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


Eddie Oliver <eoliver@...>
 

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?


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
view.

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.

Regards,

Frank Stamford


--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, 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?


jdennis@...
 

Eddie Oliver <eoliver@iprimus.com.au> 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
Eddie,

That's a fact of life these days. Some high quality books on narrow gauge subjects published in the UK are costing up to 50 pounds today. That's closer to A$150 - indeed Plough Book Sales here in Aus have the "The Iron Sherpa Darjeeling and its remarkable Railway Volume 1" listed at $164.00. Narrow Gauge and Industrial have a beautiful book on the Leek and Manifold Light Railway at GBP49.50, and the lovel Spooner Album (on the Ffestiniog) at GBP37.50. By the time you convert those prices to Aussie dollars and add the (excessive) postage, you are paying well above A$100.

Unfortunately you're going to have to get used to paying A$100 or more for decent books, particularly imported books...

Having said that, Frank, I would be interested in the Canadian book - although next on my list of expensive purchases is The Iron Sherpa, if I can prise the cheque book from my wife's control :-)

John


Eddie Oliver <eoliver@...>
 

jdennis@optusnet.com.au wrote:

That's a fact of life these days. Some high quality books on narrow
gauge subjects published in the UK are costing up to 50 pounds today.
That's closer to A$150 - indeed Plough Book Sales here in Aus have
the "The Iron Sherpa Darjeeling and its remarkable Railway Volume 1"
listed at $164.00.
And selling how many copies?

Narrow Gauge and Industrial have a beautiful book
on the Leek and Manifold Light Railway at GBP49.50, and the lovel
Spooner Album (on the Ffestiniog) at GBP37.50. By the time you
convert those prices to Aussie dollars and add the (excessive)
postage, you are paying well above A$100.
I'm not paying it, and I doubt that many other people are either.

Unfortunately you're going to have to get used to paying A$100 or
more for decent books, particularly imported books...
Again, no, I'm not - I just won't buy them. And unfortunately as long as some people will pay these prices, market forces will not be sufficient to bring the prices down at all points of the production chain, and the markets will just progressively diminish to a regrettably small group with lots of money (or at least they will have needed lots of money before they buy even if they don't still have it afterwards). Since younger people will typically not have such money and/or will have other priorities, it will ultimately kill the whole field of endeavour.


Michael J
 

----- Original Message -----
From: Eddie Oliver [mailto:eoliver@iprimus.com.au]


Again, no, I'm not - I just won't buy them. And unfortunately as long as
some people will pay these prices, market forces will not be sufficient
to bring the prices down at all points of the production chain, and the
markets will just progressively diminish to a regrettably small group
with lots of money (or at least they will have needed lots of money
before they buy even if they don't still have it afterwards). Since
younger people will typically not have such money and/or will have other
priorities, it will ultimately kill the whole field of endeavour.
There have always been small specialist productions of high quality books at high prices, and mass produced books on popular subjects cheaply priced. Try buying law books, for instance. Nothing new here, perhaps some sticker shock that is all.

Michael


Bill Bolton
 

On Wed, 26 Sep 2007 19:40:44 +1000, Eddie wrote:

I'm not paying it, and I doubt that many other people are either.
Despite your doubts, writers continue to produce such books,
publishers continue to publish them and consumers continue to buy
them.

Feel free not to participate in that market if it offends you!

Again, no, I'm not - I just won't buy them.
I think we have got that message, perhaps now you can stop repeating
it!

And unfortunately as long as some people will pay these prices,
market forces will not be sufficient to bring the prices down
Its called market forces.

You might want to consider that anyone can publish for next to nothing
on the Internet if they *really* want to, but few rail
researchers/authors choose to avail themselves of that.

Cheers,

Bill

Bill Bolton
Sydney, Australia


Eddie Oliver <eoliver@...>
 

Bill Bolton wrote:

You might want to consider that anyone can publish for next to nothing
on the Internet if they *really* want to, but few rail
researchers/authors choose to avail themselves of that.
Exactly. And why is that so?


Michael J
 

----- Original Message -----
From: Eddie Oliver [mailto:eoliver@iprimus.com.au]
Sent: 9/26/2007 10:37:28 PM
To: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
Subject: Re: Book pricing - was Re: [LRRSA] Ontario, Canada - 3 ft 6 in gauge - new book ...

Bill Bolton wrote:

You might want to consider that anyone can publish for next to nothing
on the Internet if they *really* want to, but few rail
researchers/authors choose to avail themselves of that.
Exactly. And why is that so?
Actually I do just that. I have written half a dozen articles for Wikipedia on narrow gauge railway topics, and contributed to many more. Anybody can do it, and it is a great way to get basic material on the topic out there. But under Wikipedia rules we still need a "reliable source" such as books and magazine articles to refer back to. No "original research" is allowed. Another issue is finding photos, as they have to be copyright free. For recent photographs this means the photographer has to give up their copyright.

There are also a number of very nice railway history websites out there, and once again it is not difficult for anybody who wants to go that way to do so. I myself have a website with some basic information about subjects of interest to me.

Cheers

Michael


A C Lynn Zelmer
 

> You might want to consider that anyone can publish for next to nothing
on the Internet if they *really* want to, but few rail
researchers/authors choose to avail themselves of that.
Exactly. And why is that so?
...
Some of us do... but a lot of our colleagues seem to consider that anything with a keyboard is for women only, thus won't touch a computer, and others complain at having to bear the costs of printing, etc, for the mostly low resolution images on the web.

Getting rid of GST on books would help some, but just a little.

Lowering our expectations about the necessity for colour and high quality photos could significantly bring down the costs but how many people will buy newsprint or comic book quality books?

The bottom line is that book printing is expensive, quality books are very expensive and quality photo books are a dying breed... if quality books are what recruit new railfans perhaps we need to rethink how we attract new people to our area of interest.

Best wishes,
Lynn
--
CaneSIG: http://www.zelmeroz.com/canesig
A C Lynn Zelmer, Coordinator
Box 1414 Rockhampton Qld 4700 Australia
Fax: +61 7 4936 2393


John Shoebridge
 

Hi All
Just joining the discussion... At one time (whilst in employment ) I had the luxury of purchasing any book of interest to me whenever it wished.with no need to justify the expenditure. Consequently I have quite a comprehenisve library of NG and Industrial railway books.

However now that I am classed as a pensioner I can probably still afford but by no means justify such spending.

The especially unfortunate part is that no public library keeps such books (or certainly none that I know of)

Even the ARHS in Redfern were horrified by my suggestion that they add one copy of every book they sold to their archival collection..

Consequently I make do with a quick read standing at the bookshelves in the shops...and some have notices suggesting that I should not even do this.

Comments anyone ?? or are you all more financial than I am?

Reagrds

John

----- Original Message -----
From: Eddie Oliver
To: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
Sent: Wednesday, September 26, 2007 10:37 PM
Subject: Re: Book pricing - was Re: [LRRSA] Ontario, Canada - 3 ft 6 in gauge - new book ...


Bill Bolton wrote:

> You might want to consider that anyone can publish for next to nothing
> on the Internet if they *really* want to, but few rail
> researchers/authors choose to avail themselves of that.

Exactly. And why is that so?


Eddie Oliver <eoliver@...>
 

A C Lynn Zelmer wrote:
> You might want to consider that anyone can publish for next to nothing
on the Internet if they *really* want to, but few rail
researchers/authors choose to avail themselves of that.
Exactly. And why is that so?
Some of us do... but a lot of our colleagues seem to consider that anything with a keyboard is for women only, thus won't touch a computer, and others complain at having to bear the costs of printing, etc, for the mostly low resolution images on the web.
So true, Lynn. But why is the cost of printing even relevant? If someone wants to preserve web content in permanent form, why go further than a 20-cent CD?

The bottom line is that book printing is expensive, quality books are very expensive and quality photo books are a dying breed... if quality books are what recruit new railfans perhaps we need to rethink how we attract new people to our area of interest.
My intended point exactly. Thank you Lynn.


bll_hnks
 

As I spend a large part of my day staring at a computer monitor, I enjoy
in the evenings, sitting down in a comfortable lounge chair with a good
book. I really don't want look at a monitor for another couple of hours
reading a web book that may take many sittings to finish.



It is true that there are some very nice websites with a lot of
interesting reading. Unfortunately many that I've seen are poorly
written and full of typographical errors. Generally a book published in
hard copy has been heavily scrutinized by the editor and proof readers
before being printed. There is also something about opening a new book
for the first time, the smell of the fresh pages, the images that leap
out at you and the 'feel' of the book itself. It is a similar
experience to stroking a piece of well crafted timber furniture. On
this basis if the book is to my taste, I'll be happy pay the $120 plus
dollars and look forward to a journey through the pages of history.
Like many people who collect books I am not a millionaire, but I choose
carefully and do not mind paying good money for a quality product.



(Please accept my apologies for any grammar or spelling mistakes in the
above lines. I'll blame the Outlook spelling and grammar checker for
them!)



Regards,

Bill Hanks

________________________________

From: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au [mailto:LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au]
Sent: Thursday, 27 September 2007 7:58 AM
To: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
Subject: Re: Re: Book pricing - was Re: [LRRSA] Ontario, Canada - 3 ft 6
in gauge - new book ...



----- Original Message -----
From: Eddie Oliver [mailto:eoliver@iprimus.com.au
<mailto:eoliver%40iprimus.com.au> ]
Sent: 9/26/2007 10:37:28 PM
To: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au <mailto:LRRSA%40yahoogroups.com.au>
Subject: Re: Book pricing - was Re: [LRRSA] Ontario, Canada - 3 ft 6 in
gauge - new book ...

Bill Bolton wrote:

You might want to consider that anyone can publish for next to
nothing
on the Internet if they *really* want to, but few rail
researchers/authors choose to avail themselves of that.
Exactly. And why is that so?
Actually I do just that. I have written half a dozen articles for
Wikipedia on narrow gauge railway topics, and contributed to many more.
Anybody can do it, and it is a great way to get basic material on the
topic out there. But under Wikipedia rules we still need a "reliable
source" such as books and magazine articles to refer back to. No
"original research" is allowed. Another issue is finding photos, as they
have to be copyright free. For recent photographs this means the
photographer has to give up their copyright.

There are also a number of very nice railway history websites out there,
and once again it is not difficult for anybody who wants to go that way
to do so. I myself have a website with some basic information about
subjects of interest to me.

Cheers

Michael


espee8800 <espee8800@...>
 

What you are forecasting Eddie will probably lead to the expansion of the e-book or e-magazine where the research and production remain but the actual printing is up to the purchaser/downloader.

David.

Eddie Oliver wrote:

Again, no, I'm not - I just won't buy them. And unfortunately as long as some people will pay these prices, market forces will not be sufficient to bring the prices down at all points of the production chain, and the markets will just progressively diminish to a regrettably small group with lots of money (or at least they will have needed lots of money before they buy even if they don't still have it afterwards). Since younger people will typically not have such money and/or will have other priorities, it will ultimately kill the whole field of endeavour.


espee8800 <espee8800@...>
 

As a book junky I agree entirely with your sentiments Bill, computers are for work ----- books (with all their attendant joys) are for home. I hate to admit it but I have many books on the shelf that have only been skimmed through but it is a nice feeling to know that they are there. Funny years ago I always felt at home in a library - now I have my own.

cheers
David.

Bill Hanks wrote:

As I spend a large part of my day staring at a computer monitor, I enjoy
in the evenings, sitting down in a comfortable lounge chair with a good
book. I really don't want look at a monitor for another couple of hours
reading a web book that may take many sittings to finish.


It is true that there are some very nice websites with a lot of
interesting reading. Unfortunately many that I've seen are poorly
written and full of typographical errors. Generally a book published in
hard copy has been heavily scrutinized by the editor and proof readers
before being printed. There is also something about opening a new book
for the first time, the smell of the fresh pages, the images that leap
out at you and the 'feel' of the book itself. It is a similar
experience to stroking a piece of well crafted timber furniture. On
this basis if the book is to my taste, I'll be happy pay the $120 plus
dollars and look forward to a journey through the pages of history.
Like many people who collect books I am not a millionaire, but I choose
carefully and do not mind paying good money for a quality product.


(Please accept my apologies for any grammar or spelling mistakes in the
above lines. I'll blame the Outlook spelling and grammar checker for
them!)



Mark Trainbrain
 

G'day all,
I'm a 22 year old uni student, I work enough to pay for fuel and not much
more. But Books (and mags) are one thing I will make the effort to afford, I
have 6 LRRSA Vic logging books including Mountains Of Ash plus a bunch from
other states. They have lasting quality, lasting value and provide me with
far more than any model train or alcoholic bevy can. Books have the info
that allow me to build my models, create plausible but fictitious histories
for my toy trains, learn about this country's short history and appreciate
what's around me. I suppose books versus internet is like driving a BMW
versus a Toyota, both are cars but one is much more fulfilling to drive.
What cost is knowledge? As the adverts say, Priceless. To me anyway.
Cheers,
Mark