. I’d like to rewatch the movie I saw but moreso, I’d like to read the book itself.
In 2009, The Folio Society released a limited edition (LE) of Moby Dick and it is this version that I desire most. I have quite a few Folio Society books, which I’ve either bought secondhand in the UK, or inherited from my father, not to mention the Don Quixote. The last being my first LE I think and a beautiful book it is. The obvious answer is to join The Folio Society and buy the book direct. Given the number of Folio books I want this should be the easiest path to follow.
Unfortunately, I discovered a year or two back, that Folio discriminate against the Australian market substantially with massive markups. Even worse, if I were to order direct from the UK, I would still be charged the Australian price. In the case of Moby Dick that means paying Oz$470 instead of Oz$270 plus postage and handling. As can be seen from the previous link (and conversation), Folio is happy to set higher rates (excluding delivery costs) for non UK customers.
With that said, it is hard to lay all the blame at the feet of Folio, as books in Oz have been substantially overpriced for many years. The glories of the internet have revealed, through comparisons of pricing from local retailers vs Book Depository, Amazon, etc., that locals are overcharged for books (and other items) and have been so, for a long, long time. The exception here is that for most books, I can order from Amazon or Book Depository and pay the cheaper price. However for The Folio Society, even if I order from the UK, I will still be charged the exorbitant Australian pricing. The only way round this is to fly to London and buy from their premises.