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#1 Ron Scoma

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 05:18

Gentlemen (and Lady)

What is the collective wisdom of this list as to the books from Palawan Press?
I just received a catalogue from them and.... well, they are expensive.
I have no problem spending money (and aint that the truth) but I really hate wasting it.
So, are they worth the price?
Putting things in perspective ... if I were to get 3 books from them it would cost me more than my second car did, and that was an ex Mexican RR Ferrari..... :
Thanks for any comments.

Ron Scoma

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#2 petefenelon

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 11:16

Originally posted by Ron Scoma
Gentlemen (and Lady)

What is the collective wisdom of this list as to the books from Palawan Press?
I just received a catalogue from them and.... well, they are expensive.
I have no problem spending money (and aint that the truth) but I really hate wasting it.
So, are they worth the price?
Putting things in perspective ... if I were to get 3 books from them it would cost me more than my second car did, and that was an ex Mexican RR Ferrari..... :
Thanks for any comments.

Ron Scoma


Palawan make beautiful objects. I mean, they're gorgeous - far nicer than most art books.

But I'm kind of low-church when it comes to books. I want legible, error-free text and clear photo reproduction on paper that's not going to go yellow, brittle and musty, and a binding that isn't going to fall apart - but beyond that I'm not too fussy. There are very few books I own purely because they're things of beauty (rather than documenting things of beauty).

I think Palawan's "exclusivity" is a pain in the bum, to be honest. There are many Palawan books I'd love to own, but the prices mean that I'd have to forego anywhere between three and ten "ordinary" but very good books to own them. I wish there was a deal by which Palawan's stuff, after a decent interval of a year or two, could appear in a less lavish edition (cheaper paper, no slipcases, etc.) by an "ordinary" publisher. It's not going to deter the people who want the Palawan books as "objects" and it'd get the authors' words out to a wider market. I notice Setright's recent history of motoring's just appeared as a (less illustrated) edition by another publisher for 25 quid. Maybe this is a start....

OK, 25-50 quid reprints of Palawan books would lack the gorgeous heavy paper and the crystal-clear photo repro, but do gearheads really need that?

Really, if Bentley can do a nicely slipcased, designed, typeset and bound three-volume "Excellence Was Expected" for a tad over a hundred quid, one starts to wonder if Palawan's prices aren't somewhat artificially high. Sure, their books are nicer - but not "that much" nicer....

#3 D-Type

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 11:22

Quite simply, Palawan's prices are beyond my price range. I would sooner pay £20 - £25 for a poorer (or less than excellent) quality of reproduction rather than get frustrated hearing about these books.

#4 Peter Morley

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 13:09

I buy books to expand my knowledge of the cars/period that interest me.
If I wanted I could buy the Palawan books.
In particular their book about 60's motor racing appealed, since I have several cars from that period.

I looked at the book, decided that it was nicely presented, but contained nothing new and/or of particular interest to myself - personally I don't like the format or style, but I also found nothing to justify the price.

Of course if they had thought to include a photo of my Scirocco BRM I would have had to buy the book (one advantage of buying a less than sucessful car - it doesn't feature in too many books!).

They are produced in a particularly expensive way, but the price charged for the book is in no way reflective of the cost of producing the book (I do have some experience of running publishing company).

As with all of the limited leather bound &/or signed editions of books, they are a simple way of maximising the publishers profit (the additional production cost is minimal compared to the increased retail price) - and Palawan have simply skipped the stage of producing the 'affordable' version (they also seem to avoid the retailer's profit by selling direct).

In general, I am suprised by the current cost of books - it seems that £30 is an accepted price for a 'normal' car book these days, 10 years or so ago it would probably have been around £15 for something similar.

The cost of printing the books has fallen in that time (especially for colour printing - the cost of paper might have increased, but that is insignificant compared to the layout, film, setup & printing costs which have all dropped markedly), so it is surprising how much the retail cost of books has increased.

If you look at the large format books produced (?) by Rainer Schlegelmilch (spelling ?), admittedly printed in huge numbers, they sell for very reasonable prices and give you some idea of what is possible these days. The Lotus books produced by Coterie are also great examples of what you should get for your money these days.

#5 Richard Neale

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 13:41

I bought '1946 and All That', partly because I was born that year. It's a fabulous tome with splendid pics and something I will be proud to leave to the grand children, but I doubt whether I'll lash out on another book at that price. I hardly dare take it out of the case!

I'm very much more the paperback and bovril reader.

Woody

#6 petefenelon

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 13:57

Originally posted by Peter Morley

If you look at the large format books produced (?) by Rainer Schlegelmilch (spelling ?), admittedly printed in huge numbers, they sell for very reasonable prices and give you some idea of what is possible these days. The Lotus books produced by Coterie are also great examples of what you should get for your money these days.


Schlegelmilch has two series of books though - his wonderful 20 quid Konemann tomes (although I believe Konemann's gone bust?) and another series that he outs for about 200 quid. Exquisite but ruinously expensive....

#7 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 14:09

Originally posted by Peter Morley
In general, I am suprised by the current cost of books - it seems that £30 is an accepted price for a 'normal' car book these days, 10 years or so ago it would probably have been around £15 for something similar.

The cost of printing the books has fallen in that time (especially for colour printing - the cost of paper might have increased, but that is insignificant compared to the layout, film, setup & printing costs which have all dropped markedly), so it is surprising how much the retail cost of books has increased.


Simple answer: the end of the Net Book Agreement in the UK. This is precisely what the supporters of the NBA (and I was one) predicted would happen: specialist publishers are pricing books artificially high to catch the best of the market, but remaindering earlier - I'm convinced that the break-even point on most mid-market books is now considered to be the return on selling 75% of the print run to a remainder merchant. Anything they make over that is considered a success! Look how quickly titles from Haynes, Sutton and Breedon are reduced in price. Unless it's something I really want, I wait for them to cut the price now.

And no, I don't own any Palawan books, although I'd dearly love to have "1946 and all that" and "Dick and George": but not at that price. Sorry Doug ....

#8 Peter Morley

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 17:20

Originally posted by Vitesse2

I'm convinced that the break-even point on most mid-market books is now considered to be the return on selling 75% of the print run to a remainder merchant. Anything they make over that is considered a success! Look how quickly titles from Haynes, Sutton and Breedon are reduced in price. Unless it's something I really want, I wait for them to cut the price now.


I thought the idea of the Net Book Agreement was basically to maintain the recommended retail price of a book?
Doesn't the end of NBA mean that someone could sell Palawan books for less than the indicated price? (please!!!!).

I agree about buying cut price books, I buy loads and a lot are pretty recent - wait a few months and you can buy 2 or 3 books for the price of 1).

I find the publisher's eagerness to sell books off amusing - some books that are sold off become considerably more expensive than even their original price.

The danger of waiting for a book to be sold off is that you might miss it, so if it is something I particularly want then I will buy it immediately.

There is a similar phenomenon in my current main activity - distributing model cars - some of the 1/43rd distributors dump their stock after 6 months, the price cut being so large that the customer can buy the model for less than a shop originally paid for them.
Guess what, when a model comes out the initial sales are slow because eveyone is waiting to buy it cheap!
Of course some models do sell out, which means the must have everything collector has to buy them when they first come out, but everyone else tends to look at a full price model and ask why it is so expensive!

While I'm comparing books & models I can't help but feel that limited edition books are the same as limited edition re-issue model cars.

The production run is usually limited to 'as many as they can sell', and all the proud owners keep theirs in mint condition because if they'd done the same with the original it would be worth a fortune now, so this will do the same.
Of course what will be rare is one that has been used..............

Hopefully expensive limited edition books will actually be read, but I suspect that even the wealthiest buyers would buy the cheaper edition to actually read?

#9 dretceterini

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 18:00

Is Palawan the same people that used to be called White Mouse, and did the ERA book about 15 years ago?

#10 Ron Scoma

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 18:40

Originally posted by dretceterini
Is Palawan the same people that used to be called White Mouse, and did the ERA book about 15 years ago?


Not that I know of.

White Mouse did the ERA and Mercedes book. It was a company run by David and Narisa Levy. Narisa was (is) Chula's daughter. They ran the London Toy and Model museum on Craven Hill, just across from Hyde Park.
They were divorced but she turns up at Motor Books in London every so often, the place off St. Martin's Lane by Liescester Square.
Cheers,

Ron Scoma

#11 jph

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 20:01

Originally posted by dretceterini
Is Palawan the same people that used to be called White Mouse, and did the ERA book about 15 years ago?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not that I know of.




....whereas Palawan is run by Simon Draper, of Aston Martin collection/Virgin Music fame. I seem to recall that a palawan is a rare breed of pheasant - another of Mr Draper's interests.

#12 Richard Neale

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 20:25

Palawan ~ pheasant ~ And the Subject of his first book.

#13 ensign14

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 22:11

Originally posted by petefenelon


Palawan make beautiful objects. I mean, they're gorgeous - far nicer than most art books.

But I'm kind of low-church when it comes to books. I want legible, error-free text and clear photo reproduction on paper that's not going to go yellow, brittle and musty, and a binding that isn't going to fall apart - but beyond that I'm not too fussy. There are very few books I own purely because they're things of beauty (rather than documenting things of beauty).

I have 1946, the Sixties book and the Klemantaski book (all in their cheapest versions). I also have the hyper-expensive Schlegelmilch books (where the pictures are so clear it is as if the ink is about to run off the page) and the signed Time And Two Seats. It is because once in a while I like to have something that looks and feels good (ever run your fingers over Palawan paper?). And has top writing and info to boot. To a degree, I buy them rather than paintings. And as for the cost - I don't drink or smoke, which helps...

But I don't mind even a cheap paperback cos I will look after them to keep them as new. Just that if there is a limited edition as well as a 'normal' edition I will go for the limited.

There is also one other reason. Limited editions appreciate much, much more. How much is the Time & 2 Seats limited now? The normal edition is nearly as much as the limited edition was when new. Limited editions make a MUCH better investment than stocks and interest accounts given the current market. * I don't ever intend to sell them, but you never know what may happen.

*ensign14 is not a financial adviser and the value of books can go down as well as up.

#14 Don Capps

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 23:21

As someone currently paying through the nose (and most of my other orfrices it seems...) to replace those books that I once had -- an activity which She Who Must Be Obeyed thinks may actually be worse than many of the alternatives -- as well as attempt to stay reasonably current, plus add to my research collection, I have some jaundiced thoughts as to this topic. There are few items that buy outside books for my library.

The Collector Mindset that creates such activities as Palawan Press -- among others -- is simply a fact of life. It is also one I could probably live without, but since I don't get a vote, I muddle through as best as I can. I often find myself having dark thoughts whenever I see the prices that are being asked for some of the books being produce. Too often they are books on subjects that I would otherwise consider purchasing.

The issue in my small proletariat (Storm the gates, brothers and sisters! Cast off the yoke of tyrrany!) mind is that The Collectors look at these books as commodities. This means that book itself is an -- the! -- object of importance to The Collector. The book, not the information contained within it, is what counts. The Collector expects his commodity to accumulate value.

"Oh, there's information inside?" is what one expects from The Collector. "Funny, I bought it for the workmanship and the fact that it is a limited edition, so it should be able to be sold in a few years for a nice profit," spake The Collector.

Authors deserve to compensated for their labors. Whether or not those fruits are many or few is something that Adam Smith warned us about as the Market Society was unleashed. What gets lost in all this is that somewhere, down at the bottom of the heap, are those souls whose lives are wrapped around the notion that information is meant to be shared. Those souls have no problem in purchasing books scribbled by Kindred Souls since that serves to encourage them to scribble some more.

What becomes an issue is access. When The Collectors sit down and dine with those in the Gordon Gekko Gang, well, the issue is not information for the masses, but ways to create and increase the value of their commodities. In many cases they do mean well, but they also slant the market towards those with The Means.

I always had a certain amount of sympathy for Number 2. All that Number 2 really wanted was, well, Information. In research work, there is a certain thrill is digging out the nuggets of information hidden amongst the mounts of ore. But, sometimes it is a challenge to afford the lease to the ore field.

Someone recently told me how upset he was that they have re-issued the Joel Finn Testa Rosa book. He take was that this could "endanger the value" of his original volume. He was mystified when I laughed at him......

What is needed is some way to make information affordable -- the author getting those fruits due him or her -- and allowing information to make it into the hands of those laboring in the vineyards. At the high prices that some presses are charging, don't expect public libraries with the financial difficulties that they are already battling to shell out for some of the books that The Collectors, ah, collect.

Just a few quick thoughts.

#15 dretceterini

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Posted 26 November 2003 - 01:15

I'm only interested in the content of a book. As long as the photographic reproduction is acceptable, I'm happy. The artsy-fartsy wrappers and leather covers are meaningless, as far as I'm concerned.

I have no interest in actually owning rare cars either...to drive them...well, that's another thing..

#16 WDH74

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Posted 26 November 2003 - 17:01

I've long since stopped worrying about the monetary value of my books-as long as they are in nice shape, I'm happy. I fell into the "limited edition" trap when I was in college and spending any spare cash I had on CDs (a vice helped along by the fact that I worked in a record shop at the time). Invariably, I'd try to get the more expensive, limited edition bonus disc version of whatever new record I was interested in, or better yet the UK import limited edition etc. etc. Consequently I had (still have!) a whole bunch of records that I'm scared doo-doo less to even listen to at home, much less in the car or at work. In many cases I've bought the cheaper version to listen to! That takes up a lot of space with CDs, so I can't imagine what would happen if I had two of everything in my somewhat small car book collection!
-William

#17 dewittereus

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Posted 28 November 2003 - 20:54

And - also by Palawan - expensive, but exceptional : Sixties Motorracing by Michael Cooper & Paul Parker (text)

#18 petefenelon

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Posted 28 November 2003 - 20:57

Originally posted by dewittereus
And - also by Palawan - expensive, but exceptional : Sixties Motorracing by Michael Cooper & Paul Parker (text)


That's actually the one Palawan that I seriously, seriously considered splashing out for...

#19 Dennis Hockenbury

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 19:52

I have purchased a few Palawan Press books over the past few years, and the purchase of each was a well contemplated decision on my part given the price of their titles.

The tension for me is that I have a finite sum of money each year with which I purchase books (or other items of interest) related to my passion for motor racing history.

For each Palawan title, I can purchase many more lower priced titles that I have on my endless list of books.

As I am not a collector, it simply becomes a value decision for me.

With that being said, I have a few of their books, and each is a superlative piece of craftsmanship.

"Ferrari in Camera"
"Klemantaski Himself"
"Sixties Motor Racing"
"Dick and George"

For me each were "must haves" given my varied interests in the history of the sport, with one now being among my top favorites.

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#20 Doug Nye

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 15:04

Palawan is a decent company with very good people seeking to produce hand-crafted goods. Some they have got right - other (in my opinion) quite wrong. Simon Draper is a v. nice self-made bloke with his heart in the right place and he has seen fit to enrich the world with some lovely books, some fairly good books and perhaps one or two turkeys. But overall, if you want Rolls-Royce quality you don't buy a Lada. If you want Gucci or Hermes standards you don't settle for Keks-r-Us. While some of the difference in price is amply justified by a difference in quality some of it - inevitably - is complete hype, moonshine and profit. But what's wrong with that? Nobody's holding a gun to anybody's head to buy such things....choice is a treasured freedom, as is that to criticise....and all these things (like the throttle pedal) work both ways.

DCN

#21 D-Type

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 15:26

Yes, but I can't afford their prices! :cry:

#22 MichaelJP

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 15:32

I've got "Sixties Motor Racing" and recently received "Dick and George" as a birthday present from my wife:)

Yes, they are expensive, but they are also books you would keep for a lifetime.

- Michael

#23 neville mackay

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 16:15

I too thought long and hard before taking the Palawan plunge - torn between the desire to own some beautiful and authoritative books on the one hand, and my concerns at spending so much hard earned cash on the other.

Of the books I have, I would rate Dick and George as a truly exceptional work - both in content and design - which is worth every penny of the one hundred and thiry or so quid it costs to by. 1946 And All That runs it a close second both for content and value for money, providing a unique insight into an oft overlooked era. Michael Cooper's 1960's book is by any standards a good book with some interesting text and nice photo's, but not worth anything like its frightening cover price; Klemantaski is a little disappointing - fine but not exceptional. The Aston DBR3 book on the other hand is exceptional but is almost as expensive as the cars themselves to buy and much of its contents can be gleaned at a fraction of the price from Chris Nixon's earlier 2 volume set on the racing Astons.

As for the turkey's (or should that be pheasant's..)....anything written under the name of Setright is enough to get my vote for self indulgent psycho babble claptrap.

Neville Mackay

#24 Don Capps

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 16:35

Part of the issue is that without Palawan some very exception books would never, ever seen the light of day. Period. Dick and George makes your eyes water just looking at it. The same with several others in their catalogue. As much as my mind may say one thing..... Alas, She Who Must Be Obeyed has clipped my wings lately and any thoughts of finally bringing a Palawan book into the household is currently on hold.

#25 petefenelon

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 16:48

Originally posted by neville mackay


As for the turkey's (or should that be pheasant's..)....anything written under the name of Setright is enough to get my vote for self indulgent psycho babble claptrap.

Neville Mackay


I've only ever enjoyed two LJKS books - his continuation of Pomeroy's "The Grand Prix Car", covering 1954-66, is somewhat less dogmatic than Pom; his Pirelli-badged History of Motor Sport is lightweight but has some very nice pictures and the odd pithy observation.

I think part of the problem is that Setright wears his learning with all the grace of a concrete overcoat - it does often feel that he's a pretentious schoolmaster sniggering over his latin tags and occasionally deigning to write somethign trivial about cars. Mixing erudition with motor racing isn't impossible - to name but one example, William Court managed it effortlessly...

#26 ensign14

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 17:29

Originally posted by neville mackay
Michael Cooper's 1960's book is by any standards a good book with some interesting text and nice photo's, but not worth anything like its frightening cover price; Klemantaski is a little disappointing - fine but not exceptional. The Aston DBR3 book on the other hand is exceptional but is almost as expensive as the cars themselves to buy and much of its contents can be gleaned at a fraction of the price from Chris Nixon's earlier 2 volume set on the racing Astons.

Except the prices now payable for Nixon's 2 volumes make the Palawan book look value for money...

I love the 60s book because its design is so unusual as well as containing top-quality photos (I love the one with Clark's on one side of the track, Naylor's on the other side, the latter having just helped the former off). I like the fact that someone has taken the trouble to try something fresh and different and in the same way as people will pay for a decent print as a work of art I like to do the same for a book as art. Problem is, of course, that that always costs...

Contrast Mike Lawrence's book on Colin Chapman. Cheap production values, old fashioned run through of text with photos in a lump. But the writing is gold.

#27 cabianca

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 04:29

Obviously, the object is the focus for Palawan. The catalog makes no mention of any author. Perhaps those who bind the books are important, but not those who write them.

#28 Doug Nye

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 09:40

He he he - there's no author's byline on the cover of 'Dick & George'..... :smoking:

#29 Don Capps

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 13:55

Originally posted by cabianca
Obviously, the object is the focus for Palawan. The catalog makes no mention of any author. Perhaps those who bind the books are important, but not those who write them.


Originally posted by Doug Nye
He he he - there's no author's byline on the cover of 'Dick & George'..... :smoking:


It just hit me what had been "different" about the Palawan Press books that I have seen -- exactly what Michael says, the lack of an author on the cover or mentioned in the catalog. Duh! :blush: I knew there was something, but I couldn't put my finger on it....

#30 Rob29

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 14:34

Just looked at Chaters Winter catalogue.'commentary & photo selection by Doug Nye & Geoffrey Goddard-£135.' I see what this thread is about now.Thats about 3 x the most I have ever spent on a book,and I have some impressive volumes on my shelves.

#31 Joe Fan

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 15:48

Originally posted by Peter Morley
In general, I am suprised by the current cost of books - it seems that £30 is an accepted price for a 'normal' car book these days, 10 years or so ago it would probably have been around £15 for something similar.

The cost of printing the books has fallen in that time (especially for colour printing - the cost of paper might have increased, but that is insignificant compared to the layout, film, setup & printing costs which have all dropped markedly), so it is surprising how much the retail cost of books has increased.


Having started my own small publishing company on the side, I can tell you firsthand that most of the motorbooks coming out today are priced about right considering the market size for these books and some are priced a bit too low in my opinion. I did some inflationary calculation comparisons on motorbooks back in the 70s and overall, books are priced about the same today as they were back then but today's books have much better quality.

There are several reasons why motorbooks haven't decreased in price with the ease of layout and lower printing costs. First, technology. The technology today makes it easier to publish books than years ago but the high-tech equipment is expensive and you have to have skills to use the technology. However, the bigger reason is that there are more publishers today and books wholesalers are demanding larger discounts from publishers. Why? More books are being cranked out today and there is a real fight for shelf space at the chain bookstores.

Large publishers in the early 80's used to have a max discount rate around 20% but I am sure that most don't get this now unless it is a book of huge demand. Most of the large wholesalers (that stock the chain bookstores) are demanding 50-55% discounts from publishers today with crappy terms (i.e. the publisher pays the freight, takes any returns for credit and gets paid whenever) and only the large publishers have the clout/leverage to get more favorable discounts and terms.

Another factor to consider is that the motorbook market is a niche market in the grand scheme of things. Your average motorbook, that isn't a car book, is doing really well if sells 5000 copies.

Overall, I used bitch about the prices of motorbooks too but at the same time, I would routinely drop $50-$60 on a mass produced diecast. Now, seeing things on the other side, I really think motorbooks are a great value considering the time and effort that goes into them. Palawan Press's books are a bit pricey but high quality, small market books have to be.

#32 Doug Nye

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 07:12

After recent worrying experiences with our sole surviving (of four) Jack Russell terriers it's pretty rich to hear a bloody vet whining about high prices.... :cool: (this is meant to be read as a joke by the way and I know you AM are NOT of those kind of Surrey country vets)

"Locked out of the reach of those most interested in it." ?????????????????????

Baluddy hellfire! :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

It took us 20 years to get that material out into the public domain and in fact I sweated blood to MINIMISE the selling price of the finished work never mind "permit it" to be set "so high".

Some of you truly have NO IDEA of reality when justifiably high photo repro or print and binding and distribution costs are incurred, never mind yrs trly being able to pay the rent...or should we all be expected to suffer in garrets for our art? Been there - done that...then my children were born.

DSJ's complete works and biography - based upon his diaries - will be published by Goldberg, Grabbit & Runn early in the new year as a limited edition priced at £550 for the standard leather-bound version, £1,299.95 for the gold edition bound in hand-tooled kangaroo scrotum with lithium-composite trimmings and genuine ex-DSJ 1955 cheese sandwich encapsulated in a magnificent cube of genuine Georgian acrylic. It will run to 48 pages of fashionably microscopic print with up to 15 illustrations - some in 2-colour - and is offered complete with a free folding microscope for those with 20:20 vision.

Jenks wouldn't have had a clue there was any real alternative to the traditional-style book standardised by G.T.Foulis (at one end of the scale) or by B.T.Batsford (at the other) in the 1950s. With respect "A 10 x 8 'everyman' paperback'll do nicely, with a solitary picture" would NOT do the little bugger justice - so we will not be doing that for you.

Pricing beyond a lowest market sector's means is always a vulnerable target - but ignoring one's family responsibilities through spending the time and effort and commitment a book takes for naff-all in terms of income is - for me - not an option. I do enough of that - willingly - right here :smoking:;)

DCN

#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 07:25

Originally posted by Doug Nye
.....£1,299.95 for the gold edition bound in hand-tooled kangaroo scrotum with lithium-composite trimmings and genuine ex-DSJ 1955 cheese sandwich encapsulated in a magnificent cube of genuine Georgian acrylic.....


Been learning some strange habits in the colonies have we?

Got to admit, this was one funny sentence to come across amidst your assassination of the veterinarians of the world... I wonder if they are the ones doing the 'hand tooling'?

#34 MichaelJP

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 09:01

Originally posted by Doug Nye
DSJ's complete works and biography - based upon his diaries - will be published by Goldberg, Grabbit & Runn early in the new year as a limited edition priced at £550 for the standard leather-bound version, £1,299.95 for the gold edition bound in hand-tooled kangaroo scrotum with lithium-composite trimmings and genuine ex-DSJ 1955 cheese sandwich encapsulated in a magnificent cube of genuine Georgian acrylic. It will run to 48 pages of fashionably microscopic print with up to 15 illustrations - some in 2-colour - and is offered complete with a free folding microscope for those with 20:20 vision.
DCN


ROFL, as they say on t'internet:)

Seriously though, I don't think this debate will ever be settled, but the way I look at it is that much of this material would never be published otherwise.

Let's face it, in the example of Dick & George; the collected correspondence of a long-dead pre-war driver will never be a best-seller. I'm sure we'd all agree on that. Given that the market, then, is at best only a few thousand copies, the only way to fairly remunerate those involved is to charge a higher price for the work.

I wonder how many copies of "An Atlas of Rare Pheasants" have been sold???

It follows then that a publisher like Palawan should rightly make a point of stressing that the edition will be limited, which then softens the blow somewhat, as you feel that you are buying something special.

- Michael

#35 ensign14

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 09:11

Originally posted by Doug Nye
DSJ's complete works and biography - based upon his diaries - will be published by Goldberg, Grabbit & Runn early in the new year as a limited edition priced at £550 for the standard leather-bound version, £1,299.95 for the gold edition bound in hand-tooled kangaroo scrotum with lithium-composite trimmings and genuine ex-DSJ 1955 cheese sandwich encapsulated in a magnificent cube of genuine Georgian acrylic. It will run to 48 pages of fashionably microscopic print with up to 15 illustrations - some in 2-colour - and is offered complete with a free folding microscope for those with 20:20 vision.

Shouldn't this be in the New Books thread?

#36 Doug Nye

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 11:43

Sorry - yes of course it should - if any of it was true.

#37 Joe Fan

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 14:42

Originally posted by Doug Nye
DSJ's complete works and biography - based upon his diaries - will be published by Goldberg, Grabbit & Runn early in the new year as a limited edition priced at £550 for the standard leather-bound version, £1,299.95 for the gold edition bound in hand-tooled kangaroo scrotum with lithium-composite trimmings and genuine ex-DSJ 1955 cheese sandwich encapsulated in a magnificent cube of genuine Georgian acrylic. It will run to 48 pages of fashionably microscopic print with up to 15 illustrations - some in 2-colour - and is offered complete with a free folding microscope for those with 20:20 vision.

DCN


Wouldn't buy it at those prices unless they were personally autographed by the author with a DNA pen.;)

#38 ensign14

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 15:28

Originally posted by Joe Fan


Wouldn't buy it at those prices unless they were personally autographed by the author with a DNA pen.;)

Or if the cheese sandwich were partially consumed on a little drive around northern Italy that year.

#39 PRD

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 21:16

I've been given both the photo books - "Sixties Motor Racing" and "1946 and all that" by my ever-loving spouse :love: on sucessive Christmas mornings,
so aren't I the lucky boy then ?
all the best

Paul

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#40 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 11:25

Originally posted by Anorak Man
But for some reason they were outsold by those ubiquitous Kangaroo Scrotum Purses that Doug clearly bought as souvenirs.


Oh no I didn't..... I feel such things are of far more use to their rightful owners.

DCN

#41 Joe Fan

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 15:56

Originally posted by Anorak Man
But Palawan's definitely over-priced, as has been pointed out by others in this thread, who do have an idea of the costs involved in quality publishing. We accept your word that the 'filthy lucre' didn't drop into your Gucci pocket, but if Bentley can produce a top-notch three volume set for 30 quid less than the price of one Palawan ...


Anorak Man,

I don't think many here understand publishing and the motorbook market. If you are comparing the Dick and George book with the three volume set Porsche: Excellence Was Expected, which is roughly the same in price, you are comparing apples with oranges. All of us here are a different breed and sometimes it is not easy for us to see or comprehend this because this is our passion.

However, the facts are, motorsports books, especially biographies, are the niche of a niche market. Porsche: Excellence Was Expected has a wider appeal because it is as much a car book as it is a motorsports book. Unfortunately, car books have a significantly higher appeal than motorsports books, so the publisher can print and sell much more and be able to price it more reasonably than a book like Dick and George that has a market around 1500.

To the average motorhead, Dick and George might as well be some children's story because they are only interested in learning about cars, not the characters who peddled them and risked their life doing so. Want proof? Check out what type of book ideas/manuscripts agents are pursuing on this page: http://www.independe...guidelines.html

And note in bold font that they aren't interested in history or biographies.

Motorbook publishing is no get rich scheme, and book prices, no matter what the genre, are determined by a formula of total production costs while taking expected sales into consideration.



#42 petefenelon

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 16:18

Originally posted by Joe Fan


Anorak Man,

I don't think many here understand publishing and the motorbook market. If you are comparing the Dick and George book with the three volume set Porsche: Excellence Was Expected, which is roughly the same in price, you are comparing apples with oranges. All of us here are a different breed and sometimes it is not easy for us to see or comprehend this because this is our passion.

However, the facts are, motorsports books, especially biographies, are the niche of a niche market. Porsche: Excellence Was Expected has a wider appeal because it is as much a car book as it is a motorsports book. Unfortunately, car books have a significantly higher appeal than motorsports books. To the average motorhead, Dick and George might as well be some children's story because they are only interested in learning about cars, not the characters who peddled them and risked their life doing so. Want proof? Check out what type of book ideas/manuscripts agents are pursuing on this page: http://www.independe...guidelines.html

And note in bold font that they aren't interested in history or biographies.


PEWE probably has several largely disjoint audiences. Porsche attracts more rivet-counters and "the 1968 cars differed from the 1967 models in that the screw-threads were slightly larger" types than almost anything other than matching-numbers Corvette freaks - so they'll all snap it up.

Then there's owners, who presumably want to read about the genesis of their own particular car.

Then there's the motorsport fans, with varying levels of interest in the road cars - I cheerfully admit that I find a lot of 80s/early 90s roadgoing 911 variants marketing-oriented w*nkermobiles and I'll probably skim or even skip several chapters purely because the thought of their original owners makes me want to heave - but every word on the gorgeous 356, the 928 and any of the racing programmes fascinates me!

"Dick and George" is a niche within a niche within a niche - not only is it a motorsport book, it's a motorsport book that doesn't have the decency to feature big pictures of Senna, Schumacher or Dale Earnhardt. I've read Chris Nixon's book on Seaman; I've read Prince Chula's book on Seaman; I'd love to read "Dick and George" too, and one day I'll have the money and find a copy at about the same time!

#43 peebo

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 17:24

Read all the comments, for what its worth, my thoughts.

Palawan books are expensive, but they are worth every penny. The quality of the books, not just the binding and reproduction, but the authors and subject material remains a joy after the shock of the purchase price has passed. I smile every time I pick one up, even before I open it. Yes, I realise not everyone can afford them, but maybe one day someone will bring out a less well produced edition. This is not, however, Palawan's problem. Mr. Nye keep on producing the stuff and get it published wherever you can. I for one will happily shell out for it.

I was priviledged to know George Monkhouse and I know that a gentleman with high standards like he had would have approved of the way Dick and George was produced. It is a work of quality, and that does not come at supermarket prices. Sorry, but that's life :

#44 Don Capps

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 19:08

I often find myself buying various books with a secondary motive in mind: to encourage the further production of such books and to let the author know that someone there supports them. Whether or not the price becomes a true factor is more related to how badly SHe Who Must Be Obeyed will take me to task than the price on the inside flap of the cover.

I also make it a practice of supporting authors whose families would appreciate some of the minor luxuries in life such as eating, living with a roof over their heads, wearing something besides sackcloth and burlap, and so forth. With those fortunate enough to make their way in life as writers -- and even more so those as historians and motor sports historians to boot -- I have this sense of obligation to help out by purchasing the fruits of their labors.

While whining a bit about some of the prices involved with Palawan Press, I also simultaneously thank the heavens that it exists since it has permitted several books to see the light of day which would never gotten past the "good idea" stage.

As several have pointed out from their experience, the world of book publishing is a tough place to succeed in. While an avowed Information Socialist, I am also a dedicated supporter of authors, so whenever possible I make it a point to purchase books with both of those conflicting thoughts in mind.

As someone who once worked in a bookstore and whose Mom is a retired Master Printer for several publishing firms, I am very aware of the finances that surround the book business. Not many live the Life of Riley in the book business, which has gotten even more challenging since my last real brush with it in the university press niche of that business.

While perhaps fully capable of pretty much buying any book I want -- assuming that, once again, She Who Must Be Obeyed allows me to tell the tale -- and plunking out $250+ for a book I really want is something I will do without blinking (wincing when SWMBO smacks me a time or two, but...). Although the price of motor sports books are a tad higher than most would like, once you make the adjustments for inflation and compare to the now really wacky world of book sales, the prices are quite reasonable.

Production values may not be one of the first items I am concerned with when purchasing a book, it is certainly a plus. The Jimmy Murphy book of Gary Doyle is top-notch all around, content and production. I thought that Robert Bentley did a very good job with PEWE. The production values of the Smokey Yunick set by Carbon Press added to the experience.

While the Gordon Geckko types do mettle in this business, more often than not those who do are True Enthusists, Kindred Souls. It is quite possible Palawan will bring to light another book that most of us come never in a million years imagined that would see the light of day....

#45 Barry Lake

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 19:24

I have to cast my vote for the Palawan books being too expensive. I have some of them, but still smart at what they cost me and wonder how we could entice new blood into reading about and becoming interested in motor racing history if all books on the subject were so costly.

On the subject of veterinarians and their charges, there is a vet a few kilometres from me who is a bird specialist. I took an Australian magpie (not related to the European bird of the same name) to him that a neighbour brought to me (as they do). It had a head injury and, though intact and alert otherwise, has lost its balance, can not stand up without toppling over, and crashes to the ground when it tries to fly.

The vet gave it an injection to reduce brain swelling, gives daily injections of a vitamin formula, feeds it, and has tended to it for two weeks now, as it slowly recovers (and while I give daily counselling to its offspring that comes warbling to my back door each day, wanting to know what I've done with its Mum).

The fee for this service is... nil. If it was a pet budgie in a cage, it would be costing me plenty. But for a native wild bird, the service is free.

Before discovering this vet, I had saved and reared and released to the wild dozens of native birds. Now, with his help, the numbers saved have increased dramatically.

Most people have to earn a living in order to survive, but it's nice to know there are some in the world who realise there is more to life than just making money.

This same vet also offers a free service providing temporary housing and finding homes for dogs that would otherwise be condemned to death.

#46 Jeff Weinbren

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Posted 05 December 2003 - 05:31

I was watching some Tv this morning and they were showing new books for the holiday season.They showed a book called GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), it is about Mohammed Ali. Now this is quite a tome, weighing in at 75lbs, and carrying a price of US$3,000.00 yes, three THOUSAND dollars, it can be seen at www.taschen.com it is "limited" to only 10,000 copies! Now I don't feel so bad about the price of Palawan Books!!!
Jeff Weinbren. :up:

#47 Joe Fan

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Posted 05 December 2003 - 06:18

Originally posted by Jeff Weinbren
I was watching some Tv this morning and they were showing new books for the holiday season.They showed a book called GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), it is about Mohammed Ali. Now this is quite a tome, weighing in at 75lbs, and carrying a price of US$3,000.00 yes, three THOUSAND dollars, it can be seen at www.taschen.com it is "limited" to only 10,000 copies! Now I don't feel so bad about the price of Palawan Books!!!
Jeff Weinbren. :up:


Wow! $3,000 and "limited" to 10,000 copies :lol:

This essentially means most motorbooks are limited edition but this highlights what a niche market motorbooks are. You can publish a book on baseball in the U.S., or probably soccer everywhere else, and easily sell 3-5x more than your average motorbook. Consequently, this is why most of those books are priced in the $20-35 range.

Originally posted by Joe Fan
Motorbook publishing is no get rich scheme, and book prices, no matter what the genre, are determined by a formula of total production costs while taking expected sales into consideration.


:) I forgot to add one more thing, sometimes books are priced to offset a publishers previous screwup. Perhaps the Atlas of Rare Pheasants didn't sell as many at £625 as Palawan Press anticipated.

#48 MichaelJP

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Posted 05 December 2003 - 09:06

Originally posted by Jeff Weinbren
I was watching some Tv this morning and they were showing new books for the holiday season.They showed a book called GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), it is about Mohammed Ali. Now this is quite a tome, weighing in at 75lbs, and carrying a price of US$3,000.00 yes, three THOUSAND dollars, it can be seen at www.taschen.com it is "limited" to only 10,000 copies! Now I don't feel so bad about the price of Palawan Books!!!
Jeff Weinbren. :up:


That's amazing, and the 1,000 copies limited edition is $7,500!

I liked this bit:-

"Bound by the official bindery for the Vatican, in pink leather, the color of Ali's first Cadillac. The bindery specializing in the most elaborate and oversized editions of the Koran and the Bible enforces the strictest standards of quality control and only several hundred copies can be assembled per week."

- Michael

#49 jph

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Posted 05 December 2003 - 10:26

Perhaps the Atlas of Race Pheasants didn't sell as many at £625 as Palawan Press anticipated.



Pigeons I've heard of, but pheasnats?

#50 Ron Scoma

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Posted 05 December 2003 - 10:49

Originally posted by jph


Pigeons I've heard of, but pheasnats?



Perhaps the reason for poor sales?

Ron Scoma