A Tale of Multimedia Angst

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JHostler
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A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby JHostler » October 18th, 2016, 11:05 pm

So… how does a 70’s-era Gen-X luddite get the veins in his forehead popping? He tries “going multimedia.”

Back in May, I published a book. A real paper thing… with a dust jacket and numbered bookplate. Kind of a big deal in my little universe – and a lot of work. To my surprise, the thing starts selling. The feedback is surprisingly good (with one notable exception). But I find myself wasting far too much time staring at these little circular blobs on Google Analytics, so the book becomes a time-limited edition. I ensure folks that this beautiful thing will not be printed again. (In fact, much of the material has seen print before… so there isn’t much of an exclusive on the content.) By August, I’m done. Fewer than 100 copies sold, but I’m happy, as are folks who got in on a rarity.

A couple months go by, and I get the bright idea (with a little encouragement) to follow up the permanently out-of-print hardcover with a time-limited eBook. No big deal, I figure… the hardbacks are numbered and will never be available again. In fact, a collector just picked one up for nearly $200 – so folks must still prefer something they can actually hold in their hands. Add to this the fact that a few desirous finger flingers simply missed the original sales window, and I’m thinking it’d a decent course of action. So I contact my e-buddy (is that a thing?) Chris over at Lybrary, and he kindly lists the eBook with a 12/31 termination date. Almost immediately - before it even has time to hit the weekly newsletter - I get a note from a disgruntled owner of the numbered edition. Given the godawful nasty era in which we’re living, I elect to kill the listing rather than field a dozen more pieces of hatemail.

Oh so very confusing. Fifteen years ago, I’d have had some choice words for the complainant. Today, I haven’t the time or energy for that sorta thing… and a bit more self-doubt tends to impact my behavioral calculation.

What on earth is the “best practice” for re-releasing (or not?!?) limited edition books in electronic form???

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 18th, 2016, 11:24 pm

You should not have killed the eBook listing. Tell Chris to put it back up.
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performer
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby performer » October 19th, 2016, 5:38 am

Yes. I think you need to put it back up. And you can always give the complainers some little gift to shut them up. Send them something that doesn't cost you much.

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Joe Pecore
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby Joe Pecore » October 19th, 2016, 7:31 am

Would the limited edition hardback purchasers get a free e-book version?
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JHostler
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby JHostler » October 19th, 2016, 8:10 am

Joe Pecore wrote:Would the limited edition hardback purchasers get a free e-book version?


Sounds simple enough, but the notion brings a well-founded cliche to mind: no good deed goes unpunished.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 19th, 2016, 11:58 am

John, I think Joe has proposed an excellent solution that costs you next to nothing: give those who purchased the hardcover the eBook version.
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby observer » October 19th, 2016, 1:45 pm

JHostler wrote: (In fact, much of the material has seen print before… so there isn’t much of an exclusive on the content.)


What on earth is the “best practice” for re-releasing (or not?!?) limited edition books in electronic form???


If some of the book's contents are exclusive to the book, and the book was sold on a limited edition basis, it doesn't seem right to then go ahead and make that content available to others.

JHostler
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby JHostler » October 19th, 2016, 1:52 pm

observer wrote:
JHostler wrote: (In fact, much of the material has seen print before… so there isn’t much of an exclusive on the content.)


What on earth is the “best practice” for re-releasing (or not?!?) limited edition books in electronic form???


If some of the book's contents are exclusive to the book, and the book was sold on a limited edition basis, it doesn't seem right to then go ahead and make that content available to others.


There's a big difference between a limited printing and content exclusivity.

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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby Ted M » October 19th, 2016, 2:33 pm

Yes. And since that difference is so large, a publisher would be well advised to make the extent of the "limited" situation very clear before taking money from one's customers.

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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby Tom Gilbert » October 19th, 2016, 3:19 pm

I bought a book quite a while ago for a good price that was advertised as only one printing. I purchased it for content not collectability. Years later it's been released as a PDF. But there's still only that one printing that is only available now as used. Did the release of the PDF lower the value? I would think so if I went to sell it on the used market. Technically, he did stick to his word, only one printing, nothing about any other form the book could take. So I would guess, it's how it was marketed.

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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby Ted M » October 19th, 2016, 3:24 pm

It's about clear communication.

"Limited" is frequently interpreted in various ways, so it's best to clarify when choosing to market with that term.

JHostler
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby JHostler » October 19th, 2016, 8:24 pm

I believe the "limited" aspect was described as follows. As objectivity on my part is impossible, I'm curious how others would interpret this:

"This 144-page hardcover will be yanked from market on August 21, just one month from today, and never printed again."


Bear in mind that there was no plan (at the time this was written) to reissue - or not reissue - an ebook... hence no elaboration in that regard.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby Richard Kaufman » October 19th, 2016, 8:30 pm

John, you sold so few that I think anyone would understand the switch to an eBook, and I think offering the ebook free to those who purchased the hardcover is more than adequate recompense.
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erdnasephile
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby erdnasephile » October 20th, 2016, 12:17 am

Tom Gilbert wrote:I bought a book quite a while ago for a good price that was advertised as only one printing. I purchased it for content not collectability. Years later it's been released as a PDF. But there's still only that one printing that is only available now as used. Did the release of the PDF lower the value? I would think so if I went to sell it on the used market. Technically, he did stick to his word, only one printing, nothing about any other form the book could take. So I would guess, it's how it was marketed.


That happened to me as well (with Derek Dingle's Last Notes).

Personally, as a consumer, I would prefer the word "limited" not be used unless it is made clear that the material will not be released in any way later. If the creator wants to reserve the right to rerelease, it would be helpful to purchasing decisions to be informed of that ahead of time if the word "limited" is going to be used in advertisements.

Don't laugh: Mr. Guimaraes did precisely that with one of his limited editions. He informed purchasers precisely how long he would refrain from rereleasing the material (in any form) so the purchaser knew exactly what they were getting before any money changed hands.

IMHO, the word "limited" has many different meanings to people, so it's my preference to have too much specificity in advertisements when it is used, as opposed to too little. Since "limited" is frequently used by advertisers to drive sales, it's understandable why purchasers aren't happy when the material gets rereleased soon after purchase.

All that said, these are just my opinions as a consumer--I am expressing no opinion about right/wrong or any ethical considerations/implications (if any).

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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby JHostler » October 20th, 2016, 8:06 am

This dilemma reminds me why I'm supposed to be on "magic sabbatical." I need to shut up, re-read the MO introduction, close the book, and continue reacquainting myself with the mandolin...

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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby Tom Gilbert » October 20th, 2016, 1:17 pm

Only if you're better than Bill Monroe or Sam Bush......

JHostler
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby JHostler » October 20th, 2016, 1:22 pm

Sam lives within spitting distance... as does Tim O'Brien. Oh that Nugget...

JHostler
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby JHostler » October 22nd, 2016, 10:07 am

I took the liberty of polling owners that requested numbered bookplates (the only ones for which I have contact info). The overwhelming majority happen to be fine with an electronic edition. Several indicated they'd really appreciate one for convenience' sake.

Purchasers who didn't receive my emailed poll (but happen to be reading this post) should feel free to contact me directly.

Boy is this an education..!

JMH

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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby lybrary » October 26th, 2016, 3:37 pm

John's work "Magnum Opossum" is now available as ebook here http://www.lybrary.com/magnum-opossum-p-880355.html
Keep in mind that this ebook will vanish end of this year (2016). I suggest you buy it now before you forget and miss out. It is a really good one.
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JHostler
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby JHostler » November 23rd, 2016, 7:13 pm

Thank you, sir - for this and the "hot list" mention!

JHostler
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Re: A Tale of Multimedia Angst

Postby JHostler » December 18th, 2016, 9:41 am

A final (?!?) shameless plug before this goes out of e-print on December 31. I remain fascinated by the wildly inconsistent feedback (a phenomenon extending even to the freebie "ala McCartney" stuff*). It's all ego at this point... no real money in the endeavor... so keep the thoughts coming.

Cheers,

John

*"...ala McCartney" #3 coming soon - just waiting on a flash of inspiration.


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