The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 31, July 30, 2006, Article 33


Last week I noted Leonard Hartmann's observation on shrinking print
runs in the philatelic literature field, and asked about the parallels
in the numismatic publishing world.

Granvyl Hulse writes: "I may be wrong in my assumption as to how
books are being printed in the outside world today, but if my local
publisher is an example of modern times the initial number of copies
of a book printed is not necessarily the total number that will
eventually be printed.

My own books are first scanned into my publisher's computer for which
I pay a fee depending on the time taken to scan them. Once this is
done my first run is usually a very limited number to see if it sells.
I am then only out the actual cost of publishing a few copies initially,
and this of course depends on the number of pages and binding. If the
book does not sell I am not stuck with a depleted check book, and boxes
of unsold of books piled away in my attic.

If it does sell I can have any number later struck to meet the demand.
I am feeding a local store a book I wrote on inns and restaurants in
lots of 20. As they sell out I have my publisher run off 20 more, and
will continue to do this until the market dries up. Since the CD belongs
to me should there be a demand in the future for the book, the CD will
be sent back to the publisher for any number of desired re-prints."

Morten Eske Mortensen writes: "I've already written an article on this
subject back in 1999 and published it in the Swedish magazine

The article also is online: Full Story

You will see that I have collected actual numbers for print runs
on recently published numismatic books.

The Danish word "oplag" = "print run"

the Danish word "udsolgt 19xx" means "went out-of-print in the
year 19xx".

"Pris" = "originally salesprice at the day of publication".

"rea-pris" = "realisation price to get rid of the remainder of
the print-run".

"foræret" = "books were given away for free (no payment of
money for the books)".

I have continued collecting information on print-runs for numismatic
books published since the article and some day this data will be
published in a follow-up article. This information can be useful
for other venturers into publishing of numismatic books - only small
printings runs will be needed for ANY numismatic books (and the
corresponding sales price of course will have to be of a 'high
nominal' sales value to be able to cover the production costs.
Otherwise you (the happy publisher) will lose his money!"

[Here is a link to Morten's earlier E-Sylum article on the
topic. -Editor]


Paul DiMarzio writes: "When I read the article titled "SMALLER
PRINT RUNS FOR NUMISMATIC BOOKS?" it reminded me of a New York
Times article I recently read that pointed me to the beta site of
a new service called blurb (  blurb provides
free software for formatting the contents of a book, which can then
be published as an 8x10, full color hardcopy book with custom
dustcover.  Prices are pretty cheap, running from $30 for a 40-page
book up to $80 for 440 pages.

There are two features that make this more interesting than other
self-publishing services: you can order a print run of just a single
copy, and, apparently, your book can be posted for others to purchase
- although it's not clear to me who gets the money.  Like I mentioned
this is a beta, and I haven't tried it myself, but it looks promising.

This caught my eye because I have the dream of someday pulling together
a book based on my collecting interests and this will let me do it -
even if I'm the only one who wants that book!!!  Technology may have
finally enabled a truly affordable print-on-demand business model,
which would be great news for the numismatic community.  Small print
runs would no longer be an issue and books would never truly go out
of print.  I suspect this might not make all the readers of The
E-Sylum happy, though, because it also implies a drop in collectible
books :-)"

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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