The Book of Glyph Mastery is something of a ‘perfect storm’ in terms of profit potential: It’s new, it is extremely rare (for now), highly desired and can be found by just about anyone. Put another way, these books are extremely high in demand while being severely limited in quantity. When we see that formula, we can’t help but think ‘opportunity’ and here are a few reasons why you should as well.
About the Book- Demand
Books of Glyph Mastery are how scribes potentially learn one of the 40 new glyph recipes in the game. To be clear, for better or worse, these books are the ONLY way to learn one of the 40 new glyphs. They are ‘random world drops’ according to Blizzard so it is not really possible to specifically farm them.
Just to firmly establish the demand level, it will take weeks (if not months) for all of the new glyphs to show up in your server’s economy. Even when the glyphs do become available, they will be in very low supply. Unless you’re very good friends with the particular scribe that can produce a specific glyph, you can expect to pay a ridiculous amount for it. We do, however, expect that the price of the glyphs will decrease over time as demand falls and supply increases. As it stands now, we’ve seen scribes (on several servers) that possess the new glyphs advertising them for as much as 500 gold each. Note, that price is for a single glyph, not a book.
About the Book- Supply
In a sense, you can compare finding one of these books to winning the lottery. Your chances are extremely slim but if you do get a ‘winning ticket’ you can have almost instant wealth (relative to other items anyway). To continue with the lottery comparison, there’s really nothing you can do to work for the winning ticket. Rather, you will either be lucky and find one or you will not. The item cannot be specifically farmed for. There is (at this time) no data that says any one mob will drop the item more than any other. But, again like the lottery, you’ve ‘got to be in it to win it’ meaning that if you’re only doing a few daily non-mob-killing quests or strictly PVP, your chances of finding one are zero.
Use or Sell?
That’s the question isn’t it? What would you do if someone (let’s call him Bob) told you that you had a winning lottery ticket in your pocket but you don’t know how much for? The prize could be as little as $10 or as much as one million dollars. On the other hand, Bob is willing to pay you $10,000 for your ticket right now. The only way to find out the winning ticket’s actual value is to turn it in to the lottery commission, at which point you must accept the amount of the awarded prize and the deal proposed by Bob is off the table. So what would you do? Take the chance and keep the ticket? Or do you take Bob’s deal and go with the sure thing?
This type of predicament is often referred to as utility theory in economics. There’s also a touch of what’s called ‘ethical dilemma’ to this problem. Now, we are not going to delve into the mathematics of this problem here* but we will tell you that to solve it fully you would need all the variables and, in the case of the Book of Glyph Mastery, you simply don’t have them. There is no way to know the true value of the book because it is worth exactly as much as you can sell it for which is simply too subjective to quantify.
What we can tell you is that there are comments on the forums and other sites where people have described selling this item for as little as 400gold and as much as 5,000 gold. We did a little informal polling of guildies and players in trade chat, asking people how much they’d be willing to pay for one of these books. The answers varied wildly. Some people said 500 gold. The highest offer we received was for 6,000G. The most interesting observation from our little informal test was that, on one server, a bidding war erupted in trade chat with scribes (and presumably profiteers) out bidding each other in the /trade channel. We found this interesting because we consistently and publicly reminded the people in the channel that we don’t actually have the item and this didn’t stop them from bidding. The highest bid was ultimately 9.5k gold. Hardly scientific, but now you know what we know.
So What Would We Do?
Put simply, we’d sell it. We are proponents of selling items when they’re costly and purchasing them when they’re inexpensive. Further, we are actively scanning the auction houses on our servers for anyone silly enough to put one up for sale for a low price (think, under 1,000 gold). For what it’s worth, we asked our resident inscription expert if he would purchase one and how much would he pay for it if so. He gave an immediate ‘yes’, said he’d pay up to 3,000 gold, and then proceeded to further convolute the issue by saying it was only so he could “resell it for more than 5,000 to another scribe.”
The Future of this Item
Sometimes you’ve got to move fast to make money. One thing the entire WoWenomics team agrees on here is that the book will suffer from a diminishing value. The later into the lifecycle of patch 3.1 that you find the item, the more likely it will suffer from MUDflation. This one is not something you want to hold in your bank for just the right moment. Find it and sell it, or find it and use it.
Further, we are believers that Blizzard is, perhaps, a little too responsive to massive walls of player QQ. To wit, check out this response from Blizzard and we’re sure you’ll agree with us that this item may be much easier to find in the near future. If you put any faith in that message, you can further see why we advise to sell them now, even if you’re a scribe yourself. Of course, this also means that now is not the time to purchase the book yourself. Wait a while and see if blizzard buffs the drop rate or otherwise changes the mechanics by which it is attained.
*In case you haven’t already guessed from some of our previous posts, we love economic theory and will discuss it ad-nauseam if left unchecked by our friends, spouses and associates. While we’d love to discuss utility theory, moral dilemma and probability statistics with you, we hardly feel this is the forum to do so. Instead, we invite those of you interested in learning more about these theories to do so with the following resources:
- The mathematical functions behind risk/reward decision-making, told in the form of whether or not to play the lottery.
- Wikipedia has some good information regarding expected utility and utility functions.
- They’ve also got a fairly decent page on moral dilemma.
- Extensive discussion of economic decision-making (PDF) models as applies to utility theory.
- A thorough introduction of utility theory as applied to economic decision-making (PDF) and portfolio distribution.
- And finally, from the lighter side of the discussion, we give you the primary reason we have decided not to discuss these issues more in-depth here at WoWenomics: Because we all know that sometimes 2 equals 1.
Somehow we’re guessing the above list of links will be among the least ‘clicked’ links in the history of our site but we invite you to delve further because, well… we’re nerds.
Update: We have recently released a comprehensive graph charting the going rate of the Book of Glyph Mastery. If you are searching for most recent prices, you might want to check here.