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This is a very interesting question and issue. in valuing work I am going to assume that that really means pricing work. My comments on this phenomena come from the perspective of my being a metalsmith with a curiosity and interest in artist books, especially letterpress and non-traditional bindings.

Over the years I have tried to come to a formula that reflects materials, labor, design, etc. I don't have one that is good or bad. Basically my process is as follows. By any definition it is more magic than science

I start out with a figure of 10x materials (usually gold/silver). That is retail starting point. Experientially that figure includes labor and overhead considerations.

I then consider design issues, difficulty of manufacture, outside services used, custom/production ad other factors that may affect price. The 10X figure may raise or lower based upon those considerations.

FInally I ask if I would be willing to pay that figure for that piece. If the answer is yes a price is set, if the answer is no I look at the work and thought process again to come up with a viable price.

Wholesale is 50% of that price.

I haver very (emphasis placed) little experience in pricing book related items. From looking at works it seems clear that labor and design are predominate considerations, with cost of materials being a lesser factor. ( I apologize in advance if this is offensive, but I emphasize my limited experience in this area)

In any event it is critical that overhead costs be considered in formulation of a price. This includes rent, utilities, insurance, advertising, wages of employees, benefits, etc. Don't sell yourself or your costs short.

My thoughts.

Jim Cohen

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