Putting the Price of ‘Designed by Apple in California’ in Context

Brian Fagioli, writing for BetaNews:

While you may disagree with me that the price is appropriate, let us remember that this is not some book you will bring into your bathroom to read on the toilet. It is intended to be a collectible piece of art. You don’t evaluate the value of a Picasso painting by adding up the cost of the ink and canvas. This is a collection of Andrew Zuckerman photographs meant to be appreciated beyond raw materials.

Heck, some design and art students may want to buy it for college. If you haven’t bought a college textbook in a while, please know that $200 or $300 is not out of line.

A better comparison would be to high-end coffee table books, particularly those from Taschen. I bought their James Bond Archives book for $200, and The Stanley Kubrick Archives was about the same price, but the collector’s edition version of The Making of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” was $1,250, and Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon was even more than that.

Taschen came out with lower-priced editions of those books eventually, but $200/300 is not out of line for a premium book like this. I just think Apple would have been better served allowing someone like Taschen to do it for them, in terms of optics.

My guess is that Apple doesn’t care about the optics — Jony Ive wanted to do this, so of course they were going to do it their way, creating new papers and inks and photographic processes.

And here’s a devil’s advocate take: imagine if Apple had created this exact same book, but only made it available to Apple employees. If that were the case, I suspect there’d have been a clamor today from people begging them to sell it to everyone.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016