2 Matching Annotations
  1. Aug 2022
    1. fragments_shored · 1 hr. agoI don't have a specific edition to offer, but you asked "why don't publishers publish more books with scholar's margins?" and the answer is because it's expensive. More white space means more paper and binding material, longer time for the print run, more customization on the press, heavier and therefore more costly to ship. Book publishing operates on a very thin margin so it's not cost-effective, especially when most consumers don't care about the extra margin space and/or aren't willing to absorb the costs in the purchase price.What can consumers do to encourage publishers to change these practices? Be willing to spend the $80 for the scholar's margins instead of expecting to pay the normal $5 to $10.

      The razor thin margins argument only works from the bookseller's perspective, and this is primarily due to excessive competition from Amazon. Beyond this, sure the product would be slightly more expensive, but (pun intended) only marginally so. Revenue margins on classics written before 1924 (which most of this class of books is) are also significantly higher because they're public domain and the company isn't paying royalties on them. Additionally, at scale, a company with a series like Penguin Classics has a pretty solid understanding of print runs and demand to more easily allow them to innovate like this. Take the Penguin Classics copy of Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War which lists for $20 in paperback and sells for $12.00 on Amazon. (You'll notice that Amazon is essentially giving away their entire discount (aka margin, usually a 40% discount on the list price) here. At a 10,000 copy print run, the cost of the print/paper/print run is in the $2.00 per copy range or lower. Amazon is taking a razor margin for the sale, but Penguin is pocketing almost $10 in pure profit as I'm sure their marketing budget is very near zero here.<br /> They could easily still do very close to this with either larger book margins or even the same text printed on 6 x 9" instead of 5 x 8.25 (or even smaller pulp sizes) so they don't have to reset the entire book for pennies on the dollar at the publisher level. Given that the majority of this market is targeted at students, who could directly use these affordances (and often do but in more cramped space) for the small mark up (particularly in comparison to the $80 copies, which still don't fit the bill, when they exist), I would attribute their non-existence to laziness and lack of imagination on the part of the publishers. Perhaps a smaller publishers like Dover might take on such a project as a means of cheaply, but profitably improving their position in the market? Those making the argument for not marking up these sorts of copies to keep the book pristine for the next reader are missing the point. I also suspect that they haven't recently purchased these sorts of used copies that often go for under $4 on the used market. Even when treated well and not heavily annotated by the first reader, these books are not in good shape and really aren't designed to be read by more than three people. It's also the reason that most libraries don't purchase them. I might buy their argument for the more expensive hardcover collector's market, but not for the pulp mass market books which hold almost no value on the secondary market. Additionally the secondary market for this class of books doesn't usually reflect large value differences between heavily annotated/highlighted texts and those that aren't. Whether they mark them up or not, the first owner is responsible for the largest proportion of depreciated value. Tangentially, I find myself lamenting the cultural practices of prior generations who valued sharing annotated copies of texts with friends and lovers as tokens of their friendship and love. I'm guessing those who vitiate against annotation have never known these practices existed.