Why are English Go books usually so expensive (especially Kiseido books)? It can’t be because of printing technology since the German translations can be almost half the price of the English original despite the same content. It is also noticeable today when Amazon print-on-demand is used for many reissues of old Go books that often still have the same prince as the original editions despite a much lower quality printing.
Same reason as the reason that scholarly books are expensive: very low demand (i.e., low print run), combined with very high need or desire among the audience.
yes, but one would assume that the demand was lower in German-speaking countries, but still the German translations of many English Go books are much more affordable than the English originals (especially second hand where English Go books are ridiculously expensive second-hand while German Go books have a good second-hand price).
I don’t know about English Go books specifically, but nobody can convince me there is any reason for the hardcopy and the kindle version of a book to cost the same.
I suspect that this has to do with the de facto monopoly of a certain publisher R.B. for English Go literature. By comparison Shogi literature in English have much more reasonable prices.
My answer above is the general publishing answer. However, the particulars as you describe them, sound like they involve marketing or other specific factors. Perhaps the German versions are trying to undercut the pricing on the English versions if they have only recently come into the market, or perhaps the English versions are better made. Perhaps import taxes are increasing the price of the English versions.
As for used books, those depend very much on the local market and the seller’s knowledge of the second-hand trade. Here in the U.S., go books are grouped with game books in general and are in very short supply, massively overshadowed by chess and card books. Used game books in general are cheap compared to other categories, such as local history; mythology/folklore; popular authors in children’s, mystery, and science fiction categories; and books of unique interest in various categories. Game books here are a basement category.
This does make sense, but having done low print runs of 25-50 copies for my own project, some books really seem very overpriced, but are they really?
For example, for the same book, the price we got from a printing company in Athens, compared to a printing company in Barcelona was almost twice the books for half the money! (even with the extra trouble and cost of paying the transporting fees from Athens to my village and from my Village to Barcelona). The difference was mindblowing and Greece and Spain are just round the corner of each other.
Who knows what the printing cost is in Japan, compared to Germany? Unless we know that, we cannot really judge the price.
Also @VikingKoala you have publishers, printers, typesetters (which is quite an extra cost, I’d guess, from going from Japanese typesetting to a western language), packaging, postage, staff and pay taxes and insurance. Those people need to pay all that and make a profit, in a totally different economy than the one we are used to.
True enough, but I got tired in my answer, and didn’t feel like dragging in technical printing and contracting issues. Consideration of those aspects requires information unavailable to us. Labor costs are a major factor in printing as in most manufacturing, and likely differ quite a bit from country to country. Paper prices also differ hugely depending on the stock and weight, as well as on the wholesale quantity the company can buy (a smaller company can’t buy as much and store it the way a big company can). Other factors include the quantity and state of the printer’s equipment, whether sales are direct or through a third party, whether the books come from an old inventory or are comparatively new, exchange rates, and so on.
I have never worked in book production, but I once bid out a million-dollar contract for a suite of magazines, journals, and newsletters, involving both web and sheet-fed printing. I sent the RFP to 10 prescreened printers (nine in the U.S. and one in Canada). People thought I was crazy because three to five is normal, but I had my reasons. As it turned out, the spread from best to worst was almost double—and that is just right here, mostly in one country.
I buy the smartGo electronic books, which are much cheaper.
Why would you assume demand is lower in German?
My personal impression of “Germans” is that they are more scholarly and more interested in serious games than the majority of the English speaking world.
To even talk about cost of manufacture of books in relation to their sale price seems like a red-herring. Books in general aren’t a commodity priced by cost of manufacture, and certainly scholarly books are not.
One can also compare publishers when it comes to those who have begun to use Amazon print-on-demand for reprints where, for example, the Amazon print-on-demand reissues of Janice Kim (Good Move Press/Samarkand) are reasonable priced while things by Ishi/Kiseido are overpriced even if they are Amazon print-on-demand reissues. That can also be compared with a small German publisher as Hebsacker Verlag which does some reissues of the English translations of Korean Go books that are reasonable priced and have a better quality than the original editions and Amazon print-on-demand. Brett und Stein Verlag also have reasonable prices and better quality.
When it comes to academic publishing, at least in humanities, US publishers seem to be much better than Continental European publishers like Brill and de Gruyter who basically only publish overprized editions for university libraries which means that you cannot assign good books as textbooks because it is unreasonable to require students to get a 200 Euro book (although in German there is the UTB collaboration that guarantee reasonably priced textbooks). Oxford and Cambridge seem to do something in between so that they first publish an overpriced hardcover edition for university libraries and then a softcover edition with a reasonable price if they deem that that there is a market. By comparison most American university presses have very reasonable prices in the humanities although I have noticed that there are also some textbooks in the US that are completely overpriced also in the humanities (e.g., Rachels’ The Elements of Moral Philosophy).
As far as I know Gunnar Dickfeld from Brett und Stein Verlag does not try to make a living out of this business. He rather tries to give something to the community.
Also bear in mind the prices of second-hand books on places like amazon are sometimes set by crazy bots, and being offered at a crazy price doesn’t mean a human idiot has actually bought it at that price. Unless you want to be that idiot.
Well one have to admit that Richard Bozulich seems to be the only Go publisher in English who has managed to create businesses that are financially viable since there have been many other Go publisher in English which have disappeared (I assume that they went bankrupt). If Brett und Stein Verlag is more of a hobby project, I wonder what the case with Hebsacker Verlag is. Perhaps Hebsacker has a quasi-monopoly on the German-speaking market and it is also a seller of Go equipment which means it has a financially viable business model without overpricing its publication. Or is Hebsacker also more a hobby project?
Compared to surrounding countries, japanese books are already quite expensive. Go check the price of a medium sized dictionary.
Ishi press were in the time when japanese go was very interested in promoting go to foreigners. Opening of go centers, free visits of pro players and cheap books to raise our level.
We are not a hobby project, maybe only the Go books are …
Well I am impressed by the quality and the reasonable prices of the publications both by Hebsacker and Stein und Brett. The only critique I have of Hebsacker is that one cannot order everything directly through Amazon with free shipping for Prime.
I assume you are addressing me, since I am the only one that mentioned “demand” specifically. It seems you have completely misunderstood my posts. My first post addressed only the question raised in the title of this thread, so I spoke about the cost of niche books such as scholarly books. My other two posts simply pointed out factors affecting cost that most people probably wouldn’t think of. I don’t think it is possible to give a definitive answer to the price-differential question without insider knowledge of the particulars.
The manufacturing cost—paper prices in particular—has a significant effect on pricing. There is a huge difference between the unit cost of 1,000 copies versus 10,000 or more copies, and the overhead cost is divided among far fewer copies with niche books.
You would not like the prices of our books anymore, after they reached you with Prime.
You really think, prime is for free? No, it is not.