For an army list.
Yeah, there is background info about the faction but nobody gives a shit about that.
Yeah, it has lots of pretty pictures but that's because GW live in a Nottinghamshire dream world wherein Sir Tim Berners-Lee never had a bright idea over Christmas 1990 and in that dream world people actually pay money to look at hardbacks of figure pr0n rather than just look it at for free on tinterwebs at CMON, Frothers, Warseer and the like.
So effectively, in order to play Orcs and Goblins you need to splash out £25 on the only functional part of the book which is the army list. I'm sorry but that's the only way of looking at it. The rest of it is hardcovered bloatware full of glossy pics (Internet) and fluff (bollocks) to give them an excuse to charge £25 for the whole shebang.
And of course, modern Warhammer being what it is, you'll probably have to go out and buy your regular opponent's
Now, there's a generation of gamers who have grown up under this one-faction-one-book regime and think it's normal. If this sound likes you pay attention to yer Grandpa Coop because he's going to share a tale of the olden days with you.
This is Warhammer Armies. Published in 1988 and I believe the RRP was £9.99 compared to £14.99 for the 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle hardback. Direct price comparisons with the past are always tricky but a scan through online RPI calculators suggests that it's £17.78 in modern money. (My gut feeling is that it's closer to £20 but either way it's comes off slightly better in a head-to-head price comparison to the Orcs and Goblins book).
Now, this is what Warhammer Armies contained.
A collection of rules for all the new races introduced since WFB3 was published (including two, the Ki-Rin and Temple Dog which I swear were never released in miniature form). A collection of rules for the new Warengines published in White Dwarf.
And then full army lists for the following;
High Elves (Sea Elves vanished after WFB2)
Bretonnia (this was a brand new split for the general "Old Worlder" human factions. Bretonnia is more historical French than the modern version, Empire less of a gunpowder and puffed-and-slashed army)
Orcs and Goblins
Slann (proper Slann, not Lizardmen)
Undead (in modern terms the Vampire Counts and "Iron Maiden Powerslave" Tomb Kings combined with chariots, Mummys and Vampires in the same army)
In other words all of the WFB3 races in one book. But that's not all. It then went on to add Ally lists from which you could pick to bulk out your forces (to avoid this being used to make all armies contain pretty much the same forces, the Ally lists you could pick from were mandated by your main list and furthermore unless they Hated your enemy, they were all at -1 to their Ld)
Chaos (different to above list, includes Chaos Goblins and pre-hat Chaos Dwarves)
Fimir (ask your Dad)
Orcs and Goblins
Pygmy (Tintin in the Congo style - just don't ask. Citadel are more likely to produce new Fishmen or Squats then they are to return Pygmies to WFB)
Zoat (ask your Dad)
And also Mercenary lists which can be better than regular troops (they never have to Pursue for example) but might turn sides unless you spend extra points on bribing them to stay honest).
Hobgoblins (Asian Orcs)
There's a bunch of photographs of the GW Studio figure collection, doublepage spreads on sample forces from the collections of Kev "Goblinmaster" Adams (Orcs and Goblins), SODOFFBRYANANSELL (Chaos) and Dave "Superstar" Andrews (Bretonnia, although looking suspiciously like a historical Wars of the Roses army with a wizard tacked on), and colour plates of troops and shield/banner designs.
160 pages. Modern £17-£18. Every list you needed, current throughout the entire lifetime of 3rd edition. A later full Norse list was published in White Dwarf.
£25 for for one army list is fucking greed and you, I and they all know it.