Astrolearn astrology library progress report
– No. 25: 14th February, 2016
This has been a difficult week for me. On Tuesday morning, as I was clearing out packaging and recycling, I somehow managed to injure my back to the effect that I could no longer comfortably stand up straight or lie down flat. On Wednesday morning, I reported to a nurse at my local health centre, who advised a mixture of paracetamol and ibuprofen, together with several days of rest and then a gradual return to exercising. In the event, I decided to leave the paracetamol well alone, but bought a packet of ibuprofen tablets from the pharmacy, and took 400 mg of this anti-inflammatory painkiller twice daily for 48 hours before deciding that I didn’t really need it or like its central nervous system effects much, and that rest alone should be enough. I have therefore achieved very little this week. My back has begun to improve, but remains delicate, and I’ll need to allow further time and not push myself with anything for the next few weeks at least. The prognosis is unclear because no image was taken or examination of my spine performed. For now, even simple tasks like cooking and washing up are somewhat hazardous. And since I live alone, I have no-one else to help.
Today, I have rolled back the prices of all Astrolearn DVDs to £59.99 exc. VAT (£74.99 inc. VAT in the EU) each, and those of Astrolearn CDs by 20% from US $24.99 to US $19.99 each. Three of the five DVDs were previously offered for £79.99 exc. VAT. This lowering of prices is an experiment to see what difference it makes to sales, after I came upon an opinion that my prices were high in an online forum. If there is a positive uptake, I may keep the lower prices permanently. If not, this may prove a temporary measure. It all depends on my customer response.
The one exciting piece of collecting-related news this week is that the day before yesterday, an original copy of Alan Leo’s “Four Lectures on Astrology: Esoteric and Exoteric” (1901), his only work to have been published exclusively in India, resurfaced on eBay, priced at US $75, after disappearing from view for almost five years. I spotted it the following day (Saturday 13th February, 2016), and purchased it immediately.
The very same copy of this scarce early work by Alan Leo had previously been listed for sale online at a higher price by Serendipity Books of Berkeley, CA, in the mid-late 2000s, until that store closed down after the death of its locally famous owner, Peter B. Howard, in March 2011. The eBay seller who listed it this week, Eureka Books of Eureka, CA, had purchased all the remaindered stocks of Serendipity Books towards the end of 2013 following various public drop-in sales. It has thus taken almost five years since the death of Mr. Howard for this book to come back to market.
I had originally made an offer for the same copy of the book exactly 7½ years earlier to Mr. Howard, on 13th August 2008. He had declined my offer, and the book had stayed unsold until his death. It seems astonishing to think that it has taken 7½ years from my initial enquiry to conclude the sale, without any other buyer having purchased it in the meantime, but when you consider the chain of events, it stands to reason. These things happen.
Although the book is found in five Worldcat-listed libraries in Europe, including two in the UK, it has proven extraordinarily scarce on the free market these past ten years. The copy formerly owned by Serendipity Books is the only one I have seen for sale. I therefore purchased it without hesitation when it reappeared this week. The price of US $75 may seem a lot for a paperback of just 72 pages from 1901, but this is considerably less than Peter Howard had wanted for it, and when it has proven itself to be that scarce, I was prepared to pay this. I’m looking forward to including it on my eventual Alan Leo Volume 3 DVD, which I hope to publish later this year.
It will take at least two months for me to receive the book here, and more time beyond that for me to afford to get my scanner repaired; but most of the scanning work towards the DVD was already done in the first few months of 2015, and I have only about four books still to scan, then the cropping to undertake, before it will be ready. This may be expected in the summer or Autumn of 2016.
Best wishes to all,