"Pelé..." sells at $3,300 in India
What is common between Sachin Tendulkar and two unidentified Kolkata booklovers? While Tendulkar possesses a copy of the most expensive sports book - legendary boxer Muhammad Ali's "GOAT" - these two own another high-priced sports manuscript, the celebrated Brazilian footballer's "Pelé".
"Goat" is priced at $12,500 (Rs.505,200) while the cheaper versions of Pelé's biography available in India cost 1,600 pounds (around $3,300 or Rs.1,37,600) each.
Tendulkar did not have to spend a penny on "GOAT: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali" as "someone in London presented" him a copy of the world's costliest sports book ever, weighing 34 kg. But the two Kolkata sports lovers have paid for their passion.
Marine Sports - India's oldest sports bookstore in Mumbai - brought three copies of the luxury edition of "Pelé: Edson Arantes do Nascimento" - the second most expensive book of the world and published in two editions.
"I ordered copies of 'Pelé's' cheaper version - it has two editions - after someone in Kolkata ordered one copy of the masterpiece a month ago," Theo Braganza of Marine Sports told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
"But I bought three copies, thinking that someone would surely buy the other two as people in India have stared appreciating expensive books and artefacts."
"On Wednesday, the other two copies were purchased by another Kolkata man," he said. The buyers wanted to remain anonymous, Braganza added.
Tendulkar excitedly disclosed of his prized possession to IANS during the Indian cricket team's tour of Pakistan last year while waiting for a flight in Lahore.
Taschen has published "GOAT", a tribute to the three-time world heavyweight champion Ali. It runs into 800 pages and is 50x50 cm in dimension.
"Pelé..." is published by Gloria Books and has 720 pages.
Gloria printed only 2,500 copies of the authorised biography - all numbered - and Pelé personally signed each one of them. The book, which is 45x35 cm in dimension, weighs about 18 kg. It contains 1,700 pictures and covers every key moment of Pelé's life from early childhood.
Pelé, who scored well over 1,200 goals in his illustrious career for Brazil, Santos club and the now-defunct New York Cosmos, has himself made a contribution to the book that was launched during the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Encouraged after selling all the copies, Braganza is now planning to buy more copies of "Pelé...", if available.
"By Wednesday night I got six inquires about "Pelé..." I am surely encouraged to bring in more copies after those telephone calls," he said.
Braganza said that all the people who called him up wanted a discount, but he declined because he makes only a "nominal profit" on the book.
"Considering the high shipping and courier charges, there is no room left for any discount, even though I wanted to give 10 percent discount as usual," he said.
He also rued that he could not open the neatly packed book and see inside pages despite being "tempted".
Braganza said that he had also attempted to bring in the "GOAT" but pointed out that since boxing is not as popular as football in India people did not show much interest.
"Pelé..." includes new autobiographical material from himself, besides contributions from some well-known writers such as Hugh Mcllvanney, Brian Glanville and Alex Bellos as well as Joao Maximo, Jose Werneck and Juca Kfouri from Brazil.