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The book thread: In memory of Pete Fenelon


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#101 917

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 20:27

Originally posted by Ray Bell
... Deliberately limiting numbers in such things is hard for me to understand... but obviously there's a profit motive there somewhere...

When Automobile Quarterly published the Errett Lobban Cord book by Griffith Borgeson (in 1984?), they announced they had printed 1500 or 2500 copies only and then destroyed the printing master (I'm not sure whether this is the appropriate English expression - is lithograph better?) to make sure that there would never be a second edition. :mad:

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#102 petefenelon

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 20:45

Originally posted by 917

When Automobile Quarterly published the Errett Lobban Cord book by Griffith Borgeson (in 1984?), they announced they had printed 1500 or 2500 copies only and then destroyed the printing master (I'm not sure whether this is the appropriate English expression - is lithograph better?) to make sure that there would never be a second edition. :mad:


That's just vandalism :( :( :(

It's cases like that that make one glad there's decent scanners and PDF around ;)

You know, the more I think about it the more I think low-priced enthusiast editions of out-of-print-and-not-otherwise-likely-to-be-back-in-print books are a good idea... Les Rix was on to a good one when he managed to get Pom 1 & 2 reprinted - OK, as fairly murky scans but they're still better than no Pom.

#103 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 20:51

The plates, perhaps, 917? Or the negatives and the plates?

Yes, that's definitely vandalism. Castration should follow...

#104 David Beard

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 21:13

"Which one's that?"
"I dunno, look it up"
"You got the book?"
"What book?"
"THE book!"

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#105 Roger Clark

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 21:27

Originally posted by Ray Bell


Irritating to me, this...

The book publishing business seems to be dividing itself into a 'cheap books for the masses' group that are barely worth reading and an 'exclusive books for the wealthy few' with numbered copies and exclusivity built in.

Surely the purpose of a book is to give people information? To enable a large number to derive pleasure and knowledge from the efforts of the author/s?

Deliberately limiting numbers in such things is hard for me to understand... but obviously there's a profit motive there somewhere...


The same tactic was, of course, used for the Sheldon Black Books. I can only assume that the publishers produce the number of copies they think they can sell. Books of this nature are inevitably expensive to produce, and Doug Nye is never going to outsell Jeffrey Archer, though the world might be a better place if he did.

My copy arrived today, and I don't think it's premature to congratulate Doug on a magnificent achievement.

#106 UAtkins

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 21:36

Originally posted by cts125
This almost ensures that many who could enjoy and use such a volume will not be able to purchase it....except at exorbitant 'out-of-print' prices. [/B]


At the moment I am feeling pretty smug/dumb, I picked up Volume 1 several months ago for 60 USD in a used book store here in Anchorage :D. So, it is possible to find bargains.

The dumb thing was....I didn't realise that it was the limited edition; so when Motorbooks asked me if I wanted to match volume 1 with my volume 2, I said it didn't matter :eek:.

It's only been from reading all your posts that I realised I'd *#&@%^% up so I have written back to them to see if I can match my Volume 1 (#1156).

I am still very pleased about my score on Volume 1 and think that it's a great book and well worth the money (even at out-of-print prices if necessary).

Ursula

#107 petefenelon

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 21:56

Originally posted by UAtkins


At the moment I am feeling pretty smug/dumb, I picked up Volume 1 several months ago for 60 USD in a used book store here in Anchorage :D. So, it is possible to find bargains.

The dumb thing was....I didn't realise that it was the limited edition; so when Motorbooks asked me if I wanted to match volume 1 with my volume 2, I said it didn't matter :eek:.

It's only been from reading all your posts that I realised I'd *#&@%^% up so I have written back to them to see if I can match my Volume 1 (#1156).

I am still very pleased about my score on Volume 1 and think that it's a great book and well worth the money (even at out-of-print prices if necessary).

Ursula


$60 is by far the cheapest I've ever seen a copy go for - congratulations!;)

For both vols 1 & 2 I think 1-100 were the leatherbound limited edition, 101-300 the quarter-leather and 301-2500 the "normal" edition - so you've only got a serious bargain, not an utterly outrageous one ;)

pete (615/808 - anyone want to do a swap?;))

#108 Don Capps

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 23:29

Duh!!!! I have #1047 of Volume 1 and totally forgot to ask about the possibility of matching the number..... :blush: Typical me. :lol:

#109 Vitesse2

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 00:05

Originally posted by petefenelon
You know, the more I think about it the more I think low-priced enthusiast editions of out-of-print-and-not-otherwise-likely-to-be-back-in-print books are a good idea... Les Rix was on to a good one when he managed to get Pom 1 & 2 reprinted - OK, as fairly murky scans but they're still better than no Pom.


Yes Pete, it's a nice idea, but the copyright problems on anything by living authors, not to mention the near-impossibility of contacting the literary executors of authors who may have died 50 years ago make it an absolute minefield ... :(

#110 petefenelon

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 00:26

Originally posted by Vitesse2


Yes Pete, it's a nice idea, but the copyright problems on anything by living authors, not to mention the near-impossibility of contacting the literary executors of authors who may have died 50 years ago make it an absolute minefield ... :(


Yes - Les Rix had a fairly long battle to get clearance from the Pomeroy family to reprint The Grand Prix Car. I asked him a few years back what the chances of getting Setright's sequel out the same way and he wasn't at all optimistic... :(

#111 Vitesse2

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 10:49

... and Setright's still alive! Incidentally, came across this today:

http://www.signature...ISBN=1862076286

#112 Mike B

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 11:45

Originally posted by 917

When Automobile Quarterly published the Errett Lobban Cord book by Griffith Borgeson (in 1984?), they announced they had printed 1500 or 2500 copies only and then destroyed the printing master (I'm not sure whether this is the appropriate English expression - is lithograph better?) to make sure that there would never be a second edition. ]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I really do not see a problem with this unlike most people in this thread. At least it is honest unlike the numerous books that "sell out" and suddenly reappear. I bought a Ferrari book a few years ago that was a limited numbered edition costing about GBP200 and then it got republished by Haynes with a different dust jacket for GBP50.

Half the fun of collecting books is that you cannot get everything and I think it adds to the appeal of a quality book like the BRM book that it is limited and numbered. I also think 2500 is probably about the right number ; it is not as though Volume 1 sold out in days is it and I am sure Volume 2 will be around for a while for those who want it. Furthermore none of us can say that we have not had time to save for it can we? Sorry Doug!

BTW when is Volume 3 going to be released?

#113 Marco94

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 12:22

Regarding the matching numbers, I asked the publisher if this was possible. He said that only the limited leatherbound and quarter leather editions would be provided with matching numbers. So I am out of luck. Maybe via a bookstore that happens to have that particular number, but the publisher won't go throught the trouble.

#114 Criceto

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 12:42

Originally posted by Roger Clark


The same tactic was, of course, used for the Sheldon Black Books. I can only assume that the publishers produce the number of copies they think they can sell. Books of this nature are inevitably expensive to produce, and Doug Nye is never going to outsell Jeffrey Archer, though the world might be a better place if he did.


Not strictly accurate with the Sheldon black books, I'm afraid. If I recall correctly, there was no upper limit to the number that were to be produced of Volume 1 (1894-1925), but when about 1000 were printed, the market was seen to be saturating. I understand that a lot of the print run of volume one was actually pulped......

After that, 500 was adjudged to be all the market could bear when it came to books of hard statistics, and so all those people struggling to find volume 3 and volume 7 have only to blame the lack of foresight of all their fellow historians who didn't jump to buy the first volume.

It's a nasty wake-up call to all of us who adore good motor racing books, that we are a very limited market. 2500 is probably about all the market can handle for even a book as good as Doug's. "Racing the Silver Arrows" is about to get a reprint, and while it's being touted as a special print run limited to 1000 copies worldwide, you can bet that the publishers have done their sums carefully and decided that's all they dare produce.

The only solution is to encourage more and more people to come into the fold, introduce them to the hobby, and turn them into consumers for "our" kinds of books.

Maybe some of the new converts might even buy something a little pacier than Bill Boddy on the subject of Brooklands - if I ever manage to finish it....

#115 ensign14

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 13:30

Interesting tho' that some of the Chris Nixon books (e.g. Mon Ami Mate) have had reprints a good few years after they came out. The same with Goddard's 'Track Pass'. It's as if they want to puncture the second hand market! More charitably (and hopefully fairly) someone noticed that the books were in demand, that a limited reprint would make some money, and enable those short of cash to get their hands on an acclaimed work.

#116 petefenelon

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 13:40

Originally posted by Criceto

The only solution is to encourage more and more people to come into the fold, introduce them to the hobby, and turn them into consumers for "our" kinds of books.

Maybe some of the new converts might even buy something a little pacier than Bill Boddy on the subject of Brooklands - if I ever manage to finish it....


WB on Brooklands is a dauntingly dense book at first sight - or at least was until the new edition that actually breaks up the density of the text with the images running through it. (I've got the previous monolithic one!). It's rewarding for the most part, but the density can easily put people off it - it's really the Gormenghast of racing books and I found that the right way to approach it was one chapter a night!

pete

#117 humphries

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 15:15

Criceto

Your comments are probably correct.

A couple of Dear John's from Paul!

6th June, 1987

" I trust that, by now, you have received Volume 1 of "Magnum Opus". If not, then some postman will be curled up in a corner reading away. I hope that you like it. I am quite pleased with how it has come out. Now we just hope for 300 sales so that we can go on to Volume 6....."

Volume 6 was completed next in the hope that more modern stuff would have a wider appeal.

23 August, 1987

" You'll gather that I've been getting on quite well with Volume 6. All that needs to be done is to add any corrections and then I can get down to indexing (Yeugh!). Then all that remains is to wait for Volume 1 to sell enough so that I can afford to take it to the printers. Quite a way to go yet I am afraid......."

All the spade work had been done 2 or 3 years before.

I sincerely hope Paul will not object to having parts of his letters made public but the intention is to show the hand-to-mouth existence of his enterprise and that it was a labour of love not one of financial gain.

When the 2nd Editions will be ready goodness only knows.

John

#118 UAtkins

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 15:42

Originally posted by UAtkins

It's only been from reading all your posts that I realised I'd *#&@%^% up so I have written back to them to see if I can match my Volume 1 (#1156).


I am pleased to say that they could match my Volume 1 and are sending me a second copy. :clap: Doug, perhaps I should send you the other one when I receive it!

I certainly wish that "our" type of motoring book was more marketable, I am still toying with the idea of a book about my Dad, Bruce McLaren, Harry Pearce, et. al., but I am somewhat discouraged about the realilities. I know I can create a PDF book without any problems and self-publish that way but I do like the feel of a book and reams of printer paper just don't have the same appeal to me. It's also a question of deciding what angle might actually make it readable, interesting, and potentially marketable....I still haven't got that sorted yet, but I have a few ideas. I recently purchased "Trio at the Top" on Ebay and found some quite interesting information which confirmed some dim memories. I am finding that my focus is widening and that there are pieces of the puzzle all over the place; this makes the research fascinating but also frustrating (and expensive!).

My sincere admiration goes out to all of you real authors and to the effort it takes to write a really good motoring book. I have a whole new perspective and respect for the whole process.

Ursula

#119 Don Capps

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 20:46

I think Ursula has brought back to the fore an important issue:

Originally posted by UAtkins
I certainly wish that "our" type of motoring book was more marketable, I am still toying with the idea of a book about my Dad, Bruce McLaren, Harry Pearce, et. al., but I am somewhat discouraged about the realilities. I know I can create a PDF book without any problems and self-publish that way but I do like the feel of a book and reams of printer paper just don't have the same appeal to me. It's also a question of deciding what angle might actually make it readable, interesting, and potentially marketable....I still haven't got that sorted yet, but I have a few ideas. I recently purchased "Trio at the Top" on Ebay and found some quite interesting information which confirmed some dim memories. I am finding that my focus is widening and that there are pieces of the puzzle all over the place; this makes the research fascinating but also frustrating (and expensive!).

My sincere admiration goes out to all of you real authors and to the effort it takes to write a really good motoring book. I have a whole new perspective and respect for the whole process.

Ursula


This issue has popped up in several threads lately and simply continues an long ongong discussion on "our type" of books. I am coming to the conclusion that perhaps it is time to get really serious about ePublishing as means to fill the gaps that exist and train the generations of historians to come.

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#120 ensign14

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 21:05

Has anyone tried the likes of xlibris.com for self-publishing? Is that a potential way forward?

#121 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 21:35

With the heavy McLaren content in your father's life, Ursula, you should sell at least 400 copies on the South Island alone! And I'm sure you could get some promotion from the Bruce McLaren Trust website...

I wonder how Joe Fan's getting on with his Masten Gregory book?

2000 books is not a lot for the worldwide market. I believe there was 3000 copies produced of John Medley's Bathurst book, and that they contemplated a reprint. How many of those went out of Australia?

The Australian Grand Prix book clearly outsold those numbers. I personally sold 50 or more copies to friends and enthusiasts I knew, having taken some as part payment for my contribution to the book. I think they rushed through 1000 copies (at great expense, apparently) so they would actually reach their target of getting the book out before the 51st AGP, then the bulk of the books were bound in the following month or two at more normal pace.

They certainly produced plenty, because they were ultimately remaindered. I guess I could ask Ray how many they produced and how many were sold at normal retail rates.

Again, this was for the Australian market, with a very limited (I'd think) number put onto the larger markets beyond our shores.

Ursula, is it possible that one of your father's past backers (did he have an oil contract, for instance?) might help with publishing costs? The possibilities here are interesting. If an oil company, they could possibly pay the printing costs in return for so many copies to sell at their retail outlets. Promotion through their customer base might be possible.

You would still see the potential of sales via the normal outlets. But the increased exposure might even enlarge this potential.

Frank Matich has already suggested doing things like this with the book I'll do on him...

#122 Falcadore

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 21:36

What are minimum print runs these days? Is it a realistic proposition to use TNF as a foucs for gathering sufficient interest in new books, such that sufficient orders could be taken ahead of publication?

Pardon my ignorance.

#123 Vitesse2

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 22:15

Originally posted by Criceto


Not strictly accurate with the Sheldon black books, I'm afraid. If I recall correctly, there was no upper limit to the number that were to be produced of Volume 1 (1894-1925), but when about 1000 were printed, the market was seen to be saturating. I understand that a lot of the print run of volume one was actually pulped......

After that, 500 was adjudged to be all the market could bear when it came to books of hard statistics, and so all those people struggling to find volume 3 and volume 7 have only to blame the lack of foresight of all their fellow historians who didn't jump to buy the first volume.

There's a Catch 22 here: starting with Vol 1 was probably not a good idea, since interest in that period is minimal - no more than ten of us contribute regularly to early threads here at TNF for example - Hans, Doug, fines, me, ensign14, Robert and .... er .... um .... okay, make that six! Add Don and Phil if you only count US racing ....

Had Paul started with Vol 7 he'd have sold 1000+. I can understand why he didn't, because the F1 Record Book was such a disaster in period, but copies of that volume are rarer than hen's teeth these days. A limited reprint (say 250) would sell out now, even at (say) £80-90 a copy.

However, if he had started with Vol 7, then sales of every earlier volume except Vol 3 & 4 would have come as a very nasty shock! If the project had continued after the 2000 copies of Vol 2 had been remaindered and/or pulped ..... like I said: Catch 22.

Originally posted by Criceto

It's a nasty wake-up call to all of us who adore good motor racing books, that we are a very limited market.



The market being limited by price, of course, with pictures being the major production cost - have the picture libraries got too greedy, I wonder?

Originally posted by Criceto

2500 is probably about all the market can handle for even a book as good as Doug's. "Racing the Silver Arrows" is about to get a reprint, and while it's being touted as a special print run limited to 1000 copies worldwide, you can bet that the publishers have done their sums carefully and decided that's all they dare produce.


At a rough guess, they have firm orders for at least half of those from the specialists. That more than pays for the reprint. Anything else is pure profit.

Originally posted by Criceto
The only solution is to encourage more and more people to come into the fold, introduce them to the hobby, and turn them into consumers for "our" kinds of books.

:up:

Originally posted by Criceto
Maybe some of the new converts might even buy something a little pacier than Bill Boddy on the subject of Brooklands - if I ever manage to finish it....


And how's your Brooklands book coming along Tim?

#124 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 22:45

Originally posted by Falcadore
What are minimum print runs these days? Is it a realistic proposition to use TNF as a foucs for gathering sufficient interest in new books, such that sufficient orders could be taken ahead of publication?


I wouldn't think that the few hundred regulars here would make all that much difference, especially seeing as most are inveterate bookbuyers anyway.

Naturally, virtually all books would be outside the range of interest of some of us.

In the interim, I think it interesting that Don has merged other threads and made a 'sticky' out of them for the purpose of discussing books... and two more threads on the topic are started within a few days!

#125 Dennis David

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 05:33

Actually I have been reading a book called Sixpense House and it mentioned a study done in the 20's that estimated only 1 in 500 Americans are avid readers. This figure could well be even lower today. Now for the really scary fact 50% of American households did not purchase a single book last year!

If this figure is true then I bought books for 500 families last year!

#126 Ralliart

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 05:36

Ensign 14, you mentioned Xlibris. As one who is currently having his (non-autoracing themed) book published by them I'd have to say they're not the way to go, especially if one has a number of photos they'd want in their book. Xlibris has proven. to me at least, that they're very inflexible when it comes to anything out of the norm (a layout that is not strictly "novelish", for want of a better word). If one has a text, however, that is conventional and doesn't have many photos, go for it but be prepared to lay out some bread and for their restrictions. At this point, my impression is that they're very amateurish. I didn't have a lot of options and went with them. Time will tell if I made the right decision but it doesn't look good.

#127 Ron Scoma

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 06:22

Maybe this is "funny" but ....
On the 356 list there are several people wanting to buy ONLY volume 1 of Karl's upcoming 3 volume update of "Excellence Was Expected."
At first I thought it was some kind of joke but people were serious, one person even contacted the publisher (Bentley) to ask if they would do a special run of V1 because of the 356 content.
Now I personally don't care much for the 911 series but this is beyond the pale IMHO. What's next, buying just the pages we want to read...
If these people weren't serious it would be funny.
Oh well,

Ron, who is anxiously waiting for 170 book order he placed with Menoshire.

#128 Roger Clark

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 07:20

Originally posted by Vitesse2

There's a Catch 22 here: starting with Vol 1 was probably not a good idea, since interest in that period is minimal - no more than ten of us contribute regularly to early threads here at TNF for example - Hans, Doug, fines, me, ensign14, Robert and .... er .... um .... okay, make that six! Add Don and Phil if you only count US racing ....


Please don't assume that volume of posts is the only indication of interest in the period.

#129 David McKinney

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 08:28

Second that, Roger

#130 Vitesse2

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 09:53

Okay, acknowledged. (Not quite thinking straight last night after four pints of Bass:drunk: ). But I notice you don't dispute the basic premise of my post :) - I didn't say interest was non-existent, merely minimal, and I stand by that.

#131 Mat

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 10:28

I've just been reading through (ok looking at the pictures) of Quattroroute 's Formula 1 special issue and there is an advertisement for a books titled, Enzo Ferrari La vita raccontata a fumetti . It is layed out in comic book style with great drawings of Gilles and Jody Scheckter. I wouldnt be able to read any of it, but looks like a georgous and fun book. Anyone heard of it? Know who publishes it? I think it may be done by a publishing group called ruoteclassiche, but I've never heard of them.

#132 petefenelon

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 10:32

Originally posted by Don Capps
I think Ursula has brought back to the fore an important issue:



This issue has popped up in several threads lately and simply continues an long ongong discussion on "our type" of books. I am coming to the conclusion that perhaps it is time to get really serious about ePublishing as means to fill the gaps that exist and train the generations of historians to come.


Couldn't agree more. Yes, I'd rather have a "real" book in my hands but if the only practical way of getting either classics or new histories is electronic then so be it! (Actually, I think my other half would be much happier if my library was on disc rather than taking up most of my living room!;))

I'm actually a little disappointed with the print quality of some recent "paper" books - the 2nd Edition of Borgeson's Golden Age of the American Racing Car looks like a high quality photocopy...

Atlas and Forix have demonstrated that racing fans will pay for good electronic content. Can the empire expand from there to publishing? I sincerely hope so.

#133 SCO

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 11:27

So I have had my copy of volume 2 for a week now and have been scan reading / dipping into it most evenings. I am very pleased and impressed with the content but my eye keeps getting caught by phrases which appear in Tony Rudd's book 'It was fun'.

I know the BRM book is some sort of collaborative effort between Doug and Tony and that maybe I know Tony's book too well (it is my all time favourite and launched my passion for BRM in the first place) but where the words are not part of technical reports I think they should have been rephrased.

This is probably just a silly niggle on my part, the book is basically excellent and I would recommend it to anyone.

#134 JohnS

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 19:17

I went to the recent LAT photographic exhibition in London, which was pretty stunning. I got talking to one of the guys from LAT, who said that an LAT retrospective book was on the way. Can't wait!

He also said that next year's Motor Sport calendar would be on a Targa Florio theme, which if it's produced to the same high standards as this year's 1960s F1 effort should be pretty special.

John

#135 marat

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 20:09

This is only the point of vue of a reader.
Before 1998, 95% of my books were in english.
Now I buy far more books from France, Belgium, Italy.
Many of those books are of quality "Lucky" from Michel Bollée for example, but softbound.
Few people remember Fernand Tavano but a small book with many interesting photos has been
published in 2001 (while we still don't have any book on Jean Behra).
The books from Belgium on the Pilette, Garage Francorchamps and now Willy Mairesse have
a "cheap" look but the contents are fascinating.
Other have choiced to publish themselves their books and do all the marketing as Maurice Louche
who has now always new plans.
Books like BRM or Maserati 250F or Lotus 72 have their market, for the other, TNF is important
and I am sure many orders were given for the book on Mairesse the same day the info came on
TNF.
So, if problems in Uk, why not have books published on the continent?

#136 dretceterini

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 20:45

I will buy almost any book on small displacement sports-racers, regardless of price, but I only have so much to spend on car books,as do most people.

The problem is, in todays world, most good car books are $100 or more. This means I can't buy everything I would like to.

I much rather have a xerox copy of something than not have it at all.

#137 Falcadore

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Posted 07 June 2003 - 02:31

Originally posted by Ray Bell


I wouldn't think that the few hundred regulars here would make all that much difference, especially seeing as most are inveterate bookbuyers anyway.

Naturally, virtually all books would be outside the range of interest of some of us.

In the interim, I think it interesting that Don has merged other threads and made a 'sticky' out of them for the purpose of discussing books... and two more threads on the topic are started within a few days!


The reason I mention, I once had a reprint organised on the basis of only 50 orders. It was however a novel - ordinary paper, no images, small size....... I was curious what sort of similar numbers would be required for our kind of book.

#138 dretceterini

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Posted 07 June 2003 - 12:49

It has to be extremely difficult. Vitesse Publishing is having a 30% sale here in the US, and that means (from my personal experience dealering with the publishers in Italy they buy from) that they are making next to nothing. They also have a web site to maintain and pay for. Even though the do have a web site and are connected to another called Veloce Today, which publishes an on line magazine, they don't seem to be doing all that well.

Here in the Los Angeles area, Autoboks had a promotion last Saturday with free food, a car display, and 20 authors signing books. Attendence seemed pretty good, but I didn't see all that much stuff being sold. They too have a web site that they must maintain and pay for. Motorbooks was a co-sponsor of the event, so there were the expenses of some people coming out from the midwest and acheiving very little.

Keith Martin from the Sportcar Market Letter was also there, but I didn't see him acheive much of anything either in relation to the costs of his trip.

A man named Franco Manetti who is basically a dealer of Italian cars and a collector of same has offered me copies of the Bandini book. The Italian retail is 100 Euros (about $118 plus shipping if I pay retail from Italy). He is a friend of Dino Bandini, and was "given" 150 copies to sell in the US. I have no idea how much he actually paid for them, but they are heavy, so the shipping alone was substantial. He gave 20 copies on consignment to Autobooks, who has them priced at $100. In spite of the event last weekend, they have only sold 5 copies. I don't know excatly what they are going to pay Franco for the book, but he offered me copies for $70 each if I take at least 10. I can probibly sell 5 or 10 copies, as I know most of the people hee in the US that areinterestedin this subject, but why in the world should I tie up money to POTENTIALLY make a small profit, and still have to compete with the biggest car book store in Los Angeles?

A few years ago, Tony Adriaensens did a book on the Alfa GTA, and it is superb, but he made little or nothing on it after investing years of his time, and a fairly substantial amount of money. Why bother if you can barely break even, much less, turn a reasonable profit?

I don't know all that many people that can buy whatever car books they want, especially when good ones now are at least $40, and many are over $100.

What I would like to get here ae some suggestios as to what to do and how to improve the car book and magazine industry itself. Marketing and promotion are expensive. Maybe it's coming time when all we will have is the electronic word...

#139 Don Capps

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Posted 07 June 2003 - 15:04

Like several others, dretceterini hits a raw nerve that we try to dance around and avoid too much time thinking about whenever possible. Gary Doyle had to self-publish his book on Jimmy Murphy because he couldn't work a deal with a publisher who would print his vision of the book. I think Gary would second the thought that you CAN make a small fortune from the car book business, especially if you start with a larger fortune....

Look at the absolute insanity of trying to figure out the "market" for the sorts of books most of us enjoy and use in our various pursuits in automotive history. Not to mention the issue of books aimed specifically at "collectors" which usually run into the bigger numbers whether you use dollars or euros.

What seems to clear is that this niche in the book world must be a tough one to cater to since not only are Autobooks, Motorbooks, EWA, and others now constantly running sales to keep the merchandise moving, they give off these faint signals of quiet desperation.

I do my level best to spead my purchases around. Plus, I use ABE to find those I am trying to replace or missed the first time around. I recently found a 1973 Hungness Indy Annual for about $25 after being unable to find a copy for under $100 for years and years.

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#140 dretceterini

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Posted 07 June 2003 - 15:25

It was not my intention to be a "downer" by my last post. I do, however, think that discussion is needed on the trials and tribulations of the auto book business. Steve Fields has one of the biggest and best selections of car books here on the west coast of the US. He does OK, but is far from making a killing and being able to financially survive on selling just old car books.

What I'm looking for is suggestions from the experts on marketing and promotion as to what can be done to get books on obscure subjects out into the market. I have been planning an "etceterini" book for years, but with 90% of the photos needed in Italian or French private collections (such as the collection of Millanta), the price being asked makes publish a book like this virtually impossible.

#141 Ron Scoma

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Posted 07 June 2003 - 17:52

Originally posted by dretceterini
What I'm looking for is suggestions from the experts on marketing and promotion as to what can be done to get books on obscure subjects out into the market.


Well... far from being an expert here are a few thoughts...
1) Sponsorship.
"Sell" pages in the book to interested parities, most movies have product placement rates, and one need only look to current F1 cars to see what I mean.
2) Self-Publish.
But have a private IPO ensuring that those who buy in will get that "special edition." You would in essence buy shares in an author against his future sales. This may work well for Nye, Ludvigsen, Tremayne, etc., but wouldn't help the lesser known authors I suspect. This is currently being tossed around in Hollywood, shares in one's favorite artist. Some names are bankable, some not. I don't think this idea will work in there because of the possibility of manipulation, but that's another story.
3) Find a wealthy Patron.
Brain surgery would be easier.
4) Write an application for a Grant.
Various foundations provide funds for ideas and topics that have little or no commercial value. My soon, but not soon enough,-to-be-ex-wife is an environmental lawyer and her group was able to raise funds for things like saving the White Albino White Fish etc. Books that provide a historical documentation should be a piece of cake in fund raising. This is something that I have experience in doing BTW.

Anyway, just some ideas, I personally don't find any of these ideas "acceptable" (with the exception of number 4) but thought I'd open it up for discussion.
Kind Regards,

Ron Scoma

#142 917

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 09:10

Adriano Cimarosti's book about the Swiss Grand Prix was "herausgegeben" (the meaning of this German word is a mixture between "edited" and "published") by Albert Obrist. As far as I know Mr. Obrist (who collects Ferraris) sponsored the publication of this book.

#143 Ron Scoma

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 07:10

Originally posted by dretceterini
A man named Franco Manetti who is basically a dealer of Italian cars and a collector of same has offered me copies of the Bandini book. The Italian retail is 100 Euros (about $118 plus shipping if I pay retail from Italy). He is a friend of Dino Bandini, and was "given" 150 copies to sell in the US. I have no idea how much he actually paid for them, but they are heavy, so the shipping alone was substantial


Part of the "problem" could be marketing. The Bandini book is a book I would be interested in having but if it wasn't for TNF post I would have no idea it existed. There are countless others I'm sure. I think many of us feel that way. (I have a theory that a good percentage of car enthusiasts will end up eating dog food out of a can when we're in our 80s but under no circumstances would we ever part with our books and "stuff")
Michel Bollee's book on Lucky was found strictly by chance at Retromobile as were Maurice Louche's works to give further examples.
With the exception of "Jaguars in Australia" I have NO books on cars or racing in that area of the world. Yet I would love to add just about any tomes to my collection, but finding what is, or was, available is not all that easy for us in the USA.

In the States we had Classic Motorbooks who brought in all sorts of obscure titles back in the 70s and 80s. They now have gone more mainstream, and I can't blame them. Monika and Uwe Hucke book on Bugatti's (in German) would sell about 3 copies in the USA today, but it was the first motor book I purchased and got me started on this whole thing (those bastards...!!! :rolleyes: ). Whereas if they sold 1 book per store to Borders or Barnes & Noble of "Great Crashes of the 20th Century" they would make more money per hour spent than any of us enthusiasts could possibly provide. The problem is those buyers are unlikely to become enthusiasts and provide repeat sales.

It would be "nice" if there were some main listing of all the newly published works on "our" subject matter. It's not easy being a car enthusiast.
Just my 356 cents worth, and not even worth that most of the time.

Ron Scoma

#144 Mike Argetsinger

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 21:14

Originally posted by David McKinney

Definitely something to look forward to.
People have been trying for years to buy the Coltrin archive, but apparently his widow wanted silly money.
Good to see that they're being published at last



I just checked the publishing date of my copy of "The Automotive Photography of Peter Coltrin" (John W. Barnes, Jr. Publishing). It came out in 1978. So, yes, it is time to see more of Pete's work. The text of this volume, by the way, is by Phil Hill.

Pete was just one of the nicest guys in the world. I first met him in 1966 on my first visit to Modena. He took me to dinner and showed me around. Pete had incredible access and knew - and was liked by - just everyone. He was not only a photographer with a great eye but wrote very well and could convey the technical side to the engineering challenged like few others.

Pete Coltrin moved from his home in California to Modena in 1958 and stayed there the rest of his life. Many of the photos in the volume I own were taken at test sessions at the Modena Autodrome and possess a wonderful quality of informality. Those days and that way of life are sadly gone forever . . . but they make for happy memories!

#145 petefenelon

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 21:40

Originally posted by Ron Scoma

Well... far from being an expert here are a few thoughts...
1) Sponsorship.
"Sell" pages in the book to interested parities, most movies have product placement rates, and one need only look to current F1 cars to see what I mean.
Ron Scoma


Sponsorship worked fine for Burt Levy's novels... although I suspect they've become a sufficient word-of-mouth success that he won't need to do it for later volumes (pity, I actually enjoyed the ads!)

Advertising in the likes of Autocourse does get on my nerves - particularly in their history books.


For more technically-focussed books, perhaps people should consider approaching the SAE? - I've got a nice pile of SAE-published racing material since I joined, and although they're not the world's most elegant publishers (their standards of typography and page layout are decidedly early 80s word-processor and some of the photo repro in their books is dismal) their stuff is usually affordable. Although the SAE's nominally international, you might find that books they take an interest in are either pure-technology or have a strong American bias, as most of their members are on that side of the Atlantic.

pete

#146 dretceterini

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Posted 09 June 2003 - 23:10

Veloce Press has now decided to liquidate all it's stock and concentrate on book publishing only. They have raised the discount another 5%, to 35% on what remains. They have perhaps the biggest stock of Italian titles in the US (Nada, Negri, Automobilia, etc)

It appears to me that even though they have a web site and are connected to the Veloce Today information web site run by Pete Vack, they aren't doing very well.

#147 BS Levy

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 03:12

As many of you know, we went with a full color and hopefully in-context 32-page sponsorship & advertising section (disguised as a 1952 sportscar magazine that never existed) in order to publish my second racing novel, "Montezuma's Ferrari," and the idea worked so well that we have repeated it on my subsequent books (only with different ad/sponsorship section formats for each one). This "novel" concept has been written up in several publishing journals & websites here in the states and won a Benjamin Franklin "Book of the Year" Award in 2000. And naturally all of our sponsors and advertisers got special, very limited-edition leatherbound copies with cloisonne logos on the covers that were never offered for public sale except at a few selected chaity auctions.

Of course the basic problem in publishing is that all your costs are front-loaded and you have to sell an awful lot of books to break even, let alone make anything. With our idea, we more than paid for all the production costs on each title so we were making money from Book One, which has made it a fairly nice little business venture. For anyone interested, the long-playing version of our adventures in the publishing world is contained in the story "Necessity is a Mother" in my "A Potside Companion" short story anthology.

I'm happy to say that my first book, "The Last Open Road," is now in its fifth hardcover printing with over 30,000 copies sold, and we are just now investigating Print On Demand as a way to make the titles available overseas at a reasonable cost (the freight charges to Australia are horrendous!) and we'll let you know if and how it works out. Print-on-demand and appropriate sponsorship may be the future solution to limited audience books, although I fear the quality is not yet anywhere near "coffee table."

Speaking of overseas markets, I'd love to hear from anyone out there about specialty motorsports bookstores anywhere on earth that might be appropriate for my books (or visa-versa).

Burt Levy

#148 petefenelon

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 13:10

Originally posted by BS Levy

We are just now investigating Print On Demand as a way to make the titles available overseas at a reasonable cost (the freight charges to Australia are horrendous!) and we'll let you know if and how it works out. Print-on-demand and appropriate sponsorship may be the future solution to limited audience books, although I fear the quality is not yet anywhere near "coffee table."

Burt Levy


Thanks for the summary of your experiences. I've recently bought some print-on-demand reprints of old novels done by Wildside press - they're a little dearer than an ordinary trade paperback and look to be facsimilie editions of the old hardback, on nice paper; the covers look a bit grainy as they seem to be high-quality colour inkjet print on nice stiff card - perfectly good reading copies but as you say not for the coffee table. You certainly wouldn't notice the difference between a Wildside book and a "traditional" one unless you were looking closely.

They also have the advantage that they're listed on Amazon (and presumably other online booksellers) so there's a ready-made distribution channel!

They reckon a book can turn a profit between 50-500 copies. But, they specialise in reprints rather than original material....

http://www.wildsidep.../guidelines.htm

No connection with them apart from being a rather pleased customer!

#149 dretceterini

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 13:42

Burt:

Check out www.editions-palmier.fr which is both a small French publisher and book store. Georgio Nada is both a book publisher (the biggest in car books in Italy), and has a reatil store called Libreria 'dell Automobile (see above posts for links). Chaters is the biggest in England.

#150 Geza Sury

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 13:54

Originally posted by Criceto
"Racing the Silver Arrows" is about to get a reprint, and while it's being touted as a special print run limited to 1000 copies worldwide, you can bet that the publishers have done their sums carefully and decided that's all they dare produce.

You can already order that book at Chater's and I did exactly that :up: