17 La compravendita di libri nella contabilità dei mercanti fiorentini
Un confronto coi prezzi dei generi di prima necessità e col potere d’acquisto dei salariati nella seconda metà del XV secolo
The account-books of Florentine merchants are full of purchases and sales of books. In particular, the ledgers of the company of Francesco and Bernardo of Niccolò Cambini offer, for the second half of the 15th century, numerous records. Unfortunately, the conciseness of the accounting does not allow us to know all the characteristics of these books; however, the registrations always indicate the monetary value, thus enabling us to reconstruct the average selling price for various types of books. In this paper, we aim to compare this information with the price series of two goods – wheat and wine – that constituted the basis of the diet for the majority of the population, to better understand what the purchase of a book meant for the society of the period and to perceive more clearly its value.
Keywords: Wine • Wheat • Purchasing power • Prices • Wages • Books • 15th century