What Suckers We Are

For years, we’ve been giving away free autographed bookplates that readers can stick in their copies of our books. (We’ve taken a break from this practice recently but will resume when we publish our next book.) I would estimate that we’ve mailed out between 20,000 and 30,000 bookplates — all of them really signed by the two of us and all absolutely free, including postage. Why did we do this? It just seemed like a good idea, and a nice way to thank people for reading.

But what suckers we are! As a reader named TL recently let us know, there’s good money to be made on eBay selling signed Freakonomics bookplates.


I'm not sure YOU are the suckers.


Yeah. Not only is there zero utility in a bookplate, what sort of person pays good money for something they could get for free? Hint: it's said there's one born every minute :-)

Ben Ferrer

I want one! I have both books and the movie, seen the talk by SD in Brighton and will buy the third!!!


I'm not sure $2-5 (which amounts to about $1-3 to the seller after eBay/Paypal fees and postage) is "good money to be made," but in any case you could all but eliminate the resale value of the bookplates by adding a personalized inscription on each.

Eric M. Jones

Book? What's a book?

Steve Cebalt

Economically, you got far more economic value than the sum of the sales on the secondary e-Bay market. As you must know, your kind gesture meant a lot to the recipients and will certainly repay itself in loyalty and the purchase of your future products (books). And you got personal satisfaction from it -- which has real value -- we all spend money evey day to garner personal satisfaction. The sales on E-Bay are also valuable to you, because it is free advertising with the power of a testimonial -- people are publicly promoting you with the message that your very signature is worth money. You win all the way around -- just for being nice. Cara's suggestion is very clever though if you don't like people selling your good name!


Something you cant or atleast you shouldnt put a price tag on. Gratitude is one of them.


Ha, I love that the economic Jedi's are still learning lessons in economics daily.