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 Post subject: Re: ABCs of Attack and Defense (Beta copies)
Post #21 Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:18 pm 
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Bantari wrote:
I really don't get this whole discussion. S&S is not a charity, its a business. If they think they can sell the inventory they have for $X a piece, that's the price they list it at. If they are mistaken, they will be forced to lower the price eventually. So people can buy it at that price, gamble the price will get lowered before the stock runs out, or buy it somewhere else.

And it has nothing to do with rarity (well, maybe a little) or reprintability (well, maybe a little) or anything else (well, maybe a little) - the bottom line is how much do they think people are willing to pay for the book. And apparently they think people are willing to pay that much. I assume they did some kind of math and maybe even some market research, and now they do what they think is best for them.

That's how you run a business.
To expect anything else would be... uncivilized. ;)

"Those who enter to buy, support me. Those who come to flatter, please me. Those who complain, teach me how I may please others so that more will come. Only those hurt me who are displeased but do not complain. They refuse me permission to correct my errors and thus improve my service."
- Marshall Field, American department store founder

"There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else."
- Sam Walton

To expect anything else would be... naive. :blackeye:

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 Post subject: Re: ABCs of Attack and Defense (Beta copies)
Post #22 Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:32 pm 
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ez4u wrote:
Bantari wrote:
I really don't get this whole discussion. S&S is not a charity, its a business. If they think they can sell the inventory they have for $X a piece, that's the price they list it at. If they are mistaken, they will be forced to lower the price eventually. So people can buy it at that price, gamble the price will get lowered before the stock runs out, or buy it somewhere else.

And it has nothing to do with rarity (well, maybe a little) or reprintability (well, maybe a little) or anything else (well, maybe a little) - the bottom line is how much do they think people are willing to pay for the book. And apparently they think people are willing to pay that much. I assume they did some kind of math and maybe even some market research, and now they do what they think is best for them.

That's how you run a business.
To expect anything else would be... uncivilized. ;)

"Those who enter to buy, support me. Those who come to flatter, please me. Those who complain, teach me how I may please others so that more will come. Only those hurt me who are displeased but do not complain. They refuse me permission to correct my errors and thus improve my service."
- Marshall Field, American department store founder


S&S is not there to please you.
They are there to make money for their owner.

Quote:
"There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else."
- Sam Walton

To expect anything else would be... naive. :blackeye:


Heh...
Customer is the boss, this is true.
So if the customer doesn't buy the book, S&S will lower the price, as I have said.
Or the customer can go somewhere else - as we have both indicated.

But... if two people complain, and 100 rush to pay the 'inflated' price until there is no more inventory - the quote you cite does not work.

The bottom line is - does the book sell for that price?
If it does, the few complains are meaningless. If it does not, they are meaningless too, except maybe providing a clue as to *why* the book does not sell. But the deciding factor is, as always - does the book sell?

There will always be a few who want it for less... and there will always be a few willing to pay more.
Once you know the break-even point, you can make profit. Or, in this case - S&S can make profit.

Now lets see if they miscalculated or not. If they sell out - they were right. If they lower the price - they might have been wrong, but they still make profit from the few books that did sell high. So - from business perspective, in such cases, if you are willing to be flexible, offering it at 'inflated' price makes good sense.

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 Post subject: Re: ABCs of Attack and Defense (Beta copies)
Post #23 Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:34 pm 
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ez4u wrote:
"There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else."
- Sam Walton


True, unless there's no other places left to shop…

:-?


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 Post subject: Re: ABCs of Attack and Defense (Beta copies)
Post #24 Posted: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:45 pm 
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Yet if they aren't buying, clearly they aren't a (or should i say "the") customer. We can all speculate that the latest Lamborghini or the latest iPhone is overpriced, yet there is an obvious market for these things and sales are made.

We should also bare in mind that not all customer complaints are valuable and in the scope of this topic it was originally deemed that the product wasn't worthy of a reprint. This information has been corrected and will hopefully bring with it more clarity for producing any further opinions.

My well wishes go out to all Go book distributors - even though i have had a disagreement with one. These guys are not making large sums of money no matter how you want to slice it and i do respect what they are doing.

Edit: My post was a little slow and a few have been made since i hit reply :)

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Post #25 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:06 am 
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I have just finished my next Go Seigen ten-game match book (the one against Karigane). Since this is for SmartGo I have forked out over £1,000 for a MacPro Book and several hundred pounds for an iPad, so that I can create and then view the book myself. Learning to think like an Apple person (like where the hell is the hash key) has been a trying and long process. Learning the SmartGo format, using a beta program with a changing spec written for a computer buff, has likewise been a trying process. I have already been through the similar grind of learning the Kindle format. Writing the book has been trivial, in comparison: collecting, reading and translating countless books and magazines, devising a text, creating several hundred magazines (in programs replete with bugs and limitations), proofreading, and so on ad infinitum. That's just my involvement. For just this book, I've had T Mark doing proofreading, a daughter doing artwork and poor Anders Kierulf answering countless questions, and still rewriting his program to accommodate the way I want to stretch it. Even then all is not finished, as we have to go through a final production process involving more people and more checks. This has been a very similar process to all my previous books, though each medium requires a different input. Bill Cobb of Slate & Shell, for example, created and laid out all the diagrams - try it yourself and count the hours, the hours, the hours - but has also had to add dealing with printers, warehouse dealers, copyright holders, pirates, whining customers and amateur businessmen who think they can do better, and so on.

Bill, like me, too on the burden of learning the SmartGo format ("very steep learning curve" was his comment) and doing the long and tedious work of conversion. The same sort of comments apply, of course, to all other people involved in go publishing. imabuddha, who has just posted here, can confirm how much work is involved.

The point of all this?

1. To make it obvious that no-one puts this sort of investment and time into a niche market like go as a true business venture. It is a hobby rather than a business. Most of us are satisfied with either our money back - forget the time - or just enough money to convince a spouse we are not wasting the kids' inheritance. Often the money is symbolic - that what we are doing is worthwhile. Some do like a bit of profit, but usually just to re-invest in go. In all cases it is (I repeat) really just a hobby, not a business. In nearly every case the people who are involved in western go publishing are retired people giving something back to the game. Those who are not retired usually have full-time jobs elsewhere, but also want to give something back to the game.

2. What follows from this is that the customer is NOT king. The customer is meant to be a go friend who understand what is being done on his behalf. And friends should act like friends, being supportive where possible, being tactful when disagreeing. And if the customer doesn't like what I do, the whole point of a hobby is that I don't have to care.

One carton of S&S books usually contains about a ten or twelve copies, I believe. Take off printing, warehousing and other costs, S&S may make $60-100 dollars at most. Do you begrudge your friends a few cups of coffee? Or, more likely, plugging a loss made on other books when so-called friends ran off with the internet slut.

If you have no friendly inclinations, and are simply a hard-nosed buyer, you will have not spent but invested $35 in a collector's item which gives you a chance of making $60-100 for yourself some day.

I too have a bad taste in my mouth, but not about S&S.


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 Post subject: Re: ABCs of Attack and Defense (Beta copies)
Post #26 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:01 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
I have just finished my next Go Seigen ten-game match book (the one against Karigane). Since this is for SmartGo I have forked out over £1,000 for a MacPro Book and several hundred pounds for an iPad, so that I can create and then view the book myself. Learning to think like an Apple person (like where the hell is the hash key) has been a trying and long process. Learning the SmartGo format, using a beta program with a changing spec written for a computer buff, has likewise been a trying process. I have already been through the similar grind of learning the Kindle format. Writing the book has been trivial, in comparison: collecting, reading and translating countless books and magazines, devising a text, creating several hundred magazines (in programs replete with bugs and limitations), proofreading, and so on ad infinitum. That's just my involvement. For just this book, I've had T Mark doing proofreading, a daughter doing artwork and poor Anders Kierulf answering countless questions, and still rewriting his program to accommodate the way I want to stretch it. Even then all is not finished, as we have to go through a final production process involving more people and more checks. This has been a very similar process to all my previous books, though each medium requires a different input. Bill Cobb of Slate & Shell, for example, created and laid out all the diagrams - try it yourself and count the hours, the hours, the hours - but has also had to add dealing with printers, warehouse dealers, copyright holders, pirates, whining customers and amateur businessmen who think they can do better, and so on.

Bill, like me, too on the burden of learning the SmartGo format ("very steep learning curve" was his comment) and doing the long and tedious work of conversion. The same sort of comments apply, of course, to all other people involved in go publishing. imabuddha, who has just posted here, can confirm how much work is involved.

The point of all this?

1. To make it obvious that no-one puts this sort of investment and time into a niche market like go as a true business venture. It is a hobby rather than a business. Most of us are satisfied with either our money back - forget the time - or just enough money to convince a spouse we are not wasting the kids' inheritance. Often the money is symbolic - that what we are doing is worthwhile. Some do like a bit of profit, but usually just to re-invest in go. In all cases it is (I repeat) really just a hobby, not a business. In nearly every case the people who are involved in western go publishing are retired people giving something back to the game. Those who are not retired usually have full-time jobs elsewhere, but also want to give something back to the game.

2. What follows from this is that the customer is NOT king. The customer is meant to be a go friend who understand what is being done on his behalf. And friends should act like friends, being supportive where possible, being tactful when disagreeing. And if the customer doesn't like what I do, the whole point of a hobby is that I don't have to care.

One carton of S&S books usually contains about a ten or twelve copies, I believe. Take off printing, warehousing and other costs, S&S may make $60-100 dollars at most. Do you begrudge your friends a few cups of coffee? Or, more likely, plugging a loss made on other books when so-called friends ran off with the internet slut.

If you have no friendly inclinations, and are simply a hard-nosed buyer, you will have not spent but invested $35 in a collector's item which gives you a chance of making $60-100 for yourself some day.

I too have a bad taste in my mouth, but not about S&S.


What's your issue? That people are saying the books aren't worth $35 and that these are overpriced? Because really, friend, customer or hard nosed cynical hawk, that is something anyone is entitled to hold as their opinion rightly or wrongly. Or are we hard-nosed buyers simply because we don't agree with the pricing of something? That's not very reasonable.

Also, from a business point of view, most of the costs you're talking about are already sunk, these were warehoused unintentionally and presumably did not prevent the warehousing of other stock (which is the only cost that matters) and the printing costs were long written off, the marginal cost is the advertising bandwidth on the site and the writing of the webpage copy (minimal) and handling for postage and packing (given the small volume quite high per unit but such is life in go commerce). It's a matter of perspective whether you include the cost of the previous printing or warehousing but really I don't see why you would since you'd have paid for them regardless of whether the box had been found or not.

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 Post subject: Re: ABCs of Attack and Defense (Beta copies)
Post #27 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:13 am 
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Bhoidre, look at your comments again and you will see that you are talking in business terms. Look at my comments again and you will see that I am saying that most of the people involved doing the actual work (as opposked to just mouthing off on a forum) are operating a hobby, not a real business, with not much more in view than providing a service to people like you.

Of course everyone is free to decide for themselves if they want to pay x pounds, and it is perfectly reasonable to decide not to buy. What is objectionable is to decide that you personall would rather not buy, and then to go online and publically slag off a go-community partner that has given you plenty of service in the past and is doing you personally no disservice now. It is gratuitous. It is offensive.

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Post #28 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:10 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Bhoidre, look at your comments again and you will see that you are talking in business terms. Look at my comments again and you will see that I am saying that most of the people involved doing the actual work (as opposked to just mouthing off on a forum) are operating a hobby, not a real business, with not much more in view than providing a service to people like you.

Of course everyone is free to decide for themselves if they want to pay x pounds, and it is perfectly reasonable to decide not to buy. What is objectionable is to decide that you personall would rather not buy, and then to go online and publically slag off a go-community partner that has given you plenty of service in the past and is doing you personally no disservice now. It is gratuitous. It is offensive.


Sorry John, I cannot agree that running a for-profit company is not a business and can't be analysed as such (I've absolutely no problem with people doing this in go by the way). Not that one can't run a business as a hobby, but a business it remains.

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Post #29 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:05 am 
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It is the slagging off that is neither necessary nor useful.

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Post #30 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:14 am 
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Boidhre wrote:
John Fairbairn wrote:
Bhoidre, look at your comments again and you will see that you are talking in business terms. Look at my comments again and you will see that I am saying that most of the people involved doing the actual work (as opposked to just mouthing off on a forum) are operating a hobby, not a real business, with not much more in view than providing a service to people like you.

Of course everyone is free to decide for themselves if they want to pay x pounds, and it is perfectly reasonable to decide not to buy. What is objectionable is to decide that you personall would rather not buy, and then to go online and publically slag off a go-community partner that has given you plenty of service in the past and is doing you personally no disservice now. It is gratuitous. It is offensive.


Sorry John, I cannot agree that running a for-profit company is not a business and can't be analysed as such (I've absolutely no problem with people doing this in go by the way). Not that one can't run a business as a hobby, but a business it remains.


Well, if you see it as a business, then what I wrote should apply.
It makes sense for them to sell it for $35 for now, from a business perspective, I assume. Maybe they will lower the price, maybe not, we will see.

But trying to argue that they are a business and *therefore* they should lower the price is simply wrong, imho.

And sure - people can complain. But the most forceful complain they can make is - don't buy the book, period.
And sure - people can have an opinion that the book is overpriced. And voice it too. But whining about it is bad taste.
Its all just opinions, and we have to see if they are even shared by many people.

PS>
About the 'customer is the king' quote - this is just a marketing gimmick to get you in the door. Just like 'our cows are happy cows' and all that.
The king in reality is the bottom line. Sometimes the customer needs to be greased up so he can be squeezed more thoroughly. And sometimes the bottom line profits from actually making the customer happy. But - from a business perspective - if more profit is to be made by hurting the customer - the customer will get hurt, no question about it. Such decisions are not easy, but they are made every day in business world.

People who view their businesses as a hobby are usually *much* nicer than that, though. It should be appreciated and understood.

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Post #31 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 10:44 am 
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For those who don't really know what this book is about. Try the reviews here and here.
And the original price was $22
Source: webarchive

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Post #32 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:09 am 
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Firstly let me say that upon realising that S&S do not hold the liscence to re-print the book I am now completely fine with what they're doing and think it actually sounds like quite a good deal
John Fairbairn wrote:
no-one puts this sort of investment and time into a niche market like go as a true business venture. In nearly every case the people who are involved in western go publishing are retired people giving something back to the game. Those who are not retired usually have full-time jobs elsewhere, but also want to give something back to the game.


[A general point not at all intended as a comment on slate and shell]

Shady business practices are shady business practices regardless of who's involved. If an actual friend tries to swindle me you can be damn sure I'll call them out on it, so why should I hold back on kindly strangers?

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Post #33 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:43 am 
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Edit: just to reiterate: upon realising that S&S do not hold the liscence to re-print the book I am now completely fine with what they're doing and think it actually sounds like quite a good deal
lemmata wrote:
Splatted wrote:
They're the ones saying this book isn't worth a reprint and yet they charge a jacked up price for it...

Just because a book isn't worth a reprint doesn't mean that the price is jacked up. There are fixed costs associated with making a reprint order. I find the attribution of price-gouging intent to Slate and Shell disturbing.


That was some pretty selective quoting. I acknowledged that reprinting may not be viable:

Splatted wrote:
I can see that it might be a situation where not enough people want the book to justify a reprint


And also acknowledged that what they were doing was basically standard business practice.

Splatted wrote:
if any business thinks their product will sell well at a certain price it's a very optimistic person that expects them to sell for less.


But the reason I described their pricing as jacked up is because they have jacked up the price. They're selling an incomplete version of the book for significantly more than the full version retailed for, which is reasonable given that the demand outweighs their supply, but whichever way you look at it those are still jacked up prices.

P.s.

lemmata wrote:
If Slate and Shell can sell their entire inventory at $35, then is someone who is willing to pay only $5 for the book more deserving of the limited quantity than someone who is willing to pay $35?


Are you implying that being willing to pay more means someone is more deserving? Because peoples' economic situations vary so much that that's just nonsensical.

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Post #34 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:53 pm 
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Bantari wrote:
Well, if you see it as a business, then what I wrote should apply.
It makes sense for them to sell it for $35 for now, from a business perspective, I assume. Maybe they will lower the price, maybe not, we will see.


Should apply? No. Could apply? Yes. There are many ways to skin a cat and many ways to sell products and pricing approaches. I agree, the customer is king phrase really isn't a thing in my country, so it doesn't hold any water for me.

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Post #35 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:05 pm 
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Boidhre wrote:
Bantari wrote:
Well, if you see it as a business, then what I wrote should apply.
It makes sense for them to sell it for $35 for now, from a business perspective, I assume. Maybe they will lower the price, maybe not, we will see.


Should apply? No. Could apply? Yes.


The gist of what I wrote was: if they think it makes the most sense for them from business perspective, then they *should* do it.

Its how businesses are run. Which does not mean that this is how it always works out, but I don't think you can really take exception with the word *should* here. Businesses do what's good for businesses, as they *should*. They also *could* be nice to customers, of course, and lower their prices or even give things for free - this is another story for another thread. But first of all - they *should* do what's good for them, so they can stay in business.

Or - at least - this is my opinion. YMMD.

Quote:
There are many ways to skin a cat and many ways to sell products and pricing approaches. I agree, the customer is king phrase really isn't a thing in my country, so it doesn't hold any water for me.

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Post #36 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:07 pm 
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My issue is this mainly. I used the term "price gouging" because, well, increasing the price dramatically when supply is short and demand is high is price gouging. There are more polite terms and more clinical business terms and I'd be lying if I said my company had never engaged in it, but we're adults I hope and such terms are pretty normal when the writer wants to cast the action more as anti-consumer than sharp business practice.

Go books are already expensive. $22 is a lot for a pretty short piece of work. Personally I compare them to chess books since these are also low volume books that require a lot of effort and a high degree of expertise to write, and the prices are reasonable in this regard. But $35 is getting into collector territory in terms of prices for a slim paperback (though it is far from expensive for a collector). This wouldn't bother me if it was a games collection or a fine treatise by a master or whatever. This isn't that though, it's a beginner book to use the broad sense or a weaker kyu player book to be more precise. This is a book that should be in the hands of keenly interested 10 kyu players, precisely the people we shouldn't be increasing prices on (and thus discouraging from the game). Books aimed at this level and weaker need to be as accessible as possible if the hobby is to grow. Increasing prices on a book that's considered one of the better introductions to the topic for these players really rubs me the wrong way.


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Post #37 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:13 pm 
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Bantari wrote:
Boidhre wrote:
Bantari wrote:
Well, if you see it as a business, then what I wrote should apply.
It makes sense for them to sell it for $35 for now, from a business perspective, I assume. Maybe they will lower the price, maybe not, we will see.


Should apply? No. Could apply? Yes.


The gist of what I wrote was: if they think it makes the most sense for them from business perspective, then they *should* do it.

Its how businesses are run. Which does not mean that this is how it always works out, but I don't think you can really take exception with the word *should* here. Businesses do what's good for businesses, as they *should*. They also *could* be nice to customers, of course, and lower their prices or even give things for free - this is another story for another thread. But first of all - they *should* do what's good for them, so they can stay in business.

Or - at least - this is my opinion. YMMD.


That logic works when you don't expect to have a long sales relationship with a customer. So it works well with an Amazon 3rd party seller selling an out-of-print book. It doesn't work so well when you want this person buying from you to keep coming back to you when they want something similar. In such cases you don't maximise short term prices but aim for something that maximises long term income from this customer. This is why in business-to-business sales you tend to see a lot of discounting and long term sale agreements that save the customer money, and why you also can see it in more niche brick and mortar stores sometimes when a savvy owner knocks money off the prices for people who are good customers who they want to keep.

Note by the way that I never said S&S were wrong from a business perspective, merely that I disagree with what they're doing.

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Post #38 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:22 pm 
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Boidhre wrote:
My issue is this mainly. I used the term "price gouging" because, well, increasing the price dramatically when supply is short and demand is high is price gouging. There are more polite terms and more clinical business terms and I'd be lying if I said my company had never engaged in it, but we're adults I hope and such terms are pretty normal when the writer wants to cast the action more as anti-consumer than sharp business practice.

Go books are already expensive. $22 is a lot for a pretty short piece of work. Personally I compare them to chess books since these are also low volume books that require a lot of effort and a high degree of expertise to write, and the prices are reasonable in this regard. But $35 is getting into collector territory in terms of prices for a slim paperback (though it is far from expensive for a collector). This wouldn't bother me if it was a games collection or a fine treatise by a master or whatever. This isn't that though, it's a beginner book to use the broad sense or a weaker kyu player book to be more precise. This is a book that should be in the hands of keenly interested 10 kyu players, precisely the people we shouldn't be increasing prices on (and this discouraging from the game). Books aimed at this level and weaker need to be as accessible as possible if the hobby is to grow. Increasing prices on a book that's considered one of the better introductions to the topic for these players really rubs me the wrong way.


Price gouging is a good term, but I usually apply it to necessary goods, not to luxury good. If they drastically increase the price of food after hurricane destroyed your village, this is despicable. If they price a Ferrari the way they do - you still can get a Ford for cheaper. Go books to me are in the same category - nobody really *needs* a specific go book like they need food, and you can usually get similar info for cheaper or for free... its a luxury item, and if you want it you have to pay. Price gauging is a very simplistic definition with negative connotations which not always apply.

Having said the above, it does not need to be price gauging in this case. Many reasons can be true: low quality might mean higher markup to break even. Or higher storage costs. Or maybe they had to pay more to print/acquire it. I really have no clue (do you?), but there can be many other solutions than "they are just greedy."

And even then - the fact that you have to pay more for rare items is acceptable in each field, I think. This is not really price gauging in the negative sense you mean it.

PS>
Again - really don't see what the issue is here, other than the need to incessantly complain about *something*.
If the book is not worth the money to *you*, don't buy it. Simple. It might be worth the money to somebody else, and so *they* will buy it - and more power to them. If it is not worth the money to *nobody* - the price will have to be dropped eventually and everybody other than the seller will benefit.

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 Post subject: Re: ABCs of Attack and Defense (Beta copies)
Post #39 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:24 pm 
Honinbo

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John Fairbairn wrote:
...
2. What follows from this is that the customer is NOT king. The customer is meant to be a go friend who understand what is being done on his behalf. And friends should act like friends, being supportive where possible, being tactful when disagreeing. And if the customer doesn't like what I do, the whole point of a hobby is that I don't have to care.


Likewise, customers don't have to care. You don't care if customers don't like what you do? That's fine. Don't make books, then. You want to keep doing it? That's fine, too.

John Fairbairn wrote:
What is objectionable is to decide that you personall would rather not buy, and then to go online and publically slag off a go-community partner that has given you plenty of service in the past and is doing you personally no disservice now. It is gratuitous. It is offensive.


If you find feedback on your work offensive, you have options:
1.) Learn and adjust from the feedback.
2.) Ignore the feedback.
3.) Stop doing the "service".
...

There's no obligation that customers have to put you on a pedestal and worship what you've done. What constitutes "service" is subject to opinion. Maybe to "publically slag off" your customers is offensive. It's a two-way street.

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 Post subject: Re: ABCs of Attack and Defense (Beta copies)
Post #40 Posted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:28 pm 
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Boidhre wrote:
That logic works when you don't expect to have a long sales relationship with a customer.


I disagree. Its not like they do it pretty much across the board for all their books.
I don't think they will really lose customers over one book which is more expensive when everything else they sell is priced at lower levels.

You go to a cheap bookstore... will you stop buying there when you find they offer one book at a price you disagree with?!?

Its really not about relationship... unless this one item will become such a huge deal and gets blown out of proportions so much by a few people that they will get blackmailed to lower the price just to avoid bad rep. But then - because of what John said - they might also decide to pack their bags and go play in a different sandbox at that point. Small chance, but who knows... I have seen things like that happen before.

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