Seasoned numismatic book publisher Dave Lange submitted these thoughts in response to Gary Beals' call for recommendations on how
many copies to print of his upcoming book. -Editor
Since my last two books were self-published under my own imprint, PennyBoard Press, I have some experience in this area. Obviously, the
potential sales of a book varies with the popularity of the topic. Putting out a book titled How to Get Rich in the Coin Hobby will
sell far more readily than one on a much more esoteric subject within the field. As both of my self-published books concern the collecting
of coin boards or albums, the very definition of esoteric, I can relate my own experiences.
I printed just over 1000 copies of my 2007 book on antique coin boards, and this was done specifically with the intent of reducing the unit
cost to the point where I could offer them wholesale to dealers at half of retail. I was successful in placing about 80-100 books this way, but there
were no repeat orders, so the wholesale scheme proved unnecessary. I was able to sell several hundred at retail, but nearly half of these sales were
achieved only after I slashed the retail price to the former wholesale figure. Sales then stalled, so I donated 300 copies to the ANA for use as
table favors at its 2013 annual banquet, and I still have 100 or so left.
My 2013 book on National Coin Albums and related products was never offered at wholesale, as the unit cost was too high for me to provide
any discount to dealers. I printed 300 of this title, which was the minimum figure for an established printer that was known to do work of the
quality I demanded. I've moved just over 100 of these books to date, and about half the sales have come since the original price was reduced to a
point where I would still cover the unit cost, even after Amazon or eBay takes its pound of flesh.
One thing I've noticed is that book sales for both my own titles and the more popular titles of commercial publishers in the
numismatic field haven't recovered from the 2008-09 recession. There seems to be a malaise over the hobby that inhibits the publishing
of new books in recent years, at least within the commercial sector. While my publications are not representative of the overall numismatic
field, I would caution prospective authors to think "less is more" when planning their books.
One thing weighing in favor of smaller press runs is that modern printing technology can produce quality works at a reasonable cost that
is not necessarily related to the number of copies ordered. The old rule of economy of scale doesn't apply, at least not for press runs
of a few hundred or more. Another benefit of modern technology is that additional books usually can be ordered from the printer at the same
unit cost, should they be required. This is the so-called "print on demand" service. I'll be looking into this for my current
book project on the Library of Coins Albums and other publications of the Coin and Currency Institute (Robert Friedberg). I insist on
accurate color reproduction, so I'll be careful in choosing such a printer.
To contact Dave about purchasing one of his books, email him at DavidWLange@outlook.com
I should note that there's a related word to the wise in Dave's Fall 2015 Coin Board News
newsletter (republished below).
In many instances, the early folders are rarer than coin boards. Being superficially similar to current items, the 1939-50 folders are
accorded no respect by coin collectors and dealers, so their survival rate is extremely low. The distinctive size of our beloved coin
boards alerts persons to their potential value, and they are thus more likely to be saved than the humble folders, which often get
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
QUERY: PRESS RUN FOR A NEW BOOK ON NUMISMATICS
Archives International Auctions, Part XXIX
U.S. & Worldwide Banknotes, Scripophily, Coins,
Historic Artifacts & Ephemera, Artwork, Autographs
and Security Printing Ephemera
October 24th & 29th, 2015
Click the links! Highlights include:
Live Internet Bidding
- Lot 26: Thomas Spencer -
Honolulu - Sandwich Islands 1858
- Lot 320: Accelerating
Steam Navigation Co. 1841 Ten shares
- Lot 363: Confederate
States Bond. $10,000. Cr.146, B-339.
- Lot 413:
First Liberty Loan Converted 4 _% Gold Bond of 1932-1947
607: Fijian Government Debenture, 1872 Issue
Lot 715: Bono De Caja, El Banco Comercial Refaccionario De Chihuahua
- Lot 738:
Banco Nacional Del Peru, 1877 Provisional Issue Specimen
- Lot 809: Bank of Zambia, ND
(1964) Specimen Banknote.
Lot 948: British American Bank Note Company Engravers & Printers Proof
960: Draper, Underwood, Bald & Spencer, ND, ca.1820's Sample Sheet.
- Lot 1000: Colonial Pennsylvania, 15 Shillings
- Lot 1056: Cherokee
Insurance & Banking Co. 2 Dollars. 1862.
1139: Bank of America, 1879 Specimen $10,000 Clearing House Certificate.
Lot 1148: Manufacturers Bank, 184x Proof Banknote on a Proof Vignette Sheet
- Lot 1229: Confederate States. 5
- Lot 1280: Legal Tender Note.
1863 Series. 5 Dollars.
Lot 1298: Hackettstown National Bank of NJ., Second Charter $10.00
View the Virtual Catalog
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ARCHIVES INTERNATIONAL AUCTIONS, LLC
1580 Lemoine Avenue, Suite #7
Fort Lee, NJ 07024
Wayne Homren, Editor
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