The future of groups like LRRSA - was Re: Book pricing


Eddie Oliver <eoliver@...>
 

thirtyinchfan@pearcedale.com wrote:

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.
Not many people buy law books for fun.

The underlying issue is whether a market for these specialist productions will continue to exist. Fortunately or otherwise, people will continue to buy law books. But will they continue to buy books about the obscure subjects that we are now talking about?

It is not "rocket science" to observe the relative antiquity of those of us who attend LRRSA functions or many other forms of railway-enthusiast (or even model railway) activities. If we do not attract more younger people, groups like LRRSA will quite literally die out, and we will not attract the younger people by telling them that they have to rely on "small specialist productions of high quality books at high prices". Is the reality that many of us believe that when we are dead, it doesn't matter if the activities are dead too?


Frank Stamford
 

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


It is not "rocket science" to observe the relative antiquity of
those of
us who attend LRRSA functions or many other forms of railway-enthusiast
(or even model railway) activities. If we do not attract more younger
people, groups like LRRSA will quite literally die out, ...
That may very well be.

We, amongst other similar organisations, have great difficulty in
attracting young members.

At least we are maintaining our level of membership at around 700,
which is as high as it has ever been, and much healthier than the 390
or thereabouts that it was ten years ago.

One of the reasons we started this Yahoo Group was try to keep up with
changing technology. For the same reason our web site is updated on a
regular basis.

All the railway enthusiast groups are now experiencing what is perhaps
the twilight period of a phenomenon which commenced about 50 years
when they underwent rapid growth as a result of the demise of the
steam locomotive. There have been railway enthusiasts since the dawn
of the steam locomotive, but it only in the 1950s and 1960s that they
saw the need - on a big scale - to band together to achieve their
objectives.

When I joined the ARHS Vic Div at the age of 14 in 1959 they had about
200 members. Four years previously their membership had been about 60,
during the 1960s it grew to over 1000, and other spin-off
organisations established themselves as well, like Association of
Railway Enthusiasts and LRRSA. What was happening in Victoria was also
happening in the rest of Australia, Europe, America, New Zealand and I
think Japan. Many of the people who came into those groups were teenagers.

Now all those people are near retirement or have retired, and are not
being replaced.

Unfortunately many of them won't go near a computer. When we did a
survey of LRRSA members a few years around 80% said they did not use
computers. Ironically the magazine "Light Railways" which they greatly
valued was absolutely dependent on computers from start to finish in
its production (and in the management of the LRRSA).

One of the reasons we established this Yahoo Group was to try and
attract younger enthusiasts who are comfortable with new technology.

In the longer term a lot of publications like "Light Railways" will
probably be produced on-line. If we were to do that now we could cut
ourselves off from a large group of people who have supported us over
a long period of time, and who have knowledge which is valuable to us.

So we need to keep our feet in both camps, the users of old technology
and the users of new technology.

I have been involved in the LRRSA since it was founded. When it
celebrated 25 years of existence in 1986 I privately reflected on the
fact that during its early years I could not imagine it seeing out 25
years. And in 1986 it was difficult to imagine it surviving to see its
50 years. Well now we are only three and a half years off the 50 year
mark, and much more active than we were in 1986.

So, at least up to the present time, the LRRSA has had the ability to
re-invent itself. The greatest problem in the future is likely to be
finding people for key administrative tasks.

Regards,

Frank


Eddie Oliver <eoliver@...>
 

Frank, thank you for such an analytic response. A few questions:

Frank Stamford wrote:

One of the reasons we started this Yahoo Group was try to keep up with
changing technology. For the same reason our web site is updated on a
regular basis.
Is there any data re the age profile of the yahoo group members compared with the LRRSA membership overall?

In the longer term a lot of publications like "Light Railways" will
probably be produced on-line. If we were to do that now we could cut
ourselves off from a large group of people who have supported us over
a long period of time, and who have knowledge which is valuable to us.
You and others seem implicitly to speak in either-or terms. But if the material is already being prepared electronically anyway, is there any reason why the same product cannot be offered in BOTH electronic and paper form, with the pricing adjusted to represent the actual cost of each? That way, the people wedded to hard-copy can still get it as now, while others are not deprived of the opportunity to get it in cheaper and/or more "modern" form.

I have been involved in the LRRSA since it was founded. When it
celebrated 25 years of existence in 1986 I privately reflected on the
fact that during its early years I could not imagine it seeing out 25
years. And in 1986 it was difficult to imagine it surviving to see its
50 years. Well now we are only three and a half years off the 50 year
mark, and much more active than we were in 1986.
And it is an enormous credit to you and to the other stalwarts that have caused this, which makes it even more of concern if all that effort does not bear the fullest fruit in the future.


A C Lynn Zelmer
 

I'd be willing to consider doing that if the electronic format could be priced to include it's share of the actual costs, including editing, preparation of photographs, on-line storage, etc.

Far too often people insist that the electronic version should essentially be free... eg someone mentioned 20 cents for CD distribution a few messages back.

Best wishes, Lynn

...
You and others seem implicitly to speak in either-or terms. But if the
material is already being prepared electronically anyway, is there any
reason why the same product cannot be offered in BOTH electronic and
paper form, with the pricing adjusted to represent the actual cost of
each? That way, the people wedded to hard-copy can still get it as now,
while others are not deprived of the opportunity to get it in cheaper
and/or more "modern" form.
...
--
CaneSIG: http://www.zelmeroz.com/canesig
A C Lynn Zelmer, Coordinator
Box 1414 Rockhampton Qld 4700 Australia
Fax: +61 7 4936 2393


Eddie Oliver <eoliver@...>
 

A C Lynn Zelmer wrote:

Far too often people insist that the electronic version should essentially be free... eg someone mentioned 20 cents for CD distribution a few messages back.
No, I said it would cost somebody a 20 cents CD to make their own permanent copy of what was on the web (in contrast to a potentially greater cost for printing it), which is a completely separate issue from the cost of putting it on the web.


espee8800 <espee8800@...>
 

And a 20c CD would probably last 20'. For quality CDs you need to pay a bit more than that and then even then they will fade within a few years. Downloading to your HDD is the only way to go provided you don't put it on C Drive. An external HDD is the best (so far) method of storage.

David.

A C Lynn Zelmer wrote:

I'd be willing to consider doing that if the electronic format could be priced to include it's share of the actual costs, including editing, preparation of photographs, on-line storage, etc.

Far too often people insist that the electronic version should essentially be free... eg someone mentioned 20 cents for CD distribution a few messages back.

Best wishes, Lynn


...
You and others seem implicitly to speak in either-or terms. But if the
material is already being prepared electronically anyway, is there any
reason why the same product cannot be offered in BOTH electronic and
paper form, with the pricing adjusted to represent the actual cost of
each? That way, the people wedded to hard-copy can still get it as now,
while others are not deprived of the opportunity to get it in cheaper
and/or more "modern" form.
...


Joy <jloughnan@...>
 

Unfortunately those people are missing out on so much! Could you do
another survey?


--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, "Frank Stamford" <frank.stamford@...>
wrote:


Unfortunately many of them won't go near a computer. When we did a
survey of LRRSA members a few years around 80% said they did not use
computers.


Eddie Oliver <eoliver@...>
 

espee8800 wrote:
And a 20c CD would probably last 20'. For quality CDs you need to pay a bit more than that and then even then they will fade within a few years. Downloading to your HDD is the only way to go provided you don't put it on C Drive. An external HDD is the best (so far) method of storage.
Well, your CDs in Victoria must be pretty poor quality or pretty expensive, or maybe they fade quicker down there. However since one can now get a 300GB HDD for under $100, that probably works out cheaper than CDs anyway.


espee8800 <espee8800@...>
 

Got nothing to do where you buy the CDs, even yours in NSW will do the same - trust me. Yes an external HDD is the only way for storage now, CDs are used merely for transport. Oops thats a bit OT.

Eddie Oliver wrote:

espee8800 wrote:

And a 20c CD would probably last 20'. For quality CDs you need to pay a bit more than that and then even then they will fade within a few years. Downloading to your HDD is the only way to go provided you don't put it on C Drive. An external HDD is the best (so far) method of storage.
Well, your CDs in Victoria must be pretty poor quality or pretty expensive, or maybe they fade quicker down there. However since one can now get a 300GB HDD for under $100, that probably works out cheaper than CDs anyway.


BLI BLI <alcogoodwin@...>
 

Afternoon all,
Just my two cents worth.
I still far prefer the paper version of all
magazines and am willing to pay the cost of recieving
it this way.
As a few would know I do not trust the electronic
way of keeping records and photography, having
suffered a few times in the ast for trusting a digital
camera.
While I am actually co-producing a ezine (which I
need to email you about soon Lynn) I still don't trust
the three copies I have made and need to print it out
still anyway.
Many out there may prefer a digital version of LRs
and perhaps it would be worth looking into. While it
may be a cheaper cost to get it electronically, like
Frank I think costs would need to be looked at and I
am sure many will be disappointed that it does not
come for free like most ezines nowdays.
Also I am wondering how paper publishing costs would
be affected should 60% of the membership choose an
electronic version. Dosen't magazine publishing costs
go on the amount of copies of each issue published?

As for younger people. There are certainly a lot out
there who are interested in various aspects of what
the LRRSA covers, most especially sugar cane trains,
steelworks, Pilbara iron ore operations etc.
Many of these younger people probably have little
interest in much of what we cover simply because they
don't even know what existed. Goodness knows my
interests have grown immensly into rail operations I
never thought of and that just because I subscribed to
LR in the 90s for Moreton info.
I have mentioned LR to many of the younger fans I
know in Brissie and while they have a huge interest in
cane railways they have either hardly ever seen the
magazine (though being in newsagents nowdays makes
this harder to believe) or for some reason the
magazine just hasn't captivated them enough to
subscribe.
Captivating them is likely the big issue. Perhaps a
redesign, perhaps more in your face appearances at
exhibitions, maybe even an expension of content (not
at the expense of current topics), who knows. But
there is enough people on this Yahoogroup to give a
multitude of suggestions.

Best wishes
Brad

--- A C Lynn Zelmer <lynn@zelmeroz.com> wrote:

I'd be willing to consider doing that if the
electronic format could
be priced to include it's share of the actual costs,
including
editing, preparation of photographs, on-line
storage, etc.

Far too often people insist that the electronic
version should
essentially be free... eg someone mentioned 20 cents
for CD
distribution a few messages back.

Best wishes, Lynn

...
You and others seem implicitly to speak in
either-or terms. But if the
material is already being prepared electronically
anyway, is there any
reason why the same product cannot be offered in
BOTH electronic and
paper form, with the pricing adjusted to represent
the actual cost of
each? That way, the people wedded to hard-copy can
still get it as now,
while others are not deprived of the opportunity to
get it in cheaper
and/or more "modern" form.
...

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





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Chris Stratton
 

-----Original Message-----
From: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au [mailto:LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au] On Behalf
Of espee8800
Sent: Thursday, 27 September 2007 2:29 PM
To: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
Subject: Re: [LRRSA] The future of groups like LRRSA - was Re: Book
pricing

And a 20c CD would probably last 20'. For quality CDs you need to pay a
bit more than that and then even then they will fade within a few years.
Downloading to your HDD is the only way to go provided you don't put it
on C Drive. An external HDD is the best (so far) method of storage.

David.
Why would C drive be less reliable than an external HDD?
Regards,
CS


Frank Stamford
 

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

Is there any data re the age profile of the yahoo group members
compared
with the LRRSA membership overall?
No there is not.

We ran a Readers' Survey in 2002 but did not question readers on their
age group.

You and others seem implicitly to speak in either-or terms.
[regarding publishing "Light Railways" on paper or on-line] But if the
material is already being prepared electronically anyway, is there any
reason why the same product cannot be offered in BOTH electronic and
paper form, with the pricing adjusted to represent the actual cost of
each? That way, the people wedded to hard-copy can still get it as now,
while others are not deprived of the opportunity to get it in cheaper
and/or more "modern" form.
There is no technical reason to stop that. Setting the price would be
an interesting challenge. It would need to cover a share of the
Society's overheads, such as Public Liability Insurance, and it would
involve increased web-site maintenance costs. It would greatly lower
the cost of delivery to overseas members, since postage is a large
part of the cost in serving that market, but that is only relevant if
the overseas members would be prepared to forgo the paper copy. There
are some members who would want both the paper and pdf versions if
they were available, since the text of the pdf versions is searchable.
If a significant number of people switched from printed to electronic
format it would raise the cost of printing, since the set-up costs
would be spread over fewer copies.

It would complicate things from an administraive viewpoint having both
options available, but on the other hand would reduce the effort
involved in packing "Light Railways" for postage.

At the moment I find it difficult to comprehend what effect this would
have on the Society's finances and membership levels. If done, it
could turn out to be the best thing we have ever done, or the worst.

Regards,

Frank


Frank Stamford
 

Hello Joy,

I think the editors of "Light Railways" are considering doing another
survey of readers.

Regards,

Frank

--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, "Joy" <jloughnan@...> wrote:

Unfortunately those people are missing out on so much! Could you do
another survey?


--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, "Frank Stamford" <frank.stamford@>
wrote:


Unfortunately many of them won't go near a computer. When we did a
survey of LRRSA members a few years around 80% said they did not use
computers.


Frank Stamford
 

--- In LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au, BLI BLI <alcogoodwin@...> wrote:


I have mentioned LR to many of the younger fans I
know in Brissie and while they have a huge interest in
cane railways they have either hardly ever seen the
magazine (though being in newsagents nowdays makes
this harder to believe) or for some reason the
magazine just hasn't captivated them enough to
subscribe.
Captivating them is likely the big issue. Perhaps a
redesign, perhaps more in your face appearances at
exhibitions, maybe even an expension of content (not
at the expense of current topics), who knows. But
there is enough people on this Yahoogroup to give a
multitude of suggestions.
To try to help captivate them I have put free sample copy of "Light
Railways" as a pdf download on our website. Unfortunately it is a bit
old (LR157) but it is the latest version I have in pdf format.

Regards,

Frank


Frank Savery
 

Hi all,
Just a comment on the age groups of members.
When I was secretary of the S.E. Qld branch we used to get about 18-20 members & guests to our bi-monthly meetings. Of the fairly regular attendee's I would guess that 1 would have been in late 20's - early 30's, bracket, a couple more in the 30's-40's bracket and the remainder around the retirement age bracket.
Nowadays, I'm a regular volunteer on both the Don River Railway and the Redwater Creek Railway in Tasmania and the break-up of volunteers is pretty much the same.

Prior to moving South I was secretary of the Modelling the Railways of Queensland coventions, we got about 100 people to each convention and I think under 20's 5%, 30's-40's 15% and over 50's 80% would be pretty close.

I'm afraid formal organisations such as LRRSA, AMRA, ARHS, etc. don't seem to appeal to the younger generation, maybe it's not "cool" to belong to a formal group.

Cheers,
Frank Savery,
Ulverstone,
Tasmania

----- Original Message -----
From: Frank Stamford
To: LRRSA@yahoogroups.com.au
Sent: Friday, September 28, 2007 4:22 PM
Subject: [LRRSA] The future of groups like LRRSA - was Re: Book pricing


espee8800 <espee8800@...>
 

I fear the internet has changed dramatically the way hobbies are being pursued nowadays. No longer is membership of a formal group needed to obtain the information and share the experiences of your section of the hobby. The internet groups cater for this quite well. Unfortunately this will herald the demise of the formal group as we know it but that will mean an end to the socalising of us human beings with a consequent loss of the ability to get along in a group. Witness the dummy spits that occur on the internet now and again. Of course if young people get involved in real preservation scheme because they adapt with the times and don't have a management structure that goes around saying "in my day..............."

cheers
David in Avenel Victoria.

Frank Savery wrote:

Hi all,
Just a comment on the age groups of members. When I was secretary of the S.E. Qld branch we used to get about 18-20 members & guests to our bi-monthly meetings. Of the fairly regular attendee's I would guess that 1 would have been in late 20's - early 30's, bracket, a couple more in the 30's-40's bracket and the remainder around the retirement age bracket.
Nowadays, I'm a regular volunteer on both the Don River Railway and the Redwater Creek Railway in Tasmania and the break-up of volunteers is pretty much the same.

Prior to moving South I was secretary of the Modelling the Railways of Queensland coventions, we got about 100 people to each convention and I think under 20's 5%, 30's-40's 15% and over 50's 80% would be pretty close.

I'm afraid formal organisations such as LRRSA, AMRA, ARHS, etc. don't seem to appeal to the younger generation, maybe it's not "cool" to belong to a formal group.

Cheers,
Frank Savery,
Ulverstone,
Tasmania