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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #41 Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:24 am 
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But to say that go books are generally more expensive than other books...how can you determine this?


Go books are relatively expensive compared to novels and even specialist computer literature (content/material/price ratio). They are also expensive compared to most philosophical books I have bought. Even a small print run, small audience book like "The Guodian Laozi -- Proceedings of the International Conference in Dartmouth College" in roughly the same format (and of similar material) as the more expensive go books cost me 13 Euro a couple years back (I find it strangely comparable to Go books).

People have budgets for entertainment and hobbies. The implied complaint was that go books don't sell enough copies and that, in addition, they are pirated. If books were cheaper, more copies would sell, not only of a specific title, but of a larger number of different titles. I'd still spend x Euro per month on go books, but it would go to more authors and more publishers. The same money would feed more mouths, rather than just one. There are also undoubtedly people who would buy books that currently simply can't afford them or are unwilling to pay the prices asked. They will still get the books if they really want, but not necessarily by legal means. Once someone gets used to this (it does violate most people's ethics), they become unlikely to buy any go books in the future. The first time is the hardest.

If you want to sell more go books, you have to increase the size of the market, and one way to do this is by lowering the prices for each book. Right now we have the situation that the number of buyers seems stagnant or even decreasing, but more English titles are published. Where is this going to lead? And most new players who could be potential buyers are likely to be students with very tight budgets and who embrace modern technology because they grew up with it (who are more open to ebooks and familiar with the means of acquisition).

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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #42 Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:28 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Secondly, I did not say preparation of e-books was harder than paper. I specifically said it was preparation of go e-books that was harder. If you have experience of inputting long go texts and diagrams into dynamic e-form and have found that easy, then you will have discovered a holy grail, and quite a few people would like to take a sip from it. We are not talking about cut and paste or Photoshop and Latex here. We are talking about major rewriting of text so that it makes sense with what you see elsewhere on the screen.


I don't understand this. Is it a Kindle specific thing?

Ideally you would not even need to copy-paste text, and there are tools for sgf-to-whatever conversion. And text can stay same, as long as you keep the layout of the original book.

Is there a book you would consider releasing as an e-book, but not doing because you find the conversion too much time consuming? And by e-book I don't mean Kindle exclusively, but any electronic format.

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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #43 Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:23 am 
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@Mivo Are you're buying philosophical classics that enjoy a reputation outside of philosophy? Contemporary works of academic philosophy are typically quite expensive. Why? In part because the market is tiny, just like with go books. Thus, they cannot make up the fixed costs of printing, editing, etc, with volume.

Consider Anscombe's Intention, widely considered a classic of twentieth century philosophy. It's a tiny tiny book and retails for $20. Some monographs in logic can't be had for less than $100, and not because they're big hefty books.

@kivi Reread John's comments. You have a book with diagrams, that's laid out for a certain size page. It is resized for a different sized page on the kindle or other e-book readers. The diagrams often have to be redone or split into pieces, the text may have to be moved.

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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #44 Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:42 am 
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^ As I said, just keep the layout of the original book.

If kindle is not allowing having your own page dimensions and layout, use another format instead.

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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #45 Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:31 am 
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I like Amazon for their MP3 albums (no DRM, lots of smaller artists supported) but will never ever ever buy a Kindle due to the fact that they can take your purchases away at any time (and I find it deliciously ironic that the first book to be removed after purchase from peoples' Kindles was 1984 by George Orwell.)

Plus I prefer that trees suffer for my pleasure (not really, I just like the feel of a book in my hands, as well as its ease of reading in various lighting conditions.)


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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #46 Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:37 am 
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ethanb wrote:
I like Amazon for their MP3 albums (no DRM, lots of smaller artists supported) but will never ever ever buy a Kindle due to the fact that they can take your purchases away at any time (and I find it deliciously ironic that the first book to be removed after purchase from peoples' Kindles was 1984 by George Orwell.)


The only reason they removed 1984 was because the version that was placed on the marketplace had not been authorized by the copyright holder. It was, effectively, a pirated copy that was being profited from. They did refund as well. The biggest and most idiotic blunder was not to notify people up front.

But, actually, you're wrong on this point. Amazon's policy since that fiasco is that they will only notify you that they have removed it from the marketplace and request that you delete it. They will no longer remove anything from your kindle (though obviously if they have removed it from the marketplace, the option to redownload it will no longer be available).

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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #47 Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:57 am 
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mivo: Since you chose to mention my Kamakura as an example, let me stress that my remarks are not about me, but about go publishing in general. Kamakura sold out in one year, which suggests the price was not too unreasonable, and the other books seem to be holding up nicely. I certainly wouldn't expect whatever I say here to have much positive impact on sales, so that is not what I am beefing about. In fact I don't think I'm really beefing about anything. I'm just trying to convey my experience of the go market for the benefit of others.

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It's not so one-sided, unfortunately. Go books are relatively expensive, and the number of English titles seems to increase lately. At the current prices, I wonder if this doesn't mostly "milks" the existing buyer base, collectors more than others, rather than actually increasing the market.


I must admit that when I look at displays of go books nowadays, I too have the feeling that they are on the expensive side and that there are, in a sense, too many (too many similar to each other). But that is a simplistic view, easily shot down in most cases. I also think the accusation of milking is a bit unfair, however. Go players are not trapped in a byre.

First, price. You paid 33 euros but the price from the publisher is about 18 euros. With postage, you could have got it for about 23 euros in about a week (I believe). You can even get a discount in some cases, I think. Maybe 18 euros ($26) is still on the high side, but it's unfair to the author and publisher to imply they may be benefiting from the 33 euro price. Remember also that the baseline is usually the US standard of living.

As to too many books, I think there are too many that cover the same ground, but if one covers different ground, such as Kamakura, comes out, there seems to be healthy demand. I hasten to add that I'm sure that the success of Kamkura has much more to do with the magic name Go Seigen than my input to it, but at least I can claim to have produced a book that is rather different from anything else available, and so the charge of "too many" books does not have to apply in every case.

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If books were cheaper, more copies would sell...
If you want to sell more go books, you have to increase the size of the market, and one way to do this is by lowering the prices for each book.


This is the nub. I think this is cod economics, more suited to the Stammtisch than the business world. It's a bit like the "build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door" example allegedly taught on MBA courses. The reality is that if you built a better mousetrap someone would either steal your idea or report you to the Society for Cruelty to Animals.

Just as proverbs are unreliable in go, proverbs such as "pile it high, sell it cheap" are unreliable in real business. It can work, but only when the market has been properly identified and analysed, and all the necessary resources have been assured. For example, it can work in an area where there is a busy market place with lots of potential customers, where there is no competition, where there is plenty of advertising, etc. None of these patterns apply to go.

When I produced my first book, for Oxford University Press, this was a proper commercial publisher, and I was lucky to be allowed an insight into the business. I was brought into the task of deciding the print runs - how many hard copy, how many paperback. The way the operation was done was to assume 600 hardcopies copies off the bat that would be bought automatically by public libraries. I had to produce a list of newspapers and magazines that would be likely to do a review. The OUP experts then made an assessment, based on experience, of how many extra would sell as a result of each. An assessment was made of possible extra "local boy" sales in my hometown, workplace, etc. There was another special factor in my case. A famous sports announcer, John Arlott (think Harry Caray for a US equivalent) had got wind of my book and had written in, insisting on an early copy. A few copies were added to the print run to allow for his influence. The book was being allocated to a specific salesman who had a good reputation. Extra copies were added for that, and so on.

Compare that to the fate of an English go book. No libraries buy them. No reviews can be assured. There is little experience, especially for a new type of book like Kamakura. Local-boy effect is zero (at least if the publisher is US and I'm UK). We have no celebs to boost sales. We have no specialist salesmen. In addition, we can't even assume much of a local market - books have to be shipped expensively from country to country.

Go books are far from mainstream business practices in other ways. As Adam Smith long ago pointed out, "skill, dexterity and judgement" are by far the best ways of increasing revenue, but there are also trivial ways, and these are often necessary precursor steps before SD&J can kick in. The first is division of labour. As Smith points out, though, not every economic activity is equally susceptible to division of labour. In his prime example, agriculture, dependent on the seasons, is less susceptible than manufacturing.

Go publishing is also not very susceptible. There is some division of labour in that we have an author, maybe a translator, a publisher, a printer and a bookshop. But the author will also probably be his own researcher, typist and proofreader, maybe also layout designer. The publisher typically also has to be his own designer, accountant, warehouseman, packer, shipper and after-sales man. The bookseller typically has to mount extra operations, in the absence of advertsing outlets, to travel to tournaments and to ship books there. With such an onerous business model, it is hardly surprising that on the scale of Adam Smith's "abundance or scantiness" we are at the scanty end of the gamut.

Many minds have already wrestled with the problem of improving the model, which always boils down to how to increase the market. I'd love a pound for every time I've heard the old chestnuts of "get a tsumego problem in the local newspaper" or "hold a stall on freshers' day" or "put a flyer in the local library". We've known for decades that such ideas don't work.

It is now being argued that e-books will change all that. Maybe, but at the moment it sounds just like the predictions of the past that we'd all be going to work on moving pavements by now. Of course, some ideas really do change our lives. No-one can deny that mobile phones have had a major impact. I was astonished the other week, when visiting my grandson's Beaver pack (junior scouts for kids under 7), that the pack leader asked how many of the kids had their own mobile phones and two-thirds put their hands up. When I was six, I don't think I could use even an ordinary phone.

But the number of these great successes is dwarfed by the ideas that either get nowhere or have small impact. On the face of it, e-books seem likely to have only minor impact on the go market. Purely as a thought experiment, imagine that go e-books come along and have just enough impact to kill off the paper books. Assume, plausibly. that rather many of those people who bought paper books declined to switch to buying e-books. Assume, on the basis of experience, that initiatives which are claimed to boost the number of go players never work. It follows that the e-book market will then be rather small. Add to this the propensity of people who live online to assume everything online must be cheap or free. It is then a plausible assumption that authors and publishers will lose interest. The end result is that both the paper market and the e-market die. No more go books.

I don't for a moment think that is likely to happen, but elements of it ring a bell, do they not? Look at the way national go associations are declining, supposedly because of the internet. Not so long ago, it was assumed the internet would boost the number of go players and the national associations would benefit.

Personally, I don't worry about changes in principle. It's evolution. But during a period of change, the impact on an individual or a group can be immense and unsettling. It's often wise to try to manage the change, or to make sure you don't throw baby out with the bath water. My feeling, from being able to recall a time when there was just one book in English and that was in mimeographed form passed from hand to hand, is that English go books still represent a toddler that needs TLC.


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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #48 Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:24 am 
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kivi wrote:
^ As I said, just keep the layout of the original book.

If kindle is not allowing having your own page dimensions and layout, use another format instead.
The Kindle is a physical device and still a decent segment of the ereader market...

The most popular e-reader device is the iPad, but most people use it to read Kindle books. Maybe iBooks is more hospitable.

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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #49 Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:13 pm 
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Monadology wrote:
ethanb wrote:
I like Amazon for their MP3 albums (no DRM, lots of smaller artists supported) but will never ever ever buy a Kindle due to the fact that they can take your purchases away at any time (and I find it deliciously ironic that the first book to be removed after purchase from peoples' Kindles was 1984 by George Orwell.)


The only reason they removed 1984 was because the version that was placed on the marketplace had not been authorized by the copyright holder. It was, effectively, a pirated copy that was being profited from. They did refund as well. The biggest and most idiotic blunder was not to notify people up front.

But, actually, you're wrong on this point. Amazon's policy since that fiasco is that they will only notify you that they have removed it from the marketplace and request that you delete it. They will no longer remove anything from your kindle (though obviously if they have removed it from the marketplace, the option to redownload it will no longer be available).


I'm aware of the reasoning. I didn't say it was unjust or illegal. I said it was deliciously ironic. I have a hard time believing that anyone who has read 1984 wouldn't find a touch of black humor in copies of it going "down the memory hole."

Also, I said they "can" - not they "do," "will," or "make a habit of it." Although you're right - my wording strongly implied it. Sorry about that.

Nothing I've read has led me to believe that the Kindle has magically lost the ability to take commands from Amazon Central. So yeah, they can delete stuff off your Kindle for you. They just noticed that people get oddly emotional about "book burnings" last time they took advantage of it - I absolutely believe that they learned their lesson and they'll only do it again if it's really really important.


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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #50 Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:43 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
This is the nub. I think this is cod economics, more suited to the Stammtisch than the business world.


And yet it is the very business model that numerous successful companies apply. I'm actually unsure how to take your post, and its tone -- particularly the line above. If I were to respond in kind, I'd offer the humble suggestion to leave the ivory tower and take a stroll in today's consumer oriented business world. :) I do work, and have worked, for companies that use this model of increasing the market size by making products more affordable and at the same time gaining a larger piece of the pie, so it's quite far from the uneducated, inexperienced, "know it all better" blathering and theorizing you may find at a Stammtisch and that you likened my views to. It is fruit from the green and golden tree of life.

I'll be candid.

You see, many of your statements on this topic (and in this thread) are about what doesn't work, how the status quo isn't satisfying, how people make suggestions that have been made for years, and so on. Suggestions that haven't been tried (e.g. increasing the market size by making the products more affordable) are ruled out categorically without trying. Perhaps I've been working too long for fairly progressive, American companies, often with genuinely obscure, reckless-seeming people, so that my viewpoint isn't compatible with conservative, hesitant perspectives and approaches, but I can't help to wonder why there is so much circle talk and so little actual action. If you feel the current situation isn't satisfying and doesn't yield the results you would prefer, then do something about it, take some risks, see what happens. Dwelling on why things are the way they are doesn't change them, not if that's where the process stops and if you stay inside the comfort zone.

There is probably not one magic cure-it-all solution. But as long as the people who can bring change are clinging to conservative views, shy away from risks and embrace new technologies and ideas so slowly that they either miss the boat, fail to add to the momentum or bemoan their own demise until it is over them, there will be no progress, no break-through, no sweeping success, no bursting of the tiny candle flame into a waterfall of sparks. All this talk about why e-books may or may not be helpful, how much more work it is to produce them, all the dangers of piracy, etc pp. And why prices are the way they are, why lowering them may not increase the overall profit and increase the market (and how such suggestions are Stammtisch talk). It leads to nothing, as you pointed out yourself. Just do it and see what happens. So what's the worst that can happen? That it flops or blows up in your face? Yes, there is some money to lose. And time. And resources. But not enough to put you in an alley way. And what's the best that can happen?

See, John, I have a great deal of respect for you as a scholar, writer and educated person, and for your contributions that you have made to the "western" go community in these positions. My disagreement is with the business side and the "lethargy" I sense (not from you in particular, but whenever there is discussion about making go more commercially viable in "the west"). I would love to see more proactive and forward-oriented thinking, more innovation, and less clinging to last century approaches. But I do also recognise that it is easy for me to offer these suggestions lightly and advocate what may appear as "radical". My livelihood doesn't depend on this particular market. Here, I'm merely a customer. In my field of work, though, progressive thinking and risk-taking are necessary to succeed, however, and after a couple of decades of exposure to this it probably affected my perspective. Among other things, I've become a "try and see" type of person. But, yes, it's not my food that's on the table. Not on this table.

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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #51 Posted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:50 pm 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
On the face of it, e-books seem likely to have only minor impact on the go market. Purely as a thought experiment, imagine that go e-books come along and have just enough impact to kill off the paper books. Assume, plausibly. that rather many of those people who bought paper books declined to switch to buying e-books. Assume, on the basis of experience, that initiatives which are claimed to boost the number of go players never work. It follows that the e-book market will then be rather small. Add to this the propensity of people who live online to assume everything online must be cheap or free. It is then a plausible assumption that authors and publishers will lose interest. The end result is that both the paper market and the e-market die. No more go books.


Gee, kinda makes me want to go buy up all the other go books I'd like but am not yet ready for. The one's already on my shelf could probably use the company (they certainly aren't getting any attention from me). Personally, if its the only reasonable way something can be read, like Go Review/Worlds for example, I'll cave, but I pretty much loath reading anything longer then articles/essays on computers/devices. :study:

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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #52 Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:45 am 
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John Fairbairn wrote:
Purely as a thought experiment, imagine that go e-books come along and have just enough impact to kill off the paper books. Assume, plausibly. that rather many of those people who bought paper books declined to switch to buying e-books. Assume, on the basis of experience, that initiatives which are claimed to boost the number of go players never work. It follows that the e-book market will then be rather small. Add to this the propensity of people who live online to assume everything online must be cheap or free. It is then a plausible assumption that authors and publishers will lose interest. The end result is that both the paper market and the e-market die. No more go books.


This is rhetorically quite brilliant, so I wanted to comment on it separately. It illustrates the "focus on the negative" that I, without calling it that way, wrote about in my previous response to you. This way of thinking is the very roadblack, the jar the butterfly is trapped in, the lack of oxygen that keeps the flame from flaring.

As a worst case scenario, yes, this is what could happen. But is it a likely scenario? In my opinion, no. Far from it. I'm still without my morning coffee, but allow me to tackle some of your assumptions.

First, I disagree with the belief that "people who live online assume everything online must be cheap or free." I would instead offer this claim: People who live online prefer to get a product or information that they want painlessly and fast, with as little hassle as possible. They are more spontaneous than traditional customers and prone to making a purchase on a whim. They are used to microtransactions and to paying online. Waiting a week, or longer, to receive a product, is a "turn-off" to them, so the traditional system of "ordering and waiting a week or longer" is less appealing to them, as is going to a mortar-and-brick store. They may indeed stop buying paper books altogether because of the effort and the wait required. Further, online go increases in popularity, as does the number of people with internet and computer access, so a good portion of your potential customers already embraces modern technology. (A further point here would be that e-books (have) increase(d) exposure and visibility.)

Second, if "rather many of those people who bought paper books declined to switch to buying e-books", then your first assumption that "e-books come along and [had] just enough impact to kill off the paper books" wouldn't have taken place. Killing off paper books would require e-books to be an earth-shattering success, which requires a very large majority of former buyers of paper books to embrace e-books. The loss of people resistant to this change would likely be off-set by those who did not purchase paper books before but now do purchase e-books, or those who buy more e-books than they did paper books (possibly lower costs, easier/faster methods of acquisition). (Numbers from the PC video games industry offer reason to believe that this is not an unfounded assumption.) This assumption is also based on the belief that go players and buyers of go books are less likely to adopt a new technology than buyers of other-themed books. I see no evidence for this. Go, especially today, is mainly taken up by younger people who grew up with today's modern technology, e-media, and instant access. The internet (a modern medium) plays a significant role in the promotion and "maintenance" of go in today's changing world (traditional forms of socializing also shift toward online, at an increasing pace).

Third, you stated that "on the basis of experience, that initiatives which are claimed to boost the number of go players never work". What experience is this? I've mostly seen circle talk without much action, and at most very small-scale, local initiatives whose value is hard to measure in a global context, so I would only agree that the experience is that people talk a lot, try little, and theorize why something won't work, and that therefore nothing changed. Initiatives need to come from decision makers. Grass roots approaches don't work well here, I feel, not a large scale. But this is what my previous post was chiefly about, so I won't repeat this here in detail. (Applied here: E-books can't succeed if none of your books are offered as e-books.)

The assumptions that the market would be small, writers and publishers would lose interest and that therefore there would eventually be no books at all, are based on the above mentioned assumptions that for the stated reasons I disagree with. Thus, they only follow this one line of argument, but not other lines of reasoning. The picture you painted isn't a plausible or realistic scenario, in my opinion. The evidence that I see in somewhat related markets (PC video games, movies) doesn't seem to support it, either. I believe that it is an early in this particular "evolution", though. I'm not suggesting a 180 degrees turn, either. Or a black/white, all-or-nothing approach where you can only have one or another. What I am suggesting is the embracing of new technologies, the focus on the advantages of the new media, and above all: the willingness and the courage to try things out -- with a positive, welcoming attitude rather than a gloom "won't work anyway".


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Post #53 Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:01 am 
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mivo: I'm sorry you see what I regard as a sensible middle view as negative, but people of my age tend to have seen an awful lot of experiments that haven't worked. At work I several times experienced the cycle of the "no change is no option" mantra as old practices were turfed out wholesale and replaced by IT that never worked properly, and then people eventually went back to the old ways of working, which the bosses suddenly discovered had been there for a reason (and then took credit for re-discovering them!).

It is not always the change per se most people resist (though some do, and can be very vexing) but usually the way it is done. The usual impetus is simply e.g. that some ambitious fast-track management trainee wants to try out the latest theories from US business schools, or a politician wants to look trendy. What is almost always lacking is the careful, prior analysis of the business to see what it realy needs - and the acceptance that it may need nothing new at all.

Using the "pile it high, sell it cheap" type business proverbs can suffer from the same malaise. If you carefully analyse your business in advance and decide that "pile it high" is the best way forward, of course you have good chances of success, and it is no surprise at all that this strategy appears often in real life. But if you start with a fixation on "pile it high" and don't analyse your business, there are good chances you will come a cropper. Saying "if you never try you'll never find out" is likewise just another one of these beguiling proverbs. Try jumping off a cliff to see if you live, if you really believe in that.

I have tried to analyse the current go book market. Analysing the current situation is not the same as arguing for the status quo ante, but you'd have to be a fool entirely to ignore actual bread on the table, as you put it, in the hope of pie in the sky.

Two things I noticed when I was involved in changes at work. One was that the zealots for change used to rant and rave at certain people who they labelled as dinosaurs, Luddites, conservatives, etc just because they did not embrace the latest and almost always electronic change with the same enthusiasm. Yet the zealots never stopped even for a moment to look around them and observe that the very same dinosaurs were using mobile phones, typing on computers, driving to work with a GPS gizmo. Some of the younger ones could even work out the knobs on a remote DVD control!!! These were not people resistant to change. They had in fact embraced it. They were just sensible. Their resistance was a reasoned stance against the unreasonable (and sometimes job-threatening and frightening) zeal of the recent converts.

The other thing I noticed was that the change zealots rarely changed themselves. In other words, they never listened to reason. In their management training they had been brainwashed into expecting resistance and having to steam-roller it. But for their staffs, being lions led by donkeys is not a good business model.

This last aspect is applied often in the go world in a sublimated form (and I'm glad to see you at least are aware of its dangers): the carpers (i.e. self-appointed bosses) who cry why don't you try this, why don't you do that? That's irritating enough in real business, but there is another feature of the go book market that I haven't mentioned here (though I often have elsewhere), and that is that it is run mostly by volunteers, or semi-volunteers - people who want to make enough money to cover costs but are not much concerned with how much over that they make. To tell them to do something another way is a degree more irritating.

What I would respect more (indeed would welcome) is an e-book convert who acts successfully instead of talks. But talk is cheap and I'll hold off on my praise until I see that it works, and in the meantine will urge caution. In view of the recent banking debacle, I'd be specially wary of someone who sells himself as a risk-taker. More, if someone was about to fall off a cliff, I believe I would actively try to save them. If that makes me seem negative, so be it. But if I missed and they flew instead of falling, I'm certain I would be the first to smile in pleasure and wonderment. We grumpy old men are not as grumpy as all that.


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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #54 Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:53 am 
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John, I'm actually not completely sure where we disagree. Or rather, what the degree of the disagreement is. I find merit and truth in much of what you write, and you do have experience in the go book market. I haven't published since the mid 90s (with exception of a few "I need some extra money" articles in 2000), and in a different field. In reading over my responses, I see that I take opposite positions in a number of cases, but I believe what I "actually" object to is the "the status quo isn't satisfying, but it's the best we have" mindset. It is my interpretation, not what you literally wrote, and there is of course room for misunderstanding.

I do believe that new technologies and the internet offer viable ways to make more money with specialist publications than in the traditional market, especially if the target audience has a substantial number of younger, "poorer" (although in many cases their indirect access to parental income is a factor) and technology-embracing folk, but not immediately and not without pitfalls and risks. I understand the desire to "play it safe", and I understand there may not always be the opportunity (time, resources, energy) to undertake a fundamentally different approach. Still, I feel that there isn't much "practical willingness" (lack of a better word) to work toward exploring the potential, beyond theoretical analysis. (In general, not aimed at you, and obviously only from an outsider's perspective.) A sense of "wait and see", with possibly too many people who can trigger, foster and nurture change doing just that: wait and see.

I don't know if there is urgency to improve the situation, or if it's stable on a mediocre level. You'd know more about this. To follow your analogy, I don't know if there is a hungry lion behind the man who is standing at the edge of the cliff. If the choice is between getting eaten by the big kitty on his average and slowly drying out land, or taking the chance to make a successful leap over the abyss onto the fertile farmer's paradise where the fruits grow twice as large, I hope he'd jump rather than trying to struggle with the feline in the hope to be able to last a few more dire hours.

There is the "the sparrow in the hand is better than the dove on the roof" aspect that does need consideration and that I briefly touched before, though I could argue that long-term benefits outweigh short-time comfort (which, in the proper dose, I believe to have merit). But it makes it sound very easy, and anyone who has had to put the food on their own table for any length of time realises that it isn't quite as simple.

Perhaps I tackle this discussion from the wrong end. There is the other end: increasing the number of people who actively play go, the number of potential customers. My focus so far was on how to maximize business from people who already play go. But that's probably a more mainstream topic and inevitably leads us back to tsumego in newspapers. ;) (Do note the smiley!) But they are not really ends anyway.

There, now that I had a coffee and a game of go, I'm much more agreeable!


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 Post subject: Re: Catching Scent of Victory by O Rissei
Post #55 Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 7:33 am 
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ethanb wrote:
I'm aware of the reasoning. I didn't say it was unjust or illegal. I said it was deliciously ironic. I have a hard time believing that anyone who has read 1984 wouldn't find a touch of black humor in copies of it going "down the memory hole."


I never disputed that :)

Quote:
Also, I said they "can" - not they "do," "will," or "make a habit of it." Although you're right - my wording strongly implied it. Sorry about that.

Nothing I've read has led me to believe that the Kindle has magically lost the ability to take commands from Amazon Central. So yeah, they can delete stuff off your Kindle for you. They just noticed that people get oddly emotional about "book burnings" last time they took advantage of it - I absolutely believe that they learned their lesson and they'll only do it again if it's really really important.


Fair enough. Though I wouldn't call it a book-burning. It's not really even close.

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Post #56 Posted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:39 am 
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Monadology wrote:
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Also, I said they "can" - not they "do," "will," or "make a habit of it." Although you're right - my wording strongly implied it. Sorry about that.

Nothing I've read has led me to believe that the Kindle has magically lost the ability to take commands from Amazon Central. So yeah, they can delete stuff off your Kindle for you. They just noticed that people get oddly emotional about "book burnings" last time they took advantage of it - I absolutely believe that they learned their lesson and they'll only do it again if it's really really important.


Fair enough. Though I wouldn't call it a book-burning. It's not really even close.


When new technologies produce goods over which property rights, contractual obligations, and reasonable expectations are poorly defined and yet more poorly understood (have you read a EULA recently?), people find it difficult to determine the difference between "he's only following the rules" and "he's taking advantage of me." Is remotely deleting files off a Kindle closer to a book burning or to a recall of bad cheese? We're only figuring that out as we use the new technology and lash out against perceived skulduggery.

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Post #57 Posted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:09 am 
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John and Mivo, I kind of agree with both of you. Mivo, I think you underestimate John's experience at the business end of books a bit, but I also think you have a good point - My favourite Henry Ford quote is "Those who believe they can, and those who believe they can't, are both right."

However, I haven't seen any good suggestions yet on the market itself. At the moment, the Go book market is a pretty nichey end of niche. What do you propose to do to change that? Ideas like mobile phones are revolutionary because everyone in the world can benefit from them - even in their original model before video-conferencing, music playing and internet browsing. Go books 99.99% of the population don't care about. How do we change that?

EDIT: PS I want to thank you both as well for some of the most interesting reading on L19. As none of this conversation is on the book in question, could I propose moving the material to a new thread that's about e-books / future of Go publishing / something else that seems a suitably agreeable title? A) So this thread can be about O Rissei's book, and B) So people can actually see what's in this thread and contribute should they wish to. It's not clear what this thread is currently discussing at the moment.


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