The January-February 2008 issue of Liberty ran my account of Laissez Faire Books, entitled “Laissez Faire: RIP?” When I began working on the story the previous October, the longtime mail-order service appeared to be in the coffin; but by the time I had it in to Editor Stephen Cox, the business had been rescued by the International Society for Individual Liberty.
Last October, the Society closed the sale of LFB to a financial newsletter company, Agora Financial LLC, which moved LFB’s inventory from Arizona to its offices in Baltimore.
Agora’s owner, Bill Bonner, runs a longtime business serving hard-money clients. He has been blogging at dailyreckoning.com since 1999 with his colleague Addison Wiggin, and, with Wiggin, is co-author of the books Financial Reckoning Day, Financial Reckoning Day Fallout, and Empire of Debt. His most recent book is Mobs, Markets and Messiahs, co-authored with Lil Rajiva. Bonner has written extensively for LewRockwell.com.
I recently spoke with Bonner’s manager for LFB, Doug Hill. He said that Bonner is most interested in economics-oriented books “with a takeaway for investors,” but that the company will make an effort “to carry a lot of the titles that are expected of a libertarian bookstore.”
He said they know they have to compete with Amazon, and they hope to sell some books at prices lower than Amazon’s. Agora’s specialty is direct mail, he said, and “this is the first bookstore we’ve run.”
He said he expects to put together a libertarian board to advise on the selection of books, and to run book reviews. He said LFB will test the use of a printed catalog.