Genii print and digital subscriptions

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Guest » 05/05/07 10:10 AM

Richard,

Why don't you offer both print and digital subscription to Genii magazine? You could offer the following choices:

1) Print subscription as usual.

2) Digital only subscription for the same price as the print subscription. The advantage for digital subscribers is that they get the issue (PDF) earlier than the print subscription because there is no waiting for printing and delivery. And they get a searchable product to add to their digital libraries. It would help you lower cost because you save immediately on mailing costs and some on printing and binding depending on how many go for this option.

3) Print and digital subscription for an additional $10 per year on top of the print subscription. This is for the ones who want both, speed, searchability and a print copy. It adds profit to Genii without additional cost (sending out PDFs is virtually free of charge).

This would underscore that Genii is the leading magic magazine, aware of new technologies and willing to offer a more flexible product to its subscribers.

Best,
Chris
www.lybrary.com
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Postby Guest » 05/05/07 11:13 AM

An informal poll here:

How many people would be willing to pay full boat for only a PDF copy of Genii?
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Postby Guest » 05/05/07 11:48 AM

I wouldn't consider paying the full price of a subscription for a .pdf copy only.

The only thing I'd consider would be to have the .pdf file included in the subscription as an extra to the magazine itself, with no increase in cost. I could see the .pdf copy having more advertising in it than the magazine in order to cover the cost of production of the .pdf file.

I see no real value in having my monthly Genii in .pdf form other than it would be on my laptop to read if I didn't happen to have the magazine handy to read...something that doesn't happen very often, if ever.

With the exception of announcing live performances, there's nothing that I would consider time sensitive enough to make getting the .pdf early of any real value.
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Postby Guest » 05/05/07 12:09 PM

Actually I would love to have Genii in PDF so that I could carry them on a memory stick drive along with my libary of Perl programming references and my digital copy of Expert At The Card Table.

I would expect a small price break on the subscription to relect the lower (re)production costs, but I think 10-20% off a one or two year subscription would be a compelling price break.

I currently buy from the magic shop and have a major storeage issue that has led to my tossing old issues that I don't (currently) feel a need to keep.
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Postby Guest » 05/05/07 01:32 PM

I would order a PDF subscription in a heartbeat. Air mail costs and delays are what put me off ordering the magazine (and others!)

I would expect a saving in subscription costs for electronic-only version

Bob
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Postby Guest » 05/05/07 05:35 PM

The digital only subscription could certainly be cheaper by $5-$10 a year and still leave Richard with some cost savings.

However, I would order a digital only subscription at the current price. For me speed and searchability is worth much more than dead trees.

Best,
Chris....
www.lybrary.com
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Postby Guest » 05/05/07 05:50 PM

Speaking as someone who likes to hold my reading material in my hands, a .pdf file would be of no use to me. But I just downloaded an Ebook reader for my Blackberry, so this may change soon.

Gord
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Postby Guest » 05/05/07 06:00 PM

Unless there's some sort of block on copying the pdf file and sending it to "just a few friends," the "circulation" of Genii could increase many fold without any additional monies flowing into the Kaufman treasury.
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Postby Guest » 05/05/07 06:12 PM

Chris W. wrote:
... I would order a digital only subscription at the current price...
Chris, you are biased and your vote doesn't count! ;)

So far, nobody would pay "full boat" for a digital-only subscription to Genii.

Not surprising at this point in time. But, that could change over time.
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 03:29 AM

Clay, Bob Walder above stated that he would get the PDF in a heartbeat. I would count this as one vote, because non-US subscribers should get the digital subscription for the US price, not the international price. And that is a saving of $35 in case of the airmail subscription and $15 in case of the surface mail subscription.

Getting a price break of $35 is huge. That is another book or three ebooks you can buy :-)

But I would not expect a lot of opinions either way. Just look at how few make regular comments on this board. The 90-9-1 rule applies. 90% of registered users to the Genii forum never post anything. 9% post very little. The majority of the communication is carried by 1%.

It doesn't cost Richard anything to offer a PDF version. He already creates the PDF to send to the printer. Rather than theorize about such things it would be much better to just do them and then count how many go either way. It is a no brainer. Lower cost and higher revenue for Richard. I don't know any business man who wouldn't be extremely happy to get that.

Best,
Chris....
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 04:50 AM

I'd pay the full price for a digital Genii; I'd also love to see the post-1998 issues in digital form. Aside from the issue of storage, there is a massive advantage of being able to search digital files quickly.

Antinomy have already set a precedent for doing this.
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 07:34 AM

... i think the biggest problem is the copy thing. I wouldn't want to see my magazine at emule or betorrent every month. And i don't think the people who know they can get it for free there will buy it from kaufman. And at the moment you have to put some tool into the pdf to protect it from copying, it would be a lot of extra work. (and there is nothing that couldn't be hacked)

Hannes
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 07:52 AM

Whilst I am not saying that the "unofficial circulation" of Genii would not increase as a result of pirated PDF files doing the rounds, I doubt that it would adversely affect overall subscription income.

Those who steal files in that way are unlikely to pay for a subscription in the first place. Those of us who truly want the magazine will pay for it no matter what.

The net result would be an increase in paid subscriptions. You also need to factor in the point that some of those unauthorised copies will find their way into the hands of people who did not previously know about Genii, and who will then order a paid subscription - count it as "accidental advertising".

Bob

PS Chris is right - I would prorbably be happy simply to save the international shipping costs. However, as a mater of principle, I expect an electronic version of anything to be cheaper than the printed version (rightly or wrongly - just my opinion).
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 07:59 AM

Hannes, the DRM issue is mute. Fictionwise sells for many years thousands of unprotected ebooks with great success. The owner told me that on average he sells more of the unprotected ebooks than the one that come with DRM.

Lybrary.com sells for more than 7 years unprotected ebooks because I am convinced that the vast majority of customers is perfectly honest. They are willing to pay a fair price for a good product and great service. On top of this one can provide special services, like our permanent storage service and others which I am working on.

Elsevier, the largest science publisher in the world, does not protect any of its 8 million article PDFs which are available for a fee for downloading on their ScienceDirect platform. They tried to protect their tens of thousands of ebooks first, but removed the DRM after three weeks of customer disaster and outrage.

No protection or DRM is required. Yes, there are some teenagers who get stuff from peer to peer networks and there are some crooks and thieves who do the same. These pirates can be dealt with differently. Not everything has to be locked up to be profitable.

Best,
Chris
www.lybrary.com
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Postby Rick Maue » 05/06/07 09:48 AM

Greetings,

I am a huge fan of Genii, and as I have said before, since Richard has been in the driver's seat, many of the issues are actually more valuable than a number of the obviously higher-priced books on my magic/mentalism shelf.

But with all of that said, I will admit that it is possible that I would never bother to read it again if it was only in electronic form. I would simply find other printed material to enjoy. (I know that this thread is about having a choice between print or e-magazine, but since this type of discussion seems to come up all the time around here, I decided to finally toss in my opinions.)

Technology is great, but over the past decade, it seems that technology itself has become much more of the focus than the actual content. And I do not simply mean in magic literature, I mean in just about everything. After all, I hardly ever hear people talking about a new musical release, but every single day I hear someone boasting about how many songs they are carrying with them. And the same certainly goes for books. (Freud may have called this "catalog envy".)

In the words of Schopenhauer:
"Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in: but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents."

Those words are certainly more true today then they were when they were written in the 1800's.

For me, I am not interested in how much I can carry with me, or how fast I can retrieve something. To me, reading is not just about research, hoarding titles, or convenience--it is often for relaxing. Speed, amount, accessibility, and other such features don't usually interest me that greatly. And I certainly do not find reading from a screen, or handling a stack of pages from my laser printer, to be that relaxing.

Sadly, with so much information out there these days, it seems that the techno-guys too often confuse the words "want" and "need". And I personally do not think that books should be treated like baseball cards.

With all of that said, you can probably guess that you will not be seeing any of my releases ever come out in an electronic version. And the ones that are floating around, they are the dirty work of the techno-crooks. And as you may have guessed, the ever-popular one-click instant international thievery issue is yet another "feature" that does not interest me.

In closing, I will simply say that all of this is just my opinion, and I am certainly not trying to change any minds, or get into any type of debate. Some folks like Chris have a vested interest in this area, and I wish him well. We simply have different priorities.


Keep the change,
Rick Maue
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 10:06 AM

Rick, philosophically we are not so far apart, because I do also read a lot for pleasure, however by being able to search my chances of finding pleasurable things to read are much higher than limiting myself to print publications alone.

Having said that, this thread is not about print versus digital, because under my proposal you would still get your printed Genii for the same price as usual. My proposal is about choice. There are some who would prefer a digital version or prefer print and digital. And the fact that Genii is not offering this means lost business. And this means lost readership for advertisers which means more lost business for Genii.

If people would get away from the digital versus print we could really achieve something much bigger and better.

Since Genii and many other similar magazines derive about 2/3 of their revenue from advertisements one only needs to think a little bit to see what a digital option could do for these magazines. For example, advertisements could have a direct link in the PDF which links to the homepage of the advertiser or the product page. Imagine what this would do to conversion rates. Genii might also offer digital only ads which appear only in the PDF and not in the printed version. These ad rates could be a lot lower and thus open the door to many small businesses further increasing Genii's revenue which can be plowed back into even better and more articles and contributions. Or think about embedded video demos for tricks and trailers for DVDs. These would be all features advertisers and readers would love to have.

Best,
Chris....
www.lybrary.com
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 10:26 AM

Chris:

The 90-9-1 rule also applies to threads concerning e-books. And we know who does the 90% participation. :D

So far, only Richard Evans has seemed to state that he'd pay full price. Bob Walder has not - he expects a discount, as he clearly stated.

CHS
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 10:46 AM

Clay, let's ask Bob to clarify his position because I read it that he would be happy to get the digital version at the US regular price. If that is true then we have 3 who would go for the digital one (including me and why should my vote not be counted?). And since 10 people have posted to this thread, we can say that 30% would be for a digital edition - more than I expected. I would have guessed 10%. And why not do something for a few hundred subscribers when it comes cost free expands subscription base and provides more options for advertisers?

Best,
Chris....
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 11:35 AM

Chris,

Why don't you offer print versions of the ebooks that you have? That way the people who don't like to read off of a computer screen, who don't like to use up all of their ink/toner and paper, and/or who don't have the time to run off to Kinkos can have a hard copy easily accessible? I'm sure that there are many who have been interested in many of your publications but have not ordered because they prefer having a hard copy.

This would underscore that eLybrary is the leading ebook seller, aware of old technologies and willing to offer a more flexible product to its buyers. :D
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 02:15 PM

Frank, I have thought about this for several years using Print-On-Demand technology. The real problem is that these POD books would cost quite a bit more than the ebooks.

But since I like a good challenge, tell me one ebook you would prefer as book assuming that the book will cost about $15-$40 more (depending on size etc.) and I will set it up on lulu.com.

Best,
Chris....
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/06/07 04:34 PM

Oh yeah, Chris, there's no reason to copy protect it.

That's why there are no songs and TV shows and movies on the Internet where they can be illegally downloaded.

That's why it's not costing the entertainment industry BILLIONS each year because of pirating of their material.

You need to wake up and stop trying to ram this [censored] down the throats of the community. You should pay to advertise your stuff and if people buy it, fine, otherwise give it a damn rest.
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 05:07 PM

Chris

We know you sell ebooks.

That's lovely.

Well done.

But really...what's the point of this thread? If you are really serious about pdf genii, contact RK directly and pitch the financials to him.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 05/06/07 05:20 PM

Richard,
It's interesting to note that EMI (one of the four largest record companies) and iTunes (the largest online music distributer) recently struck a deal that will allow iTunes users to download everything in the EMI digital catalog completely free of copy protection.

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 05:36 PM

What does this have to do with my ebooks? This is about Genii being a modern publication, getting more subscribers and serving advertisers better. And this is the section where we supposed to discuss "general aspects of Genii". If this is not a general aspect then I don't know what is.

Why are you guys not able to engage in a meaningful discussion? Make some intelligent arguments or refute the logic of my proposal. It is pretty clear by now that some of the largest publishers have understood that DRM is not the way to go.

Best,
Chris....
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/06/07 05:51 PM

I know that companies are starting to reverse themselves on protecting their files. That's because the files exist in digital form already and are being pirated every few seconds all around the world. The only way to combat that is to NOT put your material into digital format. That makes it more difficult to steal.

Unfortunately the only thing Chris knows about is digital books, not printed books or magazines. If he wants to start a digital magazine because he feels it will be embraced by the community and he'll have lots of advertisers, then I suggest he do it and stop telling me how to run my business.
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 07:39 PM

Clarification - right now if I could save international shipping costs I would take a subscription. The shipping delay is also a bugbear for me, so the ability to get each new issue as it is published would also be worth something to me.

Whilst Chris' responses to any thread which remotely mentions anything to do with ebooks or PDFs are predictable to say the the least, and whilst sometimes I think he leaves himself open to attack by pushing a point too hard, I think the vitriolic responses he gets (this thread being no excpetion) are hardly warranted.

This is supposed to be a forum for discussion - why do some (including, unfortunately, Richard) feel the need to respond so harshly?

The way I read this thread was the Chris, as a subscriber (I may be wrong there?) was positing an alternative way of receiving the magazine and was canvassing others. That two other people responded positively so quickly was, I think, encouraging and indicates that the questions was probably worth asking, whether or not Richard wanted to hear it.

As customers or potential customers I think we are all entitled to try and tell you how to run your business, Richard, especially when it comes to new product suggestions - that is what customers do in any industry. Their suggestions are not always welcome, but most business owners would at least respond with a polite "we will think about it - thank you for your suggestion" as they toss it in the bin.

I WAS a Genii subscriber, and I stopped purely because of (a) the cost of shipping, and (b) the delay in shipping. Whilst I too prefer a printed copy of the magazine to read in my armchair with my cup of coffee, I would take second best to be able to read an electronic version more cheaply and in a more timely manner

Bob
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Postby Guest » 05/06/07 11:50 PM

Richard - if I really wanted to pirate Genii I would scan it it PDF myself. You providing a digital version makes very little difference to the pirate

And BTW - I hate password-protected PDFs - the first thing I do when I get one is remove the password protection (it is trvial). The pirate does the same.

Chris' approach is the smart one - and the music industry is only now beginning to wake up to that fact

Bob
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Postby Guest » 05/07/07 02:42 AM

Richard, then by your own logic, why do you offer the old volumes of Genii in electronic form?
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Postby Guest » 05/07/07 06:45 AM

Does this board have an ignore feature for e-proselytizing? How about for last-word addicts?

Jeez louise.

JMT
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Postby Guest » 05/07/07 06:54 AM

I would subscribe if offered in electronic format.

And do understand that many here prefer paper in hand for their magic reading experience.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/07/07 07:12 AM

Because they're there.
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 05/07/07 07:55 AM

I wouldn't get Genii as PDF if it were available.
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Postby Guest » 05/07/07 08:38 AM

Chris W. wrote:

... this thread is not about print versus digital [emphasis added], because under my proposal you would still get your printed Genii for the same price as usual. My proposal is about choice ...
Au contraire. IMHO, this thread is only about print versus digital. Because the choices Chris suggests and the arguments he makes are precisely print and/or digital and the pros and cons of print and digital, respectively. And the posters discussions likewise focus on the pros and cons of print and digital.

The choices discussed in Chris initial post seem appropriate enough (sorry RK!). Getting peoples feedback on these choices is interesting (to me at least). And even if Richard ignores Chris advice, RK still gets the benefit of peoples input in this discussion.

Since this topic is about choice, what about this idea: sell pdf versions of portions of Genii. For example, there are probably many magicians who cant afford the subscription price but would love to keep current on the latest tricks, adverts, reviews, etc. So why not sell a pdf version of Genii sans the feature article(s) and (most of?) the how to columns?
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Postby Guest » 05/07/07 09:10 AM

Those worrying about piracy would probably be suprised to find out that you can find almost all issues of Genii and MAGIC through the various file sharing networks (Filetopia, torrents, the newsgroups, ect.)
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Postby Guest » 05/07/07 09:50 AM

The fact that these files are on peer-to-peer networks does not say how many use these as replacement for subscribing or purchasing.

Even if only one pirate has scanned in the latest Genii issue, created a PDF, and shares it through a torrent it will show up in the file lists. That does not mean that anybody has actually downloaded it as replacement for a purchase.
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Postby Guest » 05/07/07 10:24 AM

I can understand not wanting the cuurent issue out in digital format, but how long does the paper version have actual value to you, Richard?

Beyond the freshness date--so to speak--what about an Annual PDF that contains the previous year's issues, plus a searchable index and whatever else one can only do in digital format?

I have no idea how the financials would work out, but the Annual could contain all the previous year's ads, plus additional ad space sold just for the Annual, plus any articles that didn't quite make the grade for the print version, etc up to the limits of fiscal viability.

OR, an Annual PDF that's just the feature articles. Or one that's just the tricks.

Or any combinations thereof.

I'd LOVE that.

P&L
D
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Postby Guest » 05/07/07 12:05 PM

Without addressing the risks and/or benefits of what Chris is proposing, I can say with great confidence that this would be a better thread if he had written his original post differently. I bring this up not to bash (or defend) Chris, but because the lesson applies to virtually everything we do.

The problem with starting off "Why don't you..." is that it is interpreted by the vast majority of people as a criticism. The subtext is usually interpreted as "What is wrong with you that you don't do this?"

A much better way to start this off would be:
I had an idea that I think might make Richard more money, would take very little effort, and could expand Genii's readership while reducing costs.

Then explain the idea. Close with something like "I don't work in print publishing, but this all seems to make sense to me. Richard, does this interest you?"

I'm not saying this revised approach would make Richard agree. But I am sure that it will draw a more favorable response, both from Richard and other people entering the thread.


Pete
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Postby Guest » 05/07/07 12:18 PM

Several factors are missing from this discussion that might put things in proper perspective. As I understand things, the bulk of Richard Kaufmans income comes out of Genii, with additional monies from his book publishing. Every year Genii publishes a report of how many subscribers it has, how many magazines are sold in shops, how many are printed, etc.

Sales of Kaufman books are relatively easy enough to estimate by simply asking RK for the edition sizes. For example, Greater Magic was one edition of 5,000, a necessary number to reach a small enough per-unit cost so the project could be profitable. Most titles are published in editions less than Greater Magic and take years to sell out.

Chris, who I both like and have done a bit of business with, has published none of his sales figures... nor do we know if he makes a full-time living from his ebook business or if it is a sideline or hobby.

Chris, youll have more credibility with me if you would be willing to publish sales figures of your titles and tell us if you make your living from selling ebooks or if you have another gig like computer consulting that makes the bulk of your yearly income. No dollar amount needed, just do you make the majority of your income from your website or is it a hobby that makes some moneyor perhaps just pays for itself?

The point Im making here is that an unprotected pdf file is dead easy to steal and the potential to damage circulation is massive. We are asking RK to mess around with how he makes a living and supports his family in a business that is difficult enough to make money from to begin with. Easy enough for armchair publishers to say that an unprotected electronic edition of Genii would do one thing or another, but no one knows.

Would someone like to indemnify Richard for say five years to try the experiment? Anyone? Hands please? Wait.someone over there.no, they were just scratching themselves. So, if no one is going to do indemnify RK and put their money where their mouth is, why should we expect him to try it?

Until I know that those pushing for an unprotected electronic edition are in a similar boat to RK or are willing to underwrite any losses to Genii over five years, this subject is moot.
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Postby Guest » 05/07/07 12:24 PM

David
I understand your thinking, but neither Richard or Chris are under any obligation to tell us how much money they make. It is, quite frankly, none of our damn business.
As for people putting their money where their mouth is, we already do by purchasing their product(s). The people who would financially support a digital Genii are the potential subscribers which, if this thread is any indication, are few and far between.

Gord
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Postby Guest » 05/07/07 12:27 PM

Gord,

No. You don't.

Re-read my post. I was NOT asking for HOW much they made, only that Chris should tell us IF he makes the BULK of his income from ebooks or from some other source. I specifically used the phrase "NO DOLLAR AMOUNT," which apparently has a different meaning in Canada. :confused:
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