Thursday, October 18, 2007

Global Warming: Loquacity hath its price

The various contracts are all largely finalized, we're reviewing our production schedules with both Windhaven and Transcontinental so everything will flow together nicely. Right now, we're doing a final cost analysis to find the best place to set the new price and then we should be able to knock that first domino over.

Also, my last post received the following question:
If the Trust doesn't have our money, who does? How is the production of the new version being paid for, if not with our money? And how will the Trust break even or better if they have no money from any of the subscribers? I must have missed a memo somewhere; sorry if these questions have been answered before.

On the first point, we're investigating. As for the rest of it, the Trust is having to bankroll everything out of pocket. We're currently doing a cost analysis to figure out how much we have to charge to have any hope of breaking even. On their own, things aren't too bad and we can offer a pretty good deal and still hope to break even with a fair margin of comfort. Of course, we're also having to account for offering the original subscribers refunds. It's making a substantial dent in our comfort zone--particularly as the majority of subscribers paid in full up front--but, as I believe I've said, we feel it is a necessary step to maintain the goodwill of the community.
To summarize: We're looking for the money. We're paying out of pocket and aiming for a price that'll let us pay subscribers back as needed while still not hurting the Trust's stability.


Zarf said...

First of all, thanks for the latest info. You, and the Trust, are clearly doing everything possible to 'make good' on the existing subscriptions --- and I, for one, very much appreciate your efforts, and all your postings.

Now for a quick question. Back on August 23, you wrote: "The new Virginia Edition website is currently being produced and scheduled to go online around the very end of August or start to mid-September at which point we will finally be able to take down the Meisha-Merlin page on the Virginia Edition." Any updated estimate for the debut of the new website?

Hillary said...

I'm a subscriber who paid up-front. I received the first six volumes (through Double Star) and then The Virginia Edition seemed to fall off the face of the earth. I just found your blog with developments since last July (incidentally, it started two days after the last communication I had with someone connected to VE) and read your post of September 4.

I wanted to say, I'm very disappointed. I just graduated from college, and despite being broke, I still went ahead and purchased the Virginia Edition. It was a very tough decision for me given the amount of money involved, but the sheer quality of the set pushed me to go ahead.

I guess I'm confused by the direction you're taking, since your customers seem less like typical consumers than fanatics who will buy at any cost.

The set was supposed to appeal to the people who want a timeless edition; thus, only 5000 were to be released, sold only as a high-quality complete set with slipcovers and dustjacket art. The six sitting on my shelves are fantastic-looking pieces of art, not just books.

Thus, I was very surprised to read of the decision to cut back on that quality and drop the price. If anything, I would have been willing to pay a little more if it meant getting those incredible hard-bound books for my collection.

I understand that the economics of producing such a set are complicated and not cheap, but I chose to buy a set that included that printing, the beautiful art on the dustjackets, and the slipcovers. I have more than enough books on my shelves already with titles only, and the problem with a poster is that my walls are already covered with bookshelves. Besides, the gorgeous spines are way prettier than any poster.

At this point, I'm sure most of the negotiating is already worked out. I still really want the books, considering I've gone through multiple paperback copies of some of these books and hardback is the only way to make sure it lasts, and this is the only way to get a complete set of new hardback editions.

However, I'm upset that the set has changed so drastically from the time I fell in love with it to now. So, I'm torn between wanting the books anyway and wanting to wash my hands of this due to the changes.

Do those omissions really justify reducing the price by $400 (for the basic version) when it could be used to provide more of the original package?

Betsy said...

I paid for the set outright days before it all went to hell. I had been saving for it for over a year and was very excited to finally be able to get my hands on some of the books.

That the slipcovers cost more than the books is insane. I can't imagine why. I will sorely miss the side jacket art as well. I would rather pay a bit more to keep the side art on slipcovers for the leather bound edition than get a poster. Maybe create the leather set and then for people willing to pay a bit more create a set of slipcovers with the art. Or 1 giant cover box to keep them all in with the picture on the side. Or if that is too large make it only 3 or 4 boxes.

Though maybe leather doesn't keep well when covered.

As for removing grumbles, I would also rather have the repetition than lose that correspondence.

It is almost a month since your last update though, and I would love to hear how things are going with the site and the publishing.

CheyAV8R said...

I'm afraid that I must agree with Hillary and betsy. Given the option, I would have ponied up to upgrade to the original concept.

I understand that the world is what it is, not what I want it to be. I have already elected to receive the new edition as offered.

The point was to get a set of books that were more than simply reprintings of what I already have on my shelves (some in more than one edition or printing). It was to get something truly unique and special in honor of one who was an important influence in my life.

You can't always get what you want.
- Mick and the Boys