Berkshire Hathaway used to compile bound volumes of Warren Buffett’s letters to its shareholders but stopped that practice years ago. Only collectors could put their hands on such a thing. Until now. A young fan of the man and company has published a full compilation and put it on sale for $24.50 plus shipping. It is a good service and I am grateful to the fan, Max Olson, for sending me a comp copy (pictured at right; he sent them because I published The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America).
Berkshire annual reports of the late 1980s and early 1990s (some pictured at left), all stated that compilations of letters from earlier annual reports, dating to 1977 (also pictured), were available on request from the company without charge. By the mid-1990s demand had begun to rise, prompting a new policy: continuing to offer the historical compilations to shareholders for free, but charging non-shareholders $15 (for production and shipping).
Beginning with the 1997 report, the letters, again dating to 1977, were made freely available on the internet (and they still are there). The two-volume historical compilation remained available, but now at a charge of $30, payable by non-shareholders and shareholders alike (shipping included). In 1999, the printed set became a three-volume issue and the charge was raised to $35 for all.
Those printed volumes have not been available for several years (and I feel lucky to have some in my library). That’s been a relief to staff at Berkshire’s famously minimalist headquarters, a handful of people with no time to process payments and stuff envelopes. It is this lacuna that Max Olson’s alternative fills, a good job, especially at the price of $24.50 (plus shipping). Read More