The Genus Lachenalia - a new book

Matt Mattus
Wed, 28 Mar 2012 20:31:53 PDT
Setting the price of a book is more than just page count. The binding for a
book that thick is more complex, and let's face it - this is not Harry
Potter we are talking about with a print run of 5 million. I would imagine
this is a much smaller run. I expect that they are printing in China, so
shipping would be more too, due to the weight. If translation is needed,
again, more. I doubt that anyone involved is getting rich off of this
monograph on Lachenalia, and frankly, I am surprised and ashamed that the
worlds largest bulb organization is behaving this way about a serious and
important work.

After a long discussion with Timber Press in regards to why they no longer
publish monographs, the high cost comes with low production runs due to low
sales numbers ( reportedly less than 2500 world wide for most monographs
like Primroses). Which should inform us about how many of us are actually
out there. Few publishers ( including Timber ) are considering printing
these books today, so whether we choose to buy them or not, the numbers are
just not there.

Sure, the cost is more in the range of text books on paper, but I believe
that we will see such books on paper fade away soon enough unless we support
them. Of course, a new generation expects digital books. So grumble as we
may, the truth is published books on paper are less profitable today due to
the subject matter, the volume of the press run, and the cost of paper.

The Feel that the Timber press reprints of the Kew Monographs had paper of a
poorer quality too. Has anyone else noticed this?

Matt Mattus
Worcester, MA

On 3/28/12 9:14 PM, "Hannon" <> wrote:

> Leaving aside unknown differences in color layout and other details, here
> are two Kew books for comparison:
> The Genus Cypripedium (1997) 39.95, Timber Press-- 301 pp.
> Slipper Orchids of Vietnam (2003) 49.95 Timber Press-- 308 pp.
> These books have only gone up in value.
> A comparable book today might cost 59.95. If this price were doubled for a
> book of 600 pp. then the price might be around 120.00. How does the price
> more than treble to 200.00? Currency devaluation? How is that a "fair"
> price?
> On 28 March 2012 19:09, Matt Mattus <> wrote:
>> I think the cost of this book is fair, given the print run ( most likely
>> less than 5000), and the impressive page count of 600+, nearly three times
>> that of other Kew monographs. This will be thicker than a bible.  We all
>> complain that printing is going away, yet we also complain when books of
>> high quality are offered too.
>> We should support Kew, and encourage the high quality printing and
>> information they provide.
>> If not, we can wait for the digital copy, which will surely be offered for
>> much less - remember, as of last month, there are now more digital books
>> sold on Amazon than printed books.
>> Matt Mattus
>> Lachenalia freak
>> Massachusetts
>> Zone 10
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