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Bristol: The Inside Story

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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-09, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Howard View Post
...does POD change the challenge of marketing your book and getting retailers to sell it?
The book world is now dividing between those who buy at stores and those who use the internet. POD marketing tends to be internet based. POD is tied into the major wholesalers like Ingrams, thus libraries process their orders via internet. Retailers are not aligned with the internet, thus they are outside the scope of the question. The internet market is now big enough to allow one to ignore the retailing market entirely (except for customer demand walk-ins, who have their retailer order from Ingrams).

POD is being adopted by major publishers both for long-tail books and fast books (do I dare mention Sarah Palin's autobiography was a POD... good thing, no leftovers to dump). In the future nothing should be out of print... I was astounded recently to find my grandfather's PhD dissertation from the 1880's is now for sale on Amazon as a new paperback.

I have been amused to read the disparaging on-line comments about the new directions of the industry. It reminds me of Bill Gates' speech attacking Linux.

POD and self-publishing are actually different businesses. A friend of mine, a biologist, self-publishes... made over a million dollars US on his first book because he earned about 60% of the cover price rather than the more typical 5%. In his case, he traditionally printed the book. Self publishing is not vanity press. In self-publishing you have to be a good author, pay or be a good professional editor and hire or do a good job with typesetting and layout. More importantly, you then need to know how to get into the top ten of Amazon. My friend learned that skill (he took a workshop that offered a money-back guarantee which he did not get to collect as he hit it). Even today he ranks 154 in Amazon's total ranking. It's called viral marketing, and in these early stages of the internet, it still works.

In our case, books are written not as an end in themselves, but as a means to initiate billion dollar real estate developments. It was those friends who self publish and have international reputations that called my attention to the industry, and provided me with the insight to realise the usefulness of the new technology.

The decision to use POD was for us a cost/time projection question. Our prime book was traditionally printed (and makes higher profits), but it requires a back office. In North America and Europe we used POD both because the global shipping is difficult, and because we could find a huge spike in orders if we get a review from a celebrity. If we used a traditional printing house, we would lose the orders due to the lag time. In contrast with POD we get instant fulfilment. So far the traditional book is selling 7x that of POD, but this is because the POD is solely long-tail marketing at present.

So, in the end, these are just business decisions. But as Bristol collectors seem to be a literate sort, I thought it might be useful to let folks know that their business decisions have more choice than they did a decade ago.

Claude
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-09, 07:59 PM
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Default Bristol: The Inside Story

In a message dated 05/07/2009 08:55:46 GMT Daylight Time,
webmaster@bristolcars.info writes:

(Please type your reply below this line!!)
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
"Hence my suggestion that Palawan might be a better place for an
authoritative book with useful photographs of original cars in it."

But Palawan have already done it and still have the copies on the shelf
getting very dusty that prove that the majority of Bristol owners do live in
the "real world" and won't spend hundreds of pounds on a brand new car
book....
Philippa


______________________
CURRENT MESSAGE FROM: Ashley James

Hence my suggestion that Palawan might be a better place for an
authoritative book with useful photographs of original cars in it.
Otherwise the information is best disseminated via the web and the
wiki.

Last edited by Kevin H; 06-07-09 at 11:23 AM. Reason: removed some of the email artefacts
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  #43 (permalink)  
Old 05-07-09, 09:30 PM
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Default Bristol: The Inside Story

A very Private Car is beautifully produced but is priced at a level
that pretty much restricts it's appeal to someone who already owns a
Bristol. Mine took a good six weeks to arrive which suggests that it
wasn't 'on the shelf'. Perhaps they send the already printed sheaves
off for individual binding when you order?

Bristol: A Private Car, is a limited edition of 1000 books (of which
100 are in leather at a pretty big premium). At #300 each the project
revenue would be #300,000. Give say 50k to the author and 25k to the
photographer, and say 30k for the printing the break even point comes
up after 350 sales. It is a similar proposition to the offerings of
the Franklin Mint in that respect. My book is No. 616 so the project
is a good one!. That book was a bit of a one off in that it was
written by a nationally known magazine car writer who had a widely
publicized lifelong association with the marque combined with portrait
photos of all the major cars in a coffee table book. It was aimed at a
small niche and will probably take 15+ years to sell out. I doubt
there is room for a direct competitor book. Although that said it
would be interesting if there was a series of books, one per model
with a very specific history of that particular car.

I am looking forward to the Balfour book, which from what I have heard
will contain a lot more of the facts than we might expect, or even
hope for!. It is priced at a level which opens interest in it up to
more than just owners. As we don't actually know until next year we
can but speculate.

One benefit of using Haynes is that they have a distributors like
Borders and WH Smith on their lists, this in turn means that there
might just be a Bristol Cars book to choose in the automobile section
which in turn might increase interest in the marque.

I have always thought that what is really needed is a history of the
company. not based on it's products but as a business. It is one of
the most unusual companies in the country in terms of it's niche
position, business model, resilience, the longevity of the staff and
cast of characters. Especially where the man who wired the very first
400 still works full time as a Director. The film rights to such a
story would be worth a fortune.

Paul

Last edited by Kevin H; 05-07-09 at 11:50 PM. Reason: removed email address and email artefacts
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  #44 (permalink)  
Old 06-07-09, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLF799R View Post
In a message dated 05/07/2009 08:55:46 GMT Daylight Time,
webmaster@bristol.... writes:

(Please type your reply below this line!!)
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
"Hence my suggestion that Palawan might be a better place for an
authoritative book with useful photographs of original cars in it."
Philippa, please quote the original author of the text, rather than a quoted version. Your message above makes it look like the comment came from webmaster@bristol.... , but it was Ashley James who originally said that. Also please do not include originating email addresses when quoting. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TLF799R View Post
But Palawan have already done it and still have the copies on the shelf
getting very dusty that prove that the majority of Bristol owners do live in
the "real world" and won't spend hundreds of pounds on a brand new car
book....
Philippa
It doesn't prove anything of the sort. I know many Bristol owners who have bought the Palawan book. I think you will find they have sold around 700 copies (you could ring Simon Draper and ask him). I can't imagine many of those went to non Bristol owners.

Kevin
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  #45 (permalink)  
Old 06-07-09, 12:15 AM
geo geo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lansdownplace View Post
Give say 50k to the author and 25k to the
photographer,
Paul
If only!! Paul, I think you risk being trampled to death by the rush of authors and photographers wishing to work for you.

Geo
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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 06-07-09, 12:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lansdownplace View Post
A very Private Car is beautifully produced but is priced at a level that pretty much restricts it's appeal to someone who already owns a Bristol.
It was reading this book that got me interested in Bristols, before I bought one

Quote:
Originally Posted by lansdownplace View Post
Mine took a good six weeks to arrive which suggests that it wasn't 'on the shelf'. Perhaps they send the already printed sheaves off for individual binding when you order?
Maybe they do that with some of the leatherbound versions, but going on my personal experience with Palawan it is unlikely that they do that with the clothbound versions. I've bought a number of their books, both for myself and as presents for other people. None of them have taken more than a 48 hours to be delivered in the UK or two weeks if being shipped to Australia.

Quite a few of their titles have sold out in at least one format but it would be possible to have a guess at which books are more likely to sell out and only get all of those bound.

However, I can't help wondering if a company that produces a book titled "The Atlas of Rare Pheasants – Vol I and Vol II" at 2500 really cares whether it has a few unsold volumes on the shelves!

Last edited by Kevin H; 06-07-09 at 11:18 AM.
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old 06-07-09, 03:50 PM
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Default Bristol: The Inside Story

Philippa

The problem is that Setright's book has mistakes in it and this de-
values it. I also think that it is only recently that the earlier cars
have started to catch others that qualify for the important Early Post
War events. This is crucial to the future of the Bristol name.

Ashley

Last edited by Kevin H; 06-07-09 at 11:44 PM. Reason: removed email artefacts, again!
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  #48 (permalink)  
Old 06-07-09, 05:40 PM
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Default Bristol: The Inside Story

Kevin,
If I were more technically minded I would do the "quotes thing" but the way
it arrives on my email means there is no obvious way to do it.

On the book front perhaps you are lucky enough to be much better off than
some of us?

On the numbers front perhaps I am cyncial enough to assume that they mix
the numbers up somewhat?

Philippa

Last edited by Kevin H; 06-07-09 at 11:44 PM. Reason: removed email artefacts, again!
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  #49 (permalink)  
Old 06-07-09, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLF799R View Post
Kevin,
If I were more technically minded I would do the "quotes thing" but the way it arrives on my email means there is no obvious way to do it.
I am writing an explanatory message about this which I will send to all members of this site. The key to success is to log into the site and use the graphical user interface (use the Quote button then delete unnecessary text between the quote tags as required). You can also apply styling to the text and there's even a 'preview' function so you can see what your post will look like!

Even I don't reply by email if I am quoting - it's far too fiddly!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TLF799R View Post
On the book front perhaps you are lucky enough to be much better off than some of us?
No, you're confusing me with people who have their vehicles restored and modified by Bristol Cars ;-)

Jokes aside, I doubt very much whether I am better off than the average Bristol owner, but I collect automotive literature. So while others might spend money on other hobbies or past times, I spend mine on books. If I were wealthy I would have one of each of the Palawans books (except the Pheasant book), but sadly I don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TLF799R View Post
On the numbers front perhaps I am cyncial enough to assume that they mix the numbers up somewhat?
Takes one to know one eh?

I haven't detected any fiddling with issue numbers. Indeed quite the opposite. They once told me I was the first person to order one of their books when it was announced pre publication. Sure enough, when it arrived some time later my copy was issue No.1. So it seems they allocate book numbers to customers as and when they are ordered. If you think about it, mixing the numbers up could in fact backfire, and it would also make it more complicated to keep track of how many you had left of each book.

Anyway, as the publisher has what must be the largest collection of Bristols in the world, perhaps you will meet him at a BOC function one day and you can ask him!
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  #50 (permalink)  
Old 07-07-09, 06:04 PM
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Default new book

After reading all the material about the new book I have decided to buy a copy (in advance) and look forward to reading it.
Does anyone have a way of contacting the author since I have material about 401s that may be of interest to him for future editions.

Anthony
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  #51 (permalink)  
Old 07-07-09, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley James View Post
Philippa
The problem is that Setright's book has mistakes in it and this de-
values it.
Would you care to list the mistake Ash? (I assume you are talking about A Private Car)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley James View Post
I also think that it is only recently that the earlier cars have started to catch others that qualify for the important Early Post War events. This is crucial to the future of the Bristol name.
Qualification for high profile motoring events should help values of some early Bristols, but how is that "crucial" to the future of the Bristol name?

Kevin
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  #52 (permalink)  
Old 08-07-09, 04:30 PM
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In response to
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley James View Post
The problem is that Setright's book has mistakes in it and this de-
values it.
Ashley
Kevin responds with:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Howard View Post
Would you care to list the mistake Ash? (I assume you are talking about A Private Car)
Kevin
Which, to my mind might just be missing the enormous strengths and weakness of LJKS as a writer. He was a most engaging personality who nattered away with just about anyone he met, this combined with his comprehensive knowledge of the industry (much more technical than most writers on the subject) and his ability to tell a good tale means that his books make a really good read. Now, one cannot hope to write as comprehensively as he did and be in a position to verify every single fact, thus many popularly accepted notions are perpetuated.

From my own experience with one or two specific points I asked him about, he would be happy to research the point further then come back with the full detail or if it was not available, say so and then say whence the only extant information came and how reliable or not he thought it to be.

George
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  #53 (permalink)  
Old 08-10-09, 10:04 PM
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Hi
I have had an email today, from Amazon, saying that there is a delay on this book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by penman View Post
Hi
It is presumably the same book as Amazon UK shows as Bristol A very British story.
They have it at 35 for pre-order due 8 Oct 2009, normal price 50.
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  #54 (permalink)  
Old 08-10-09, 10:40 PM
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Default Bristol: The Inside Story

Amazon.com are quoting the 1st of February 2010 which is a date I
have heard quoted recently
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  #55 (permalink)  
Old 10-10-09, 12:27 AM
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Default A Very British Story

Whilst Haynes is still stating October (and not possible to pre-order). The jacket looks as if it has been retitled as A Very British Story

A very British story
By: Christopher Balfour Christopher Balfour

First manufactured in 1946 and still produced today, Bristol cars have become a uniquely British institution that is celebrated in this comprehensive history, written by a dedicated owner of nearly 50 years' standing. These hand-built cars are owned by car connoisseurs who appreciate their fine engineering, handling, reliability, longevity and everyday practicality, and also savour the driver experience. This lavish book explores the details of the company's complex and fascinating history, and will appeal to all owners, past and present, as well as the many admirers of these cars. .

This book is due to be published in OCTOBER 2009. We regret that it is not possible to pre-order this title but if you would like to be notified when it becomes available please call +44 (0)1963 442030, or e-mail your contact details plus the book details (please put the Book Number in the subject line) to our Customer Services Dept.

Hardback, 280 x 230mm, 320 pages, 64 colour & 300 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 9781844254071
Book No: H4407
50.00
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  #56 (permalink)  
Old 29-10-09, 12:41 PM
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I have just received my copy of this book from Amazon just now! Cant wait to start reading it.....

I have only just flicked through and first impressions are that it is a very substantial, heavy, well produced book, lots of pics I haven't seen before and the writing looks comprehensive. I am by no means an expert on the cars so I am sure the information I glean from this book will substantially add to my knowledge.

Well done Christopher - I can imagine a car company like Bristol is a particularly challenging subject to write about as lots of people seem have lots of different information about different cars, and I hope you are pleased with the result yourself.
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  #57 (permalink)  
Old 02-11-09, 07:15 PM
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Default The Inside Story

Like Jimfoz, I have also received my copy. I think all praise should go to Mr Balfour and everyone concerned with the production of the book. It is very high-quality with plenty of photographs and information. I am delighted, and I hope you will all buy a copy..........AND I do hope the usual types won't start picking holes by pointing out errors in public. There. Got that off my chest !
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  #58 (permalink)  
Old 02-11-09, 08:36 PM
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Default The Inside Story

I got mine yesterday at the Fighter lecture all signed and
everything. It is an excellent book and very detailed.

Christopher was very specific at the lecture in welcoming feedback on
any errors for the next edition. I would have thought that with Toby
Silverton and Tony Crook vetting the book together with Sir George
White and Spencer Lane Jones also substantially reviewing it that it
was as accurate as you can be. There are great pictures and it is a
very readable.

I would recommend it very highly having read three quarters of it
since yesterday. It is also inordinately heavy for some reason.

The fighter lecture was very interesting as well and entertaining to
boot. We got to see the thinking and the process behind the development.

Regards

Paul
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  #59 (permalink)  
Old 03-11-09, 12:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbennetts View Post
I am delighted, and I hope you will all buy a copy..........AND I do hope the usual types won't start picking holes by pointing out errors in public. There. Got that off my chest !
I ordered my copy through Amazon and have yet to see it down here in the colonies.

However, I am intrigued to know the meaning of "the usual types" ?

And why this book should be afforded some sacred status that means it should not be subject to critique?
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  #60 (permalink)  
Old 03-11-09, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Howard View Post
I ordered my copy through Amazon and have yet to see it down here in the colonies.

However, I am intrigued to know the meaning of "the usual types" ?

And why this book should be afforded some sacred status that means it should not be subject to critique?

I am sure there will be critique, especially with the bespoke nature of the cars. However, at least the author is alive this time to offer a response!
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