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Alan Mann book--anybody read it yet?


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#1 HistoryBuff

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 22:14

I read about it in some current issue of an English magazine. It seemed that he slammed Ford a lot for going big block with the Ford GT. The story about the book didn't mention the Daytona Cobras or if it did, I missed it. As a Yank I would rather have the book entirely on the Shelby-Ford USA connection but then I realize it's a UK book primarily for a UK market. Does anyone who's read it feel he chastized Ford too harshly?

Anyhow here's some details on the book from Amazon.com


Alan Mann - A Life of Chance: The Story of the Fabulous Racing Fords [Hardcover]
Mann Alan (Author), Tony Dron (Author) Hardcover: 268 pages
Publisher: Motor Racing Publications (February 18, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1899870857
ISBN-13: 978-1899870851
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 10.8 inches

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#2 Alan Cox

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:49

I haven't yet acquired a copy, so cannot give you a personal opinion, but you might find Karl Ludvigsen's review on Amazon helpful. http://www.amazon.co.../R3U2RMRNZ0KLRH
PS Having read the universally complimentary reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, I have now placed my order.

Edited by Alan Cox, 08 May 2013 - 10:59.


#3 sterling49

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 10:51

As I will be, the man was a legend :up:

#4 Doug Nye

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 11:49

Never mind all this UK targeted/US targeted tosh - it's a super book which does Alan and writer Tony Dron great credit. Buy it. You should not be disappointed. Does he "slam Shelby hard" - I don't think so. The ways of FoMoCo take a fairsized pounding, however...

DCN

Edited by Doug Nye, 08 May 2013 - 11:52.


#5 Alan Baker

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 12:11

I got this book from Amazon a few days before it's publication date in February. Yes it is worth having for it's description of racing in the good old days, but don't for one moment think that coming from the horse's mouth equates to the unvarnished truth. The impression one gets is that Mann was very full of himself. As regards the Ford GT programme, it is significant that John Wyer makes no reference at all to Mann in "The Certain Sound" while Mann's references to Wyer in this book are not exactly complimentary. Ironically, both thought the small block was the way to go but were overruled by Ford. It has to be said that, in terms of results, Mann's contribution to the Ford GT programme was negligible, just the second place at Spa in '66 with the borrowed Shelby Mk.II. He does not have anything positive to say about the Mark II, suggesting that it's suspension was not as well developed as his pet "lightweight" GT40's, which seems strange when one considers that such accomplished development drivers as Bruce McLaren and Ken Miles did the testing. What is not mentioned in the book is that Mann's own drivers at the Le Mans Test days (Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart) both tried the Shelby Mk.II and said it was better than the Mann lightweight, which was one of the reasons that Mann was told to drop his own cars and run Shelby built Mk.IIs in the race. In 1968 came the disastrous F3L project which suggests that Mann should have stuck to what he knew best ...i.e. touring cars.

#6 proviz

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 13:00


The Falcon exploits make for very interesting reading, too, although the popular misconception that Bo Ljungleld was fastest on all stages of 1964 Monte Carlo Rally is repeated. Esko Keinänen was actually quite some way ahead after the first three stages, having made fastest times with his Valiant on two of them.



#7 HistoryBuff

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 15:37

Wow that is a penetrating review from Mr. Baker--I will have to forward it to my friend from the UK who is building an exact replica of a big block Mk. II (maybe I can convince him to go small block). I am making efforts to get the book and will weigh in after I read it, my background is two co-authoring books on the Ford GT , both out of print. I think Alan Mann's anti-big block bias has to be weighed against results--as much as he hated them, they won LeMans twice, in '66 and '67. True small blocks won in '68 & '69 but at least the big blocks did the job at the time. I personally think the 289 Ford engine had too many flaws to run strong for 24 hours and that's why the '68 and '69 Ford GTs used 302s that were superior. I know a Ford executive who claims that Ford actually supplied the engines in '68 though Ford was out of racing--I don't know if that's supported in any books.



#8 E1pix

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 15:47

As I will be, the man was a legend :up:

I've heard you already are. :p

#9 sterling49

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 16:19

Thank you Eric, very droll ! Legend? Muppet more like :lol:

#10 RS2000

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 20:38

I wrote a review of this book on the book thread some time ago.
Edit: Post 6887 there.

There are some surprising errors in the book, which can probably be put down to a combination of AM's memory by that time and a co-author not too conversant with one of the disciplines covered.

Edited by RS2000, 08 May 2013 - 20:45.


#11 AAGR

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 21:42

I wrote a review of this book on the book thread some time ago.
Edit: Post 6887 there.

'There are some surprising errors in the book, which can probably be put down to a combination of AM's memory by that time and a co-author not too conversant with one of the disciplines covered.'



Examples, please

#12 Fred Gallagher

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 07:06

The Falcon exploits make for very interesting reading, too, although the popular misconception that Bo Ljungleld was fastest on all stages of 1964 Monte Carlo Rally is repeated. Esko Keinänen was actually quite some way ahead after the first three stages, having made fastest times with his Valiant on two of them.


Interesting point! Contemporary reports suggest that timekeepers at stage ends were reporting Keinanen to be fastest but there was no official confirmation. The official results issued at the end of the Etape du Classement only include competitors who retired. Keinanen's time card may well be the only source of his times?

I thought the book was terrific (as is the Graham Warner one).

Fred

#13 BRG

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 21:09

The official results issued at the end of the Etape du Classement only include competitors who retired.

Err, come again? That would be unusual even for ACM?

#14 Fred Gallagher

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 05:44

Err, come again? That would be unusual even for ACM?


Doh! I meant only those who finished, of course.

Sorry.

Fred

#15 AAGR

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 08:54

Examples, please



Still waiting for examples, please.

Oohh, but .... RS2000 usually only quotes from old magazines (he was not there at the time), but somehow I think I would rather trust Alan Mann's personal recollections and opinions.

As Fred Gallagher said, a terrific book, made even more fluent by 'ghost' Tony Dron's expertise.

AAGR

Edited by AAGR, 10 May 2013 - 11:32.


#16 D-Type

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 15:59

Still waiting for examples, please.

Oohh, but .... RS2000 usually only quotes from old magazines (he was not there at the time), but somehow I think I would rather trust Alan Mann's personal recollections and opinions.

As Fred Gallagher said, a terrific book, made even more fluent by 'ghost' Tony Dron's expertise.

AAGR

Have you read RS2000's review on the Book thread - he gives a couple of examples there.

Edited by D-Type, 10 May 2013 - 16:00.


#17 RTH

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 09:16

Just got it ...........Oh really nice, big heavy hardback ,glossy artpaper ,full of great photos ,268 big pages and ...joy in a type font you don't need the Hubble telescope to read.
Traces the history from start to finish I know I will really enjoy reading it. Looks great.

#18 RS2000

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 21:26

I seem to have missed the news that newcomer to here AAGR had been appointed head master, to issue peremptory instructions to others.
There have been far too many examples already (and I'm sure others where I have not been interested enough to return to a thread) of his apparent personal vendetta/agenda that is unrelated to this forum. He really must improve his manners here.

Proviz had already given an example above of Alan Mann getting facts wrong. FJG had also, on another thread, corrected Mann's view of Scandanavian first names and diminutives thereof in his book. As D-Type has just posted, I gave a classic example on the book thread of Mann's failing memory. (It will be Stuart Turner and many others AAGR is taking on if he challenges that one, although, as D-Type asks, it looks as if he hadn't even followed the link there to read it before launching into another personal tirade).
Mann himself has previously been quoted on here regarding his failing memory of some facts, so that is not for debate.
I don't actually recall AAGR correcting his own recent lengthy and totally erroneus opinion via Roger Clark when it became apparent many of us on here had just been reading Eric Jackson himself on the subject and EJ's daughter was a member here to confirm it.
AAGR was in some places I wasn't and I was in some places he wasn't. So what? Where exactly wasn't I in this particular case he now quotes? (I was actually living quite close to Alan Mann's Byfleet base and AAGR probably wasn't).

Whilst it is not for me or anyone else here to respond to AAGR (or anyone else's) demands, he can in the meantime retract the false statement that I have access to a lot of old magazines (oh I so wish I had, both those few I once possessed and those I never possessed, like so many others on here are often saying too).
We can make allowances for a newcomer's age and possible unfamiliarity with a truly informed forum (as opposed to fanboy sites perhaps) but AAGR is not getting the message that he goeth too far too often.

#19 richie

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 21:26

What's the justification for a £45 price tag?

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#20 David Wright

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 21:49

I would guess its the limited demand.

I think RS2000's review is pretty fair. While I enjoyed reading the book, it is a shame that AMRs major achievements in the area of touring car racing are not covered in the same depth as AMRs minor involvement in the GT40 programme.

#21 RTH

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 06:14

What's the justification for a £45 price tag?



In this strange world of book selling cover prices seem now to mean nothing

http://www.amazon.co...words=alan mann



#22 Alan Cox

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 08:26

I would guess its the limited demand..

I think that can be said about all the specialist motoring titles that appeal to TNFers. £45 is not exceptional as a cover price for a modern motoring book of substance and good production quality.

#23 kayemod

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 11:17

Does anyone know if the book covers AM's period of flying model planes? He participated in model pylon racing, a scaled down version of what they do in the US with Mustangs & Bearcats etc. It was pretty hot stuff and exciting to watch. For a year or two Alan was the man to beat, you can still buy plans of his winning model, it was named "Manneater". It was an expensive branch of the hobby, I only went to watch, but despite the considerable sums they spent, us modellers were a scruffy bunch, mostly dressed in oily clothes and working out of the back of a Cortina estate, but Alan was always immaculate, he always had at least one well-dressed helper, and the only vehicle I can remember him using back then was an expensively customised Transit. If he didn't win the World Championships, he might have come second. That's something else he was very good at that, as well as running his racing team.

#24 charles r

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 11:38

Mine arrived from Amazon last week for £28.80 inc p&p. Only 4 left in stock at that point.
I have only just started reading it, but it looks like Mr Dron has done an excellent job.

#25 proviz

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 12:23

Does anyone know if the book covers AM's period of flying model planes? He participated in model pylon racing, a scaled down version of what they do in the US with Mustangs & Bearcats etc. It was pretty hot stuff and exciting to watch. For a year or two Alan was the man to beat, you can still buy plans of his winning model, it was named "Manneater". It was an expensive branch of the hobby, I only went to watch, but despite the considerable sums they spent, us modellers were a scruffy bunch, mostly dressed in oily clothes and working out of the back of a Cortina estate, but Alan was always immaculate, he always had at least one well-dressed helper, and the only vehicle I can remember him using back then was an expensively customised Transit. If he didn't win the World Championships, he might have come second. That's something else he was very good at that, as well as running his racing team.


I haven't read it cover to cover yet, but flying does creep into the story every now and then and there is a photo of him and his wife with a model plane. That caption might be the only place, where pylon racing is mentioned, though.



#26 Alan Cox

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 13:27

I haven't read it cover to cover yet, but flying does creep into the story every now and then and there is a photo of him and his wife with a model plane. That caption might be the only place, where pylon racing is mentioned, though.

You'll find that is the only reference to the pylon flying

#27 AAGR

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 17:22

Anorak alert ....

One major factor in the pricing of books is in the huge discounts demanded by the wholesalers who agree to sell the finished product.

This explains, too, why it is often cheaper to get a book, through the Internet, direct from the publisher or from Amazon.



#28 kayemod

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 17:34

You'll find that is the only reference to the pylon flying


Yes, I know it's sad, really sad, but a few of us might have been more interested in a book about Alan Mann the model flyer, that contained a single photo of him and his wife with a racing car of some description.


#29 BRG

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 20:51

In this strange world of book selling cover prices seem now to mean nothing

http://www.amazon.co...words=alan mann

Well, if you aren't paying any UK corporation tax, you can afford to discount.... :mad:

#30 Bjorn Kjer

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 22:18

Any transporter Pictures , full or partly ?

#31 proviz

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 07:23

Just three, but one of them is of a transporter loaded with HWM-Alta about to set off to 1957 Naples GP and another a spledid colour shot of the ex-Reventlow transporter loaded with Cobra Daytona Coupes.
Bjorn, I think you should get this one anyway!

Edited by proviz, 17 May 2013 - 07:24.


#32 PonysiteEd

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 15:35

Here is an AMR transporter at the Monte Carlo 1964.
Posted Image
Picture courtesy David and Alex Campion (ex-mechanic AMR).

Edited by PonysiteEd, 17 May 2013 - 15:35.


#33 retriever

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Posted 18 May 2013 - 19:51

What's the justification for a £45 price tag?


The print run is one major factor - the lower the run, the higher the production unit cost. This book has 268 pages and over 200 colour & b/w photographs. That amount of photos means hefty reproduction fees to the copyright owners. Another factor is storage and distribution fees - many of the larger publishers use third parties to store and distribute their stock. There is also the author's royalty arrangements to consider. Another factor is the market which it is selling into. True or not those interested in motor sport are seen as being more well heeled than some and therefore there is an element in the price to reflect this. In the end the publisher has got to make a return on his investment. I was once told by a publisher friend that the cost / selling price was a multiple of 5 to 6 times.

Finally, there is the Amazon factor. Amazon now sell 25% of all books in the UK, they buying either direct or via a wholesaler. A wholesaler will want to buy stock anything up to 60% from the publisher. Normal bookshops (not Smiths or Waterstones) will be offered 35 to 40% off of retail price, this leaving a margin of 20% to 25% for the wholesaler. When the wholesaler sells to Amazon the discount given is much higher, 50% or thereabouts. The Wholesaler can afford to do this as his lower return is offset by the volume sales gained by selling to Amazon.

With so many books now selling at high discounts through wholesalers to Amazon or to Amazon direct by the publisher then there has to be an oncost element built into the retail price by the publisher to accommodate this. Without this the publisher is just not getting a viable return on his investment.

Today many publishers sell direct by their own website as well as selling to third parties but even here they lose as normally their price (even with a 20% discount) is higher than the Amazon price. One way some overcome this is by having their own retail shop on Amazon and offering high discounts but they will be trading under another name to do this. An example of this is, I believe, Veloce, their Amazon shop being, I believe, Betterbooks4u.

Never mind, soon there will be no bookshops and only Amazon - who will probably have bought out the wholesalers by then - to sell to at their terms, soon after that there will be very few books published as who is going to invest so much for so little return. Did I hear somebody say "what about the Monopolies Commission" - it's too late for that - they should have stepped in years ago!

The rot set in with the abolition of the net book agreement and it has all gone downhill from then.

#34 D-Type

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:07

The print run i~

~soon there will be no bookshops ~ soon after that there will be very few books published ~ it's too late for that ~

The rot set in with the abolition of the net book agreement and it has all gone downhill from then.

O tempore - o mores!

#35 David McKinney

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:18

I don't buy books without looking at them first, so I guess that means I won't be buying any more...

#36 kayemod

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:40

Never mind, soon there will be no bookshops and only Amazon...


Anyone else remember the situation from not too many years ago, Amazon were a bit of a joke in business circles, no-one was too impressed with the Geoff Bezos business model, huge and growing turnover, but with miniscule profits. Now their turnover is even huger with profits to match, but miniscule tax contributions. If Adolf Hitler had had a few of Amazon's accountants, he might well have achieved his aim of World Domination, provided of course that Tesco hadn't got there first.


#37 Peter Morley

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:51

Anyone else remember the situation from not too many years ago, Amazon were a bit of a joke in business circles, no-one was too impressed with the Geoff Bezos business model, huge and growing turnover, but with miniscule profits. Now their turnover is even huger with profits to match, but miniscule tax contributions. If Adolf Hitler had had a few of Amazon's accountants, he might well have achieved his aim of World Domination, provided of course that Tesco hadn't got there first.


I thought that Amazon lost something like 140 million last year?

#38 kayemod

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:58

I thought that Amazon lost something like 140 million last year?


I suspect that their accountants "lost" it for them.

#39 PonysiteEd

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 10:32

Any transporter Pictures , full or partly ?

Another Dodge transporter of AMR at Karlskroga 1965.
Posted Image
On the way back team members had to sit in the top and rear loaded Mustangs, John Grant remembered.

“It was really dangerous. I remember when we came back from Karlskoga. Brian Lewis drove the transporter with his wife next to him and 2 other team members next in the front cabin. We were sitting in Roys Mustang back on the ramp and Sir Gawaine Baillie sitting on top in his Mustang. When the transporter went into a curve, we were really bending over in our loaded cars. That was real scary, but those were the days.

In the early days we had no transporter, we drove with the race cars on the road home or to the racetrack. Only Sir Gawaine Baillies car was pulled by a Galaxie station wagon. His car was always in showroom condition. "


It think John Grant could have easily made up the many gaps in Alan Manns memories and this book.
When I did the first interview with Alan Mann in 3 tel. calls, John corrected a lot of the mistakes later on. Reading a later interview from an UK mag (Dinner with Alan) it was easy to understand that the editor must have had a hard time in getting anything beyond already printed out of him during that lunch. I had the impression (and it took me one year to get his ear) that Alan Mann never really "wanted" to remember things, thus deleted the things in his brain until he prepared his return to join or support maybe his son Henry. I did my interview with him more than a year before he returned to the scene btw.
I recently talked to John again and he has an answer for every detail, be it the Cobras or the Galaxies around the Byfleet spot. I suggested him that he may rather do his own book on his AMR history.
(For some interested readers see http://www.ponysite.de/john_grant.htm

Edited by PonysiteEd, 19 May 2013 - 10:39.


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#40 David Wright

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 10:46

I bought the book through Amazon. Was it stocked in my city's bookshops? No. Would I have paid £45 for the book if it had been stocked? No.

#41 MCS

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:28

Anyone else remember the situation from not too many years ago, Amazon were a bit of a joke in business circles, no-one was too impressed with the Geoff Bezos business model, huge and growing turnover, but with miniscule profits. Now their turnover is even huger with profits to match, but miniscule tax contributions. If Adolf Hitler had had a few of Amazon's accountants, he might well have achieved his aim of World Domination, provided of course that Tesco hadn't got there first.

Well, Tesco – who are a bank in their own right now, with over 90% of their operations in-house – do have an extremely useful database of UK individuals due to their Clubcard. From a retail banking perspective they will soon dominate, believe me.

I thought that Amazon lost something like 140 million last year?

I doubt anybody knows – other than Amazon of course (and that’s an assumption based on no evidence other than the obvious premise that one would expect them to know exactly what was going on within their own organisation). Their "debt" of course, is not necessarily the case and they clearly aren't particularly er, good at disseminating that type of information.

The issue, however, is actually simple: they have become a complete mystery. When they started (as a book seller if we remember) they made various statements that they would expect to be in profit at the ten year point, etc., etc. Since then the blurring has been almost total.

As they diversified into all manner of other product lines and services it has become an even more complex conundrum. It is suggested that they lose money on a very large number of items they sell and that their Kindle business is actually very, very profitable. In the meantime their Cloud offering remains a “hidden asset” in terms of what it delivers in terms of profit and loss.

We may never know the full story – I doubt we will, actually - but I am happy to purchase at cutdown prices. Who wouldn’t be?


#42 David McKinney

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 11:31

My point exactly

#43 sterling49

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 12:19

I used to also purchase from BOL.com, what became of them?

#44 Peter Morley

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 13:42

I doubt anybody knows – other than Amazon of course (and that’s an assumption based on no evidence other than the obvious premise that one would expect them to know exactly what was going on within their own organisation). Their "debt" of course, is not necessarily the case and they clearly aren't particularly er, good at disseminating that type of information.

The issue, however, is actually simple: they have become a complete mystery. When they started (as a book seller if we remember) they made various statements that they would expect to be in profit at the ten year point, etc., etc. Since then the blurring has been almost total.

As they diversified into all manner of other product lines and services it has become an even more complex conundrum. It is suggested that they lose money on a very large number of items they sell and that their Kindle business is actually very, very profitable. In the meantime their Cloud offering remains a “hidden asset” in terms of what it delivers in terms of profit and loss.

We may never know the full story – I doubt we will, actually - but I am happy to purchase at cutdown prices. Who wouldn’t be?


Quite - it is easy enough for Amazon's accountants to show they lost money (and why would you expect anyone working on such tiny margins to make much money), therefore no point crying about them not paying tax.
What doesn't make sense is why the banks are happy to back 'virtual' businesses that apparently continue to lose money whereas a real bricks & mortar company losing such amounts is closed down by the same banks.
Maybe the banks think they will be able to create a monopoly and then whack the prices up...

While I am happy to buy books that I would not buy at full price through them (or preferably one of their rivals) I am always left with a nagging feeling that the payback will come in the future.
The same is true of a lot of products, some things are getting so cheap it is hard to imagine that the price is sustainable.
When you look at mobile phones they were getting so cheap that the opportunity to charge a fortune for so called smartphones (e.g. $600 for an iPhone that costs Apple $200) must have been better than finding a golden egg laying goose.

I did hear that Amazon are looking to have a high street presence - along the lines of Argos - but it is hard to see how that would work apart from being a location to collect stuff that has been ordered, as with many online businesses much of their "stock" remains in the suppliers warehouse until it is sold.


#45 Peter Morley

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 13:51

I used to also purchase from BOL.com, what became of them?


Still going, in Holland & Belgium at least, just had a look at their website and the prices aren't great. Things that I've bought in real shops recently are all dearer on their website and possibly subject to additional shipping costs.

#46 Allen Brown

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 18:57

In the meantime their Cloud offering remains a “hidden asset” in terms of what it delivers in terms of profit and loss.

We may never know the full story – I doubt we will, actually - but I am happy to purchase at cutdown prices. Who wouldn’t be?


Purchasing at cut down prices isn't always a good idea. Bear in mind that is also established practice for drug dealers to get new customers. The price hikes come once you're hooked.

Amazon's Cloud service baffles me too. It is extraordinarily cheap. So cheap in fact, it makes me uncomfortable and I hardly ever use it.