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In Search of A Wisdom of Owls

A Wisdom of Owls (Standard Edition)

I’ve looked here, I’ve looked there and there really are no copies of A Wisdom of Owls left in the Avenue Press. Sold out. Completely. Not even a damaged copy at the bottom of a box. Publishing a luxurious case-bound book on an esoteric subject like owls was a real risk in 1998 – or it was if I had even stopped to think about it. And then deciding to publish a limited edition of 500 copies (yes, 500!) must have been the height of madness, yet we sold all the copies within the year.

The Private Press world has a joke that the only chance a private press publisher has of selling an entire edition of a book is on auction of the deceased publisher’s estate. Well, I’m not dead yet!

A brief Internet search for copies for A Wisdom of Owls reveals some interesting copies. I remember when Amazon stocked the book I was thrilled – until I realised that they were selling it at a retail price less than the wholesale price I would be charging them – and I made a contribution to The Barn Owl Trust of 10% of that! Here’s the only copy on Amazon at the moment:

A Wisdom of Owls - Amazon
£225 for a book which only cost £25 at the time. Surely they have their pricing wrong? Well, maybe not, since there’s a copy for sale at the Oxfam shop for £200:
A Wisdom of Owls - Oxfam
Well thank you Oxfam for the quote:

“A rare gem of a book”
Oxfam

Blackwell’s Rare Books have a copy of the Special Edition – the one with a slip-case and a limited edition linocut print, all tied together with red ribbon:

A Wisdom of Owls - Blackwells

£60 seems like a steal after the Amazon and Oxfam prices.

Are there any other copies available? It doesn’t look like it. Well that’s encouraging that people love it so much they don’t want to sell it. Hold on – what’s this? A copy at AbeBooks? Ah. £9.50 plus £3.35 shipping. Oh well.