Pulitzer-winning journalist and best-selling author Richard Ben Cramer died on Monday at 62 from complications of lung cancer.
Although Cramer was well known for his profile of Ted Williams for Esquire (the magazine considers the piece one of the best stories it has ever published) and much-lauded biography of Joe DiMaggio in 2000, he is best known in political circles for his 1992 book “What It Takes.”
“What It Takes” is a 1,000-page remembrance of the 1988 presidential election profiling candidates George H.W. Bush, Michael Dukakis, Bob Dole, Richard Gephardt, Gary Hart and Joe Biden.
News of Cramer’s death has obviously rekindled (or should I say, reKindle-d) interest in “What It Takes,” as the book is currently sitting at #8 on Amazon’s best-selling Kindle nonfiction chart. The book is #16 on Amazon’s overall best-seller chart, and is currently ranked first in the bookseller’s “elections” subsection.
Most interesting are the prices. Sure, you can get an electronic copy for $9.99. You can purchase a paperback copy for
$15 $13.75. But a copy of the hardback edition, listed on Amazon by private sellers, will set you back a cool $462.06 for a new copy, plus $3.99 for shipping.
A “good” used copy currently costs $299.75 and a “very good” used copy costs $309.02.
This may be caused by a bot pricing war, but it also might just be people trying to seize on the increased demand for Cramer’s book. I’m betting on the former, however, since a used copy of the DiMaggio book sells for $2.10.
UPDATE (1:39 p.m.): Actually, maybe people really are jacking up the cost. Half.com is listing an original edition of the book for $96.87, and a 1998 reprint for $73.15.