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Breaking down the fluctuating price of Baltimore Mayor Pugh's 'Healthy Holly' books

The market for Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's “Healthy Holly” books has fluctuated rapidly over the past eight years — from $5-per-book when she was a state senator in 2011 to $9-per-copy after she was sworn in at City Hall in 2016.

The price listed on Pugh’s Healthy Holly books is $9 each, but the deals she struck with various organizations were all typically below the cover price of her children’s series promoting exercise and healthy eating to help combat obesity in African American children.

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Here’s a look at how the price has changed:

$5 per book in 2011

The University of Maryland Medical System’s first deal in 2011 to pay $100,000 for 20,000 books represented a price of $5-per-copy. The medical system reported on its federal tax form that the deal was conducted below fair market value. It’s a price the hospital network would continue to pay four more times.

$6 per book in 2011

Meanwhile, two other deals struck in 2011 for a total of 3,000 books featured a $6-per-book price, a 20% jump for purchases made by Associated Black Charities with donations of $12,000 from Grant Capital Management for 2,000 books and $6,000 from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield for 1,000 books.

$7.41 per book in 2013

By 2013, the price jumped another 23% to $7.41 when $4,448 of Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund’s donation to Associated Black Charities was used to buy 600 books on Oct. 3, 2013.

$9 per book in 2013

Just two weeks later, the price leapt an additional 21% to $9 after $3,600 of a donation from Chicago-based Ariel Investments to the charity paid for 400 books. The company also paid an additional $80 for shipping charges.

$6.50 per book in 2014

Five months later, in 2014, CareFirst was back as $6,500 of its donation to Associated Black Charities went to purchase 1,000 books. That represented a price of $6.50 — a 28% decline from Ariel's deal but 50 cents more than what the health company paid two years earlier.

$5.70 per book between 2015 and 2018

Kaiser Permanente detailed multiple purchases of the Healthy Holly books since 2015 in a series of statements to The Sun. “We have purchased and distributed about 20,000 Healthy Holly books, at a cost of approximately $114,000,” the company said. That amounts to an average of $5.70 per book.

$9 per book in 2016

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The price rebounded in 2016 to $9 per book. Associated Black Charities spent $45,000 of a $50,000 donation from the Frederick Frank Family Trust, a foundation started by a deceased bail bondsman, to buy 5,000 books.

$7.21 in 2019

A Baltimore Sun reporter obtained a copy of “Healthy Holly: Exercising is Fun” on March 20 for $7.21 on Amazon.com, which now alerts potential buyers that the book is “currently unavailable.”

“We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock,” the alert states.

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