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Re: [PPLetterpress] Book Sale list (on dumpsterizing books)

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  • Scott Rubel
    Race to the bottom is right. I was excited about ebay when it first came out. It seemed like the perfect way to get every object into the right hands. I was
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 4, 2012
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      "Race to the bottom" is right. I was excited about ebay when it first came out. It seemed like the perfect way to get every object into the right hands.

      I was right, but what I couldn't see then was that, in making this so easy, it (not just ebay, but the internet in general) is causing almost everything to reach its bottom value. This is probably most distinguished in the book category. Perhaps this is because everyone perceived a book as a vehicle of knowledge, which they think can all be had online now.

      Sad, but I am hardly motivated to try and sell a book anymore. It's got to be pretty remarkable and rare to be worth considering the 15 minutes it will take to pack and ship it.

      So, us book lovers should welcome the eventual pole shift or solar flares or whatever it is that's going to knock out the internet for a while. We may lose our vehicle for selling, but at least the values may eventually start going up again.

      --Scott

      On Sep 4, 2012, at 8:42 AM, joe@... wrote:

      >> Sometimes you are better off just throwing the stuff in the
      >> dumpster. You'd save money.
      >>
      >
      > This hurts especially since I've been thinking about doing this for
      > some books that I have lots of multiple copies of (Linotype Specimen
      > books from the 1990s, some books that I've published like Directory of
      > Type Designers, etc.). I worry that the dealer framework isn't working
      > for book dealers or users. Without a pricing framework there is just a
      > rush to the bottom with books selling for a penny on Amazon. While
      > this should be good for readers I think its decimated the field and
      > removed any incentive for bothering to sell books. This actually
      > lessens the marketplace. Why bother to sell books when its more
      > profitable to throw them away?
      >
      > Its a strange time for books. I'm trying to design a new Hansel &
      > Gretel book with lasercut shadow cutouts. Its meant to be read or
      > projected as a shadow theatre. I've had it in the works for over a
      > year and can't figure out the appropriate format. There are 5 very
      > detailed laser cuts which take 21 minutes per book to cut. If I add
      > letterpress type, a slipcase, and a Maglite flashlight I'll be looking
      > at a cost of around $60 a piece to produce it. This turns into a very
      > expensive book at retail. I'm more inclined to make just the lasercuts
      > without the slipcase and letterpress to reduce the cost. I don't want
      > to produce some big magnum opus. At this point I'd just like to make
      > some little things that will live quietly on a shelf and not get
      > dumpsterized.
      >
      > Best
      >
      > Joe
      >
      >
      > ------------------------------------
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
    • Gerald Lange
      Joe In the 37 years I ve been involved in the letterpress printing of books this has been a continuous refrain from book dealers. Fine press books are no
      Message 2 of 11 , Sep 4, 2012
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        Joe

        In the 37 years I've been involved in the letterpress printing of books this has been a continuous refrain from book dealers. Fine press books are no longer salable, etc. Ever been to CODEX?

        I do believe though that the market has significantly changed but I suspect that is not necessarily a bad thing. And there is ample opportunity on the internet to market your wares. You just have to get it out there.

        If you don't make something that anyone else wants, well, that is your thing. Not necessarily a bad thing, unless of course, you really are hoping to make a living at it. No free lunch.

        Well, there is always Kickstarter and the like. Didn't Meg Whitman use Fundly to help fund her California gubernatorial campaign? something like $23 million. You can do it too!

        She lost by the way.

        Gerald
        http://BielerPress.blogspot.com



        --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "joe@..." <joe@...> wrote:
        >
        > > Sometimes you are better off just throwing the stuff in the
        > > dumpster. You'd save money.
        > >
        >
        > This hurts especially since I've been thinking about doing this for
        > some books that I have lots of multiple copies of (Linotype Specimen
        > books from the 1990s, some books that I've published like Directory of
        > Type Designers, etc.). I worry that the dealer framework isn't working
        > for book dealers or users. Without a pricing framework there is just a
        > rush to the bottom with books selling for a penny on Amazon. While
        > this should be good for readers I think its decimated the field and
        > removed any incentive for bothering to sell books. This actually
        > lessens the marketplace. Why bother to sell books when its more
        > profitable to throw them away?
        >
        > Its a strange time for books. I'm trying to design a new Hansel &
        > Gretel book with lasercut shadow cutouts. Its meant to be read or
        > projected as a shadow theatre. I've had it in the works for over a
        > year and can't figure out the appropriate format. There are 5 very
        > detailed laser cuts which take 21 minutes per book to cut. If I add
        > letterpress type, a slipcase, and a Maglite flashlight I'll be looking
        > at a cost of around $60 a piece to produce it. This turns into a very
        > expensive book at retail. I'm more inclined to make just the lasercuts
        > without the slipcase and letterpress to reduce the cost. I don't want
        > to produce some big magnum opus. At this point I'd just like to make
        > some little things that will live quietly on a shelf and not get
        > dumpsterized.
        >
        > Best
        >
        > Joe
        >
      • joe@sarabande.com
        Gerald, ... We did that back in May. http://kck.st/KxbEw5 Our project exceeded its goal. My primary hope--besides getting money-- was to get new people aware
        Message 3 of 11 , Sep 4, 2012
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          Gerald,
          > Well, there is always Kickstarter and the like.
          >

          We did that back in May.

          http://kck.st/KxbEw5

          Our project exceeded its goal. My primary hope--besides getting money--
          was to get new people aware of our work. Something like 52% of our
          backers were people who were new to me. We also managed to get
          software developed for use with the animation toy which we could not
          have done without the kickstarter base. In hindsight our major failing
          was that we actually shipped the promised rewards. The big projects
          seem to take a year to ship. I knew that I was doing something wrong.
          > If you don't make something that anyone else wants, well, that is
          > your thing.
          >
          Its not just about making things that no one wants; I've always done
          that. The question is the size of the market and the price point that
          people are willing to pay.

          Best

          Joe
        • Gerald Lange
          Joe That s kind of a difficult question. Likely one you actually do not want to know the answer to. If you can hype or market your art or work as if it were
          Message 4 of 11 , Sep 4, 2012
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            Joe

            That's kind of a difficult question. Likely one you actually do not want
            to know the answer to. If you can hype or market your art or work as if
            it were some kind of widget or incredible collectible, well, you might
            be able to do that (though you might not like the taste in your mouth).

            Probably not though, and probably good for you in the long run. Just do
            it, like Walter Hamady said, because "you have to."

            W. A. Dwiggins probably did his greatest and most incredible work with
            his marionettes. Did he make any money doing that? Is he remembered for
            that? One book, The Dwiggins Marionettes, published belatedly, details
            this, and for years it sat unsold by the publisher. I dearly admire WAD,
            for his early illustration work (which he remorsefully abandoned) and
            his typeface design directive, but most humanly for his great passion as
            shown in that book. I was absolutely astounded when I found it,
            remaindered by the publisher after so many years.

            Gerald
            http://BielerPress.blogspot.com


            On 9/4/12 10:01 PM, joe@... wrote:
            > Gerald,
            >
            >> If you don't make something that anyone else wants, well, that is
            >> your thing.
            >>
            > Its not just about making things that no one wants; I've always done
            > that. The question is the size of the market and the price point that
            > people are willing to pay.
            >
            > Best
            >
            > Joe
          • Barbara Hauser
            Difficult question indeed. I ll have a booth at the Los Angeles Printers Fair this year, mostly to pass on type that I m culling from my collection but also to
            Message 5 of 11 , Sep 5, 2012
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              Difficult question indeed. I'll have a booth at the Los Angeles Printers Fair this year, mostly to pass on type that I'm culling from my collection but also to distribute some of the prints I've created because "I had to." How to price them? Too high and someone who really appreciates and wants a print might need to walk away. Too low and not only will my print be devalued, but it will alter the value of letterpress prints in general. Then there's the issue of whether I'm looking for "a good home" for my prints. If someone pays $30 for a print they may frame it; if they pay $5 it may get thumbtacked to the wall and then trashed when the grandkid's doodle replaces it. The question here is, do I really care what happens? If simple appreciation is the goal, then maybe I should ask potential purchasers to state in 25 words or less why they want the print, and adjust the price depending on the answer. Or perhaps I should ask them to point out five features that they especially like about the print, and if one of their answers is "I love how you kerned the W and o in `World,'" then bingo, a free print for you, madam. I suppose I'll have to look at a lot of print prices and consider the things that affect value: The rarity? The size? The paper? The number of colors? The complexity? The intellectual depth? The overall design? The typography? The presswork? The renown of the printer? Extra points if it's signed by a poet laureate. As for any undistributed prints that remain at the end of my days, I truly don't care whether they end up in the dumpster of some heir down the line. They served their purpose just getting created, and perhaps just enabling letterpress to survive for one more generation.

              --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, Gerald Lange <Bieler@...> wrote:
              >
              > Joe
              >
              > That's kind of a difficult question. Likely one you actually do not want
              > to know the answer to. If you can hype or market your art or work as if
              > it were some kind of widget or incredible collectible, well, you might
              > be able to do that (though you might not like the taste in your mouth).
              >
              > Probably not though, and probably good for you in the long run. Just do
              > it, like Walter Hamady said, because "you have to."...
              >
              > On 9/4/12 10:01 PM, joe@... wrote:
              > > Gerald,
              > >
              > >> If you don't make something that anyone else wants, well, that is
              > >> your thing.
              > >>
              > > Its not just about making things that no one wants; I've always done
              > > that. The question is the size of the market and the price point that
              > > people are willing to pay.
              > >
              > > Best
              > >
              > > Joe
              >
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