The Scrivenery and GKS

Posted by: Barbara

The Scrivenery and GKS - 10/11/99 04:42 PM

Ed Williams, courageous soul that he is, has started a print-on-demand publishing company called The Scrivenery Press. Ed will be publishing some new books but mostly reprints of works that have gone out of print. These will all be trade paperback editions, selling in the neighborhood of $15.

And guess what the first book is that the Scriv is publishing.



A new cover and a new ISBN: 1-893818-01-2. (M. D. Lake once said that he figured the reason his books didn't make the bestsellers lists was that he kept getting bad ISBNs.) The book is listed in Ingram's catalogue and can be ordered through local bookstores and from the major online booksellers. Of the latter, books.com is offering it at the lowest price -- $13.51. This is print-on-demand, remember, so you won't be likely to find the book on the shelves of a bookstore -- unless the owner ordered a few copies for display. This way of publishing books is still so new that no one really knows how it's all going to shake down.

And if a new visitor to this board has never heard me blathering on about Good King Sauerkraut, you can read about it right here.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 10/12/99 08:14 AM

Well, books.com now seems to be offering it at $16.90 (that's 5c cheaper than their rivals, according to their "compare prices" feature.

I was wondering what books.com charges to ship to the UK? I couldn't find a way of discovering their rates without actually ordering something! Maybe I'll be better off with amazon.co.uk.

One interesting thing about the books.com site is that they list out-of-print titles, such as Barbara's Met Opera books. I wonder how successful they are at obtaining such things?

As well as reading Barbara's "blathering" about the book, I used the search facility on this section of the board to turn up people's collective comments on GKS - all hidden away under topics with completely different subject-lines!

Actually, I was reminded of this topic the other day when an American friend of mine said that, when faced with the choice of Eisenhower or Stevenson in a presidential election (1952 or 56, was that?), she
wrote in a vote for Pogo! She comes from a very left-wing family, by the way - her brother was named Eugene, after Eugene Debs.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 10/12/99 09:07 AM

Same choice in both 1952 and '56.

Andrew is right about the cost. Books.com raised its price overnight; it was still $13.51 when I tested the link yesterday evening. And they have the pub date wrong. Arrgh.

I doubt that anything can be done about the jump in price, but I'll sic Ed on 'em.
Posted by: David Dvorkin

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 10/12/99 12:05 PM

What very good news! And good luck to the new publisher.
Posted by: Kay

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 10/21/99 09:29 PM

Re: Pogo

I still have my I Go Pogo button from, I think, the 1956 campaign....I don't think he was a candidate in 1952.

For the rather high percentage of you who don't remember back that far. The li'l possum ran a pretty good campaign (or his fans did....I am not sure Kelly initiated it.)

Re: Books on demand

This is the first time I've heard of this. But immediately I can see how it would be a good idea. No publisher will take a chance on something that isn't going to sell a reasonable "first run." Maybe this is the answer for the quality stuff that doesn't have popular appeal and so never gets published...a few copies printed and sent to reviewers to beef up the demand, of course.

Also good for reprints of things like GKS....thanks for letting us know, Barbara.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 10/22/99 09:25 AM

The idea behind print-on-demand is to lower all those intermediary costs that keep nudging book prices higher and higher. Warehouse storage costs, for instance, are eliminated altogether. A horrible example: a few years ago I signed a contract with International Polygonics for a trade edition of all three of the opera mysteries. A Cadenza for Caruso was printed and stored in a warehouse -- when IP went bankrupt. And since IP couldn't pay the warehouse bill, the warehouse owner wouldn't release the books and so they were never shipped. The entire print run was destroyed. Something like that can't happen with print-on-demand.

But the biggest chunk of money goes to the distributor. Ingram takes 55% of the cover price for every book it places in a store. But since Ingram isn't doing the actual physical distributing of print-on-demand books, they're simply charging a flat fee for a listing in their catalogue -- much less than their percentage rate would come to. The ideal situation would be to eliminate the distributor altogether (since Ingram makes more from a book than the author and publisher combined), but all publishing would have to go to print-on-demand before that could happen.

The economics of this business are ridiculous.
Posted by: Jon

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 10/22/99 10:46 AM

Another area I know for printing on demand has to do with databases that are constantly being updated, and sorted different ways. The one I know of is connect with the Metropolitan Opera Archives, though I'm sure there are others.

They issued a big 2-volume edition in 1985, covering their first 100 seasons -- a fat day-by-day listing, and then opera totals for the participants. But of course it was out of date by the time it appeared, plus there are ways to look at the information that it doesn't provide (who-all has sung Aida for instance, from most to least frequent).

So they are now offering on-demand services, so that you can order the Eleanor Steber Book, and your bound volume will have the full info for each performance she sang, plus different listings of her role totals etc. Or anybody else you want, or (I believe) other opera or role compendia.

I wonder if they'll ever publish a full updated edition for general sale.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 11/07/99 04:34 PM

Amazon had originally overpriced this book; they're now selling it for $13.56.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1893818012/smallpressnet

Ed says books.com is essentially going out of business. They've been bought out by B&N.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 11/08/99 03:26 AM

I've found this at amazon.co.uk - they quote the US price as $16.95, and are offering it at 9.25 which they claim is 10% off (making the discounted price $15.26 in $US). Then I also have to pay 2.45 for postage etc.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 11/08/99 09:43 AM

Ah, I didn't check the UK price; that's still too high. It looks as if POD isn't going to be the bargain overseas that it is in the US. Sorry, Andrew; this is a drawback that the new technology hasn't grappled with yet. Your shipping expense is more than double what someone here ordering from the American Amazon would pay.
Posted by: Kay

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 11/08/99 03:58 PM

I guess this is relevant here:

In London last month, I used my Visa card quite a bit. I also used my ATM card a couple of times, once for cash and once as a debit card.

The statements are in now...the exchange rate on the Visa was 1.70 to the pound....the cash card (my bank) gave me 1.67 and no exchange fees.

Next time, I think I'll stick with the debit/ATM card!

Something to think about when ordering online, too.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 11/15/99 12:13 PM

My copy of GKS dropped through the letter-box while I was at work today. One week turn-round seems quite good, and presumably it can be printed on demand in the UK as well as the US. Even with the shipping charge, 11.20 isn't an outrageous price - a paperback of the same size might cost that over here (where everything is more expensive), and this is definitely superior quality.

I'm looking forward to getting started on it this evening!
Posted by: Barbara

Re: The Scrivenery and GKS - 11/16/99 08:56 AM

Ah, that's great, Andrew. I thank you, and Scrivenery Press thanks you.

The actual physical printing is done by Lightning Press, which is located in the US. But the distributor (Ingram) is all over the map. I don't know the ins-and-outs of distribution; in fact, I find it a rather scary subject.