Book pricing - was Re: Ontario, Canada - 3 ft 6 in gauge - new book ...

Frank Stamford

Whilst I have the greatest sympathy with your feeling that $100 is a
lot to pay for a book, I certainly cannot agree that it is not good
value for money. The real question is whether it is worth $100 to you.

Unfortunately I have just learnt that the expected weight of this book
is 2.5 kg. That means that our selling price to LRRSA members might be
as high as $120. (I am still not sure what the best postal rates will
be that we can get from Canada). Considering the size of the book that
price still compares favourably to many other books of the same size.

The book has 392 pages, and each page is 275 mm x 300 mm. That means
that it is 62% bigger than "Mountains of Ash" or "Furnace Fire and
Forge". The selling price of these books is $59.95.

The $120 includes GST plus postage from Canada to Australia (possibly
as high as $20 per book at the cheapest rates). The LRRSA's price to
its members will be considerably less than the price you would pay if
you purchased the book direct from Canada.

The print run is in line with the sort of print runs the LRRSA would
choose for a book of this type, and is higher than the print runs for
many specialist railway books produced in the USA.

Selecting the right print run is a huge problem, and the publisher
runs a high risk if they make a mistake.

These books do not sell themselves. If you have a large print run you
must undertake a huge effort to sell the books. That either takes a
lot of time, or involves the use of a distributor. If you use a
distributor you may have to give the distributor a discount of up to
62.5% on the retail price.

In short, the only way the price could be reduced would be by doing
any or all the following things:

- reducing the quality

- reducing the content - i.e. the number of pages and illustrations

- increasing the print run and undertaking a huge effort to sell the
books, which is a very high risk option from the publisher's point of

This book is being self-published by the author and one other person.
They are taking a risk in publishing it. It is the result of a huge
labour of love over a long period of time, and has brought to light a
lot of information which was previously unavailable. They hope to
cover their costs. If they make a profit it will be microscopic in
relation to the number of hours that have gone into the production.


Frank Stamford

--- In LRRSA@..., Eddie Oliver <eoliver@...> wrote:

Frank Stamford wrote:

If you might be interested in this book please let me know. There is
no obligation to buy, I am just trying to judge the market. I expect
copies would be available in Australia about March 2008, (providing I
place an order fairly soon). I am told the print run is limited to
1,500, and on that basis I expect the book will sell out pretty
quickly, and the price seems reasonable for a book of that size.
I am notionally interested, but I find great difficulty with the price
assessment. $100 (after postage) for ANY book seems grossly
excessive to
me, and I wonder what the actual components of that price are. There
must also be serious issues of economies of scale; setting the price so
high must seriously diminish appeal to "maybe" buyers - is it assumed
that only specialists will be interested and they will pay almost
any price?

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