A Brief Word

| November/December 1991

Every so often we come across something that seems absolutely appropriate for the column. You folks may or may not agree, but the following is from a little placard we dreamed up just for the shows. It is displayed somewhere near our engines:

We're not sure how effective this foolishness is in actually keeping sightseers and inquisitives from sticking their hands where they don't belong, but perhaps by stating the case with a bit of humor, the message can be made. While we hope everybody doesn't run out and print up this silliness, perhaps the idea might serve as a warning to those who don't know any better, and a reminder to those who do!

Ye olde Reflector has really been catching it due to the pricing structure for our latest book, 150 Years of J. I. Case. Dozens of phone calls and letters have come in, asking why the same book carries three different prices, all in the same issue of GEM! Here's how it works...a publisher sets a retail price based on the production cost. Since most publishers wholesale their books to various dealers, the pricing structure has to be built around something, and ultimately, that original retail figure is the basis. Now, if someone chooses to buy a quantity of books, that is to say, any books from any publisher, that buyer has the right to set whatever price they want. In other words, if a quantity of books is purchased at $20 a copy, and the dealer chooses to sell them for $5 bucks apiece, for an instant $15 per book loss, that's their business. One should bear in mind that the book business is no get-rich-quick scheme, and we've been at it for nearly 30 years now. Presently, a copy of American Gas Engines costs $2.77 just for postage. Then there is another 75 to 85 cents for the mailing carton, the invoice form costs about 10 cents, and the printed shipping label is about 12 cents. Then there is the cost of advertising, and without it, how would one go about promoting a book? Add to this the so-called hidden costs of overhead, and that means electricity, heat, phone bills, and all the other things tied to running any kind of business. So, we are content to maintain the status quo. We don't establish the retail price on any books whether they come from Crestline Publishing, Motor books, or Stemgas Publishing. That's all based on what it costs to produce the book.

We are reluctant to even mention this issue, since just as sure as the sun shines, there'll be further comments. However, we felt compelled to explain our own position, as well as that of various publishers for whom we have worked, and for that matter, any publisher we ever heard of. Thus, we trust that this will be the end of the matter.

Ye olde Reflector is happy to report that we have had some very nice phone calls regarding our new 150 Years of). J .I Case book from as far away as England, New Zealand, Australia, and Brazil. Likewise, we have had some very nice letters from many of our 'continental' folks.

We understand that Mr. Art Brigham of the J. I. Case Heritage Foundation is having some sudden and serious health problems, and we hope all goes well.