Aspen wigging me out

So a week or two ago we received our one-volume, softbound supplement to Wigmore.  It was pretty thick, and the quality of the analysis is probably very good.  But the price was $ 522.00 (and that’s without shipping – I forgot what the total was). 

Today’s mail brought another Aspen supplement:  The Law of Lawyering, Third Edition, by Geoffrey Hazard, William Hodes and Peter Jarvis.  I don’t know how many pages it is, because it’s shrink-wrapped and we might be sending it back, so I don’t want to open it.  But I measured it with a ruler:  It’s less than 1/2 inch of paper, and its price is $ 302.00.  I don’t have a scale handy, but it can’t weigh but a half-pound or so, yet its shipping and handling cost is $ 26.00.

Can our students become good lawyers without The Law of Lawyering?  I think so.  And brilliant as our students are, the name Wigmore doesn’t mean a whole lot to them.  We probably won’t cancel Wigmore — at least not this year.  But with the economy the way it is, budget cuts are not unforeseeable.  Publishers, please take note:  there is a very strict limit to how many $ 500 books — or $300 for that matter — this library can buy under our current situation, and if our budget is cut, well that’ll be a whole nother story.

2 thoughts on “Aspen wigging me out

  1. You tell ’em! It would take a good deal of careful analysis of these supplements to tell how much new material is actually being added. But I am skeptical about that, as well. But even if every little bit is new and really great, that is just a whole lot of money to charge. That’s outrageous.

  2. This is not a new problem, of course, though its scale has grown to match the depredations of Wall Street. 30 years ago I analyzed in detail the changes or additions in an expensive supplement from a publisher that has since been purchased and found little to justify a subscription. It is my belief that for treatises the value is largely in the original publication to which the author gave his full attention and not in the supplements that I believe to be issued by flunkies of the publisher or, at best, students hired by the author. Buy the original; skip the supplement; save your money for more monographs.

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