Re: RARA-AVIS: Two buck books

From: Patrick King (
Date: 16 Oct 2007

You're missing the picture here, Kevin. $2.25 is the modern equivalent of 35 cents in 1960. If books made a profit at 35 cents in 1960, what's changed that makes it impossible to make a profit with books for $2.25 today. Sure, publishers make more by selling fewer books at $10 each. But consequently, fewer of us are willing, maybe even able to try new writers. The argument that cheaper books don't sell rings hollow when those cheaper books are not marketed even as well as the 35 cent books were in 1960. Hell, you can print up a million books to sell at a buck a copy, keep them in a warehouse, then say, "people don't buy dollar books 'cause I've got a whole warehouse full of 'em."

There are basically two ways of generating a profit: You make a few things that are difficult to manufacture and you sell them at a high price. Or you make a lot of things that are easy to manufacture and sell them at a low price. This is how commerce worked for centuries. In the midst of the electronic revolution, some joker realized that you can put a high price on something that's easy to manufacture and as long as the public has no alternative, they'll eventually pay the price. That's what publishers' conventions are for, to set the price that all publishers will adhere to. In 1969 you could buy a good new car or a college education for $3,000 in the United States. By 1999, not only had the price for these items increased literally ten times, but every citizen of the US is hard pressed to just get by without both of them. These are examples of things that were expensive to begin with because hard to deliver.

If you go to the Odd Lot Traders here in New England, you can buy all of the Harry Potter paperbacks for
$2.49. I don't know how this works. These are popular books, MPR 8.99, and a discount store sells brand new copies, covers in tact for $2.49? Do they get these books for free? Or is the initial price so inflated that after the publisher has sold as many as they can to the suckers who just couldn't wait, at ten bucks per, they're now prepared to sell their giant remainder pile to those of us who are mildly curious, at a normal price.

I mean, didn't we see this absolute scenario occur with the Iphone a few weeks ago? All those jerks stood in line all night to be the frist to buy an Iphone, and ten days later Apple dropped the price by $200! These tactics ARE being employed in the USA. Nearly everything is marked up 1000%. Sales departments find it much more profitable to sell things at very high prices to a few consumers, then sell the remainder at a mere 500% mark up when the style changes. Everybody thinks they've got a bargain and the sales department's laughing all the way to the bank.

The fact that they've actually convinced you that everything HAS to be this way in order for you, personally, to make a living is a level of con artistry the equivelant of selling the Brooklyn Bridge. The giant profits made in overpricing stay in the pockets of the people who set it up. The rest of us are paid out of operating expenses.

As to capital punishment, Ted Bundy kill any girls in your neighborhood lately? How about Aileen Wournos? Or Charley Starkweather? Hear about them killing anybody recently? If not, I guess capital punishment managed to deter them pretty effectively.

Patrick King

--- Kevin Burton Smith
<> wrote:

> Patrick King said: "I'd love to see a return to a
> $2.00 paperback book.
> Don't tell me no one can make money doing that."
> Sure, and your salary can revert to what it would
> have been back when paperbacks were two bucks.
> Don't tell me your boss will mind doing that."
> Sorry, Patrick. It ain't gonna happen, unless
> everyone (including the author) agrees not to make
> any money on it. Me, personally? I like to get paid.
> And as for capital punishment, if it really was a
> deterrent, the few countries that still routinely
> execute prisoners would also be the safest.
> They aren't. Look out the window.
> Kevin
> [Non-text portions of this message have been
> removed]

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