Saturday, October 10, 2009


Does anyone know what the hourly rental charge would have been for an IBM Selectric Composer?


Anatoly Vorobey said...

In 1977, Selectric Composer cost $4,610
and was available for monthly rent from IBM for $170/month, minimum six months.
The Electronic Selectric Composer cost $8,835 and the monthly rent cost was $265/month, minimum six months.

(data from: How To Produce A Small Newspaper, the Harvard Common Press, 1978).

I guess there were companies (not IBM itself) that rented them out per hour, but I didn't find a quote for that. Operator time on Composers (operators typing up and typesetting your text) seems to have been priced at about $10-$15/hour at the time, so I imagine renting one should have been cheaper than that.

Helen DeWitt said...

Thanks, that's very helpful!