Blogs > Liberty and Power > More thoughts on Laissez-Faire Books

Oct 16, 2007 10:36 am

More thoughts on Laissez-Faire Books

The closing of LFB is very sad indeed, but it does contain a bright spot I'll note below. LFB served two important purposes in my development as a libertarian and as a scholar, one as a college student and one as a professional.

As a college student, it was THE intellectual lifeline to libertarianism in the pre-internet days. These young whippersnappers with their Internets, and Googles, and online resources have it so easy today when they want to have libertarian ideas at their fingertips. In the old days, we had to actually wait for a paper catalog, dial a dial phone and wait for delivery in the regular mail! More seriously, without LFB, my ability to find, read, and digest libertarian ideas in college, when they were scarce in the curriculum, would have been much reduced.

As a professional, LFB's willingness to carry academic titles at reduced prices served me well both as a reader and as an author. Price discrimination is a beautiful thing and LFB made it work for both authors and readers. If nothing else, this will be one of the great losses of its demise.

Finally, we can take some comfort in the fact that LFB is going out of business because of the technological and institutional improvements that more competitive markets have brought forth. Losing LFB hurts, but the book market is much better than it used to be and libertarian books are very accessible through other means. It is the very ideas that LFB has promoted over the years that are the indirect cause of its demise. Ignorant critics of libertarianism would call that "ironic." I would call it progress, with the recognition that all economic progress brings losses in its wake.

Thanks for everything LFB - Howie, Andrea, Kathleen and, of course, Roy.

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More Comments:

Joel Schlosberg - 10/18/2007

The good folks at and their wonderful free PDF's:

The Market for Liberty:
The Discovery of Freedom:

Roderick T. Long - 10/17/2007

The Tannehills' Market for Liberty, at least, is available through the Mises Institute. But I don't know about the others.

Jeff Riggenbach - 10/17/2007

So far, no one has commented on what, in my mind, was the most important service LFB performed for the libertarian movement - its book publishing arm, Fox & Wilkes.

In twenty years (approximately) LFB brought
back into print and kept in print dozens of libertarian classics.

What will become of all those books? Will they gradually become
unavailable? Will Rose Wilder Lane's Discovery of Freedom or the
Tannehill's Market for Liberty or the collected essays of Roy Childs
simply go out of print once more?

I'm hoping Kathleen sells the computer files on those books to another
libertarian small press - say, Cobden Press, which is being
resurrected by ISIL - so they can go on being available in a print-on-demand format.

I hate it when libertarian publishers with historically or
intellectually important titles on their lists go out of business.
Reading is how you *become* a libertarian, for God's sake! Nothing is
more important than making sure that generations to come have the
right things to read available to them.