Bristol Cars - Owners and Enthusiasts Forum  

Go Back   Bristol Cars - Owners and Enthusiasts Forum > Bristol Forums > Bristol News & Other Bristol Discussion

Bristol News & Other Bristol Discussion About the company, clubs, car owners, and Bristol discussion not specific to the 6,8 or 10 cyl cars.

Aero Dynamic wins Octane Publication of the year.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 17-11-22, 11:53 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: West Wales.
Posts: 455
Default Aero Dynamic wins Octane Publication of the year.

Congratulations are due to Michael Barton and Simon Charlesworth as Aero Dynamic has just won the Octane Magazine historic motoring awards Publication of the Year, a well deserved result for the publisher and author for a very compelling and special book.
Geoff.
Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 17-11-22, 01:28 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Meriden near Coventry
Posts: 93
Default

A wonderful achievement, and I'm sure it is a beautiful and fascinating book, but is it likely to be made available in a less expensive format ? £475 is a lot for a book.
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 18-11-22, 07:17 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 13
Default

I'll admit to struggling with the economic logic of these eye-wateringly expensive books. Even more so when it's approaching impossible to find any details of whats in it or where it can be bought from. 20 minutes of net searching merely produced a couple or three side references and a mention in a magazine. So, even though I could afford it, and having something (probably) approaching 1,000 books about the place implies that I'm not averse to dead tree information storage, marketing inefficiency means I won't.

The effective hourly rate for most ordinary authors is pretty pants at the best of times. Assuming all the records were not presented in one lump; nicely tied up with pink ribbon; the amount time spent tracking down information, scholarship and fact checking needed to produce a definitive work must have been huge. If handwaving guesses at likely sales are anywhere near correct it appears that slavery might have been more fiscally rewarding than authorship!!

I'd contrast this with a book of similarly limited appeal that I did buy recently. "The Secret Horsepower Race" WW2 western front fighter engine development by Calum E Douglas. £35 from Mortons for almost 500 pages of (apparently) carefully researched reporting covering what was going on with management behind the scenes of the major combatants from 1930 to 1945. But it still took several adverts and finding out that the author had a serious engineering background in engine design before I bit. Despite being close to my top price to buy unseen limit. Interesting but a heavy read. Plus a few engineering howlers that the author really should have known better than. Even at that price I'm still dubious about the economics. My copy of Setrights "The Power to Fly" was remaindered off. Stupidly I passed over Bristol Cars and Engines further down the same shelf.

I imagine I'm not the only person who places reasonable spending limits on the purchase of books that might be interesting.

Clive
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 18-11-22, 08:33 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: West Wales.
Posts: 455
Default

Clive,
I fully appreciate that at this price level these type of books are not for everyone, Palawan's book by Setright was phenomenally expensive compared with his first offering Bristol Cars and Engines which I think I paid about £5 for when it came out, it was a must have though because it was by Setright and about my favorite car and it was the first expensive book of this type I bought. At the time I was thinking of buying their book on the Bentley Continental, how I wish I had they sell for thousands of pounds now but that really is not the reason for me buying books like this.. In between these two books there have been several on Bristol cars at an initially reasonable price as did Christopher Belfour's excellent book which followed, look at the price dealers ask for that now.
Michael Barton entered the fray because there were aspects of the Bristol story that had not been told in depth, the first book he published Mr Bristol The Remarkable Life of T.A.D. Crook is a gem, so much to that date written about the cars, so little in many ways about the man in charge for so many years. This was followed by John Hobbs book Design and The Bristol Car, more modestly priced but still not cheap but for me an absolute must have because I own a 603.
The next book in this class was a result of the collaborations between the Heritage Trust and Palawan, The Bristol Aeroplane Company and Car Division another heavy hitter both physically and in price but also in content with a remarkable reproduction of the dispatch ledgers for the 400-406.
This left the story of the 450 which really may never have been told in such detail were it not for the discovery of a remarkable collection of Photographs,
the best of which were selected to showcase in this book. Simon Charlsworth has done an excellent job of telling the story of the 450's but its the photographs I find so compelling something that always draws me back, its a book in a way that closes the circle on the Bristol story and for that alone it was for me worth buying.
There are probably books I have which I read more often but when time permits delving into any of these is an absolute treat.
Geoff.











https://www.butterfieldpress.co.uk/
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 19-11-22, 03:33 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Meriden near Coventry
Posts: 93
Default

Yes, the Callum Douglas book seemed like much better value, and I wonder how many more copies of Aero Dynamic would be sold at £47.50, instead of £475.00 ?
I read 'The Secret Horsepower Race' and I remember thinking certain assertions couldn't be right, but what were the 'Howlers' you identified ?
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 06-01-23, 05:09 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 1
Default

Thank you for your kind words, Geoff. I’m glad you like the book.

As for the thorny topic of book pricing, I appreciate that some write as a hobby, but professional motoring writers need payment.

In the past when I've been approached by other publishers to write a book, the fee was non-negotiable and pitiful. It was then followed up by some cynical flannel regarding ‘legacy' and 'doing it for the exposure’. (Ironically from an employee who - one would hope - is paid for their work.)

On one occasion my fee would equate to 0.08 pence per word, without any mention of payment for sourcing images. And yes, that does read correctly and it is not a mistake - 0.08 pence per word. Never mind the research process and the question of any resultant expenses was not clearly answered.

When image sourcing was mentioned, more disappointment arose. I was last quoted a truly terrible £500 (at magazine rates that is enough for just 10 images). Yet when I was offered said figure, I was told that if I didn't spend it, then I got to keep it! So, unsurprisingly, some authors either take their own photos or have to blag them if they want to comprehensively illustrate a book. (Compare this with 'Aero Dynamic' where we had professional photographs and two touch-up teams working on them.)

Factor in mediocre repro and layout plus cheap printing/binding, and there is little incentive to write a cut-price motoring book.

All of which is why I feel lucky to have worked with a publisher such as Butterfield Press. A company which not only matches my levels of enthusiasm for the subject, but is intent on pushing quality levels in the right direction - up! I hugely appreciated the trust which was placed in me to research, plan and write the Racing Department's story. I was not patronised or messed about, only helped - and going on the positive reviews we have received, we’ve done a proper job.

How many copies of ‘Aero Dynamic’ would’ve sold for £47.50? Well, without wishing to sound blunt, that’s an easy question to answer - zero - because it wouldn’t exist.
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-23, 12:52 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 8
Default Aero Dynamic

Geoff is right, the authors must be congratulated for producing this important publication. Similarly, the defence of the price made by Mr Charlesworth has to be respected. We Bristol enthusiasts have to remember that given Bristol production volumes the number of interested parties is never likely to be large.

That said, I am left to question the publishers marketing professionalism as evidenced by their decisions on communications and from that price. Pricing is something that many marketers struggle with (often arising from a lack of mathematical literacy) - computing the population Vs sales volume/value to the customer Vs production cost and margin relationship.

If you start with a perspective that 'volumes will never be large so why invest time and effort on promotion' the inevitable result is a price that aims to maximise return from a small sales volume (a tactic that has the saving grace that it will always prove that the driving perspective was clearly the correct one).

The challenge starts with the definition of the target market. It will be considerably larger if one puts the effort into actually defining the sub-populations of likely buyers i.e. not only as Bristol enthusiasts but I appreciate that getting that information together takes time and effort.

If the publisher only relies on the views of the specialist retailer then the volume opportunity will be tiny as essentially, as far as I can see, little or no effort has been made to grow the motoring book market in years.

When it comes to the mechanics of promotion, really there's no excuse for the lack of communications. The available media (print and broadcast (this website, the BOC and BODA websites and YouTube vlogers)) is clearly identifiable and their interest in motoring books readily noted.

Did this important book need to be so hugely expensive, we'll never know. I recently spent a three figure sum on a two volume set on another of my favourite cars to add to an extensive motoring library so I would have happily paid the same again for this book but I cannot justify the ridiculously exorbitant price being charged for Aero Dynamic.

Inter-library loan is a wonderful thing.
Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-23, 01:53 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: West Wales.
Posts: 455
Default

For a book of this quality in terms of both content and production I think it is a little unfair to say the price is ridiculously exorbitant, its the latest in a recent run of high quality publications on Bristol Car related subjects, two others from the same publisher one from Palawan. Aerodynamic is by comparison with some limited run high quality books that hit the market last year not that expensive and I say that relative to the price of some of the other books.
I would not have passed up the opportunity to buy this book because I have owned a Bristol of one sort or another almost from when I started driving, not always on the road but at least one always in the barn.
I am also a big fan of the 50's and early 60's Bentleys and there have tempting publications covering those as well. Original workshop manuals for either are up in this price bracket does that make them ridiculously exorbitant? I suppose at the end of the day what matters is how badly we want a book, a workshop manual or even a car.
As I write this I have the latest Palawan catalog on the desk, A Private Car by Setright is now £1000 bound in cloth, £1500 in leather, The Bristol Aeroplane Company £600 for the Standard Edition going up to £750 for the last 100 copies, if you want it in leather £1250. Their book on the DB4GT Aston is £2000, a good friend of mine would say its all a game but we are both old enough to remember when you could buy a DB5 Aston for under £1000.
Geoff.
Reply With Quote
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 07-01-23, 04:14 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 3
Default Price versus quality

Like Geoff I have all these 'expensive' Bristol related books so I feel qualified to express some opinions.

If you want the cheapest new car available for sale in the UK you can buy a Citroen Ami at just under £9,000 or a Dacia Sandero at just under £13,000. The Dacia, but perhaps not the Citroen, would get you from 'A' to 'B' in safety and relative comfort. Most us of, lucky enough to buy new cars, would chose to spend more. Why, if price is all that matters?

Leaving aside the quality of the writing all these books are characterised by their designs, the photographs, the artworks, the paper, the bindings and so on. If you put no value on these then, yes, they are over-priced.

If on the other hand you value those qualities they are, in fact, in my opinion, all excellent value for money.

Simon Charlesworth is a well respected motoring journalist and Bristol enthusiast. I have to say Aero-Dynamic is probably the best motoring book I have ever read. The writing and the photographs draw me back time and time again. The appendices include all the factory racing department internal reports from the period. Goodness only knows where they came from. My only criticism is that the amazing photos are not captioned. I can speculate why (to draw the reader into the drama of the races) but I'm not sure that was the right decision.

Regarding marketing. I'd say the reviews in the classic car press, winning the Octane Book of the Year with all the attendant publicity, social media posts and their website shows actually Butterfield Press have got it right.

Rennie
Reply With Quote
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 08-01-23, 04:37 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Meriden near Coventry
Posts: 93
Default

Yes, please forgive me, when I suggested £47.50 it wasn't so serious, just a convenient number to write. I have also bought a couple of the Palawan books, but I think that on the Palawan Bristol book, the circulation volume was always going to be small, but it strikes me that the Aero-Dynamic book would have much wider appeal because it is a study of a successful series of racing cars. I am not personally very interested in Ferraris, but I would buy a book about certain series of racing Ferraris, or maybe a book about Ferrari racing engines.

Suppose, for the sake of argument, that a paper-back Aero-Dynamic came out for, say £150, I would be happy to buy it. I am not being insulting, I genuinely feel this book has been made in a way which unnecessarily restricts its market. Of course, I am no expert on the book market and accept to be wrong, but I hope my question is not a million miles out.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


All times are GMT. The time now is 02:24 AM.


This is the live site

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2