When former Apple design honcho Jony Ive released his super-premium Apple design book in 2016, a lot of folks thought it was an overpriced ego trip. After all, Designed by Apple in California went for $299 for the large size and $199 for the small size.
And now? Well, now you’d be lucky to get the fancy coffee-table books for dollar amounts in the high hundreds and low thousands.
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Jony Ive’s discontinued Designed by Apple in California escalates in resale price
Ive created the picture book to showcase Apple designs during his tenure as head of the industrial design team, from the iMac in 1998 through Apple Pencil in 2015. Ive went on to found a design agency called LoveFrom, a name inspired by Steve Jobs.
Here’s how Leander Kahney, Cult of Mac‘s publisher and editor in chief, described the high-quality tome, on the way to concluding it’s “much more than an ego trip,” as some detractors claimed:
The giant, 300-page book is a retrospective of the products developed by Ive’s celebrated industrial design team. Filled with 450 photos of Apple products, the book was eight years in the making and required nothing short of the rethinking of paper itself. It’s printed on custom-milled sheets with gilded silver edges, using special low-ghost ink. It comes in two sizes and costs an arm and a leg. It all sounds very precious and it’s driving some Apple fans absolutely crazy.
Heavy on pics, light on info
Kahney appreciated the beautiful book, but said it could use more information about the design process. It’s almost all pictures with very little context, depicting both products and tools used in design and manufacturing — without explanation outside of an introduction and some (occasionally inscrutable) end notes.
“This brevity is the book’s biggest disappointment,” he wrote. “It’s sometimes unclear what you are looking at, especially the images of the tools or production processes that are sprinkled throughout. Pictures of polishing wheels, molds and drill bits look fascinating, but their role in the products’ manufacturing remains unclear.”
So how much do you have to pay for the books now?
The escalating prices of the books came to our attention when Apple maven Basic Apple Guy tweeted about it:
Shook at how much the Designed by Apple in California coffee table books are now going for on eBay.
The books were available from 2016-2019 and retailed for $199 (small) and $299 (large). pic.twitter.com/vyf3g82lZR
— Basic Apple Guy (@BasicAppleGuy) July 6, 2023
As noted, the small version cost $199 and the large one cost $299 when they were on sale at Apple as new. And that seemed high to many.
But now the prices on eBay range from “whoah” to “maybe my kid doesn’t have to go to college after all.” You can snap up the little one for between $850 and $1,200, with most going for $900 to $1,000. The big one — and it’s really quite large — is listed for between $1,250 and $2,600.
Will collectors drive the books’ prices even higher? We shall see.