Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Is it me or ...

The other day I had a most pleasant email telling me a book I had expressed interest in was published.It was going to cost £65. I politely replied thanking them but saying I no longer wished to acquire the said book.
Is it me or are book prices sometimes astronomical? A publisher named after a 16th/17th century firearm produces wonderful books and I have happily bought from them for more years than I care to mention.However some of their thinnish recent hardbacks retail for ,what appears to me , a lot of money.Recent sets of glossy rules go for prices I cannot believe.A case of show over substance I fear often.
I do not consider myself mean but ...
Your comments are welcome as ever.


  1. Tradgardmastare,

    I am finding the same thing ... and I have become far more reluctant to buy a book that I feel is overpriced. I will buy expensive books IF I THINK THAT I WILL GET THAT VALUE BACK IN ENJOYMENT AND USE. (Sorry about the use of capital letters but I hope that at least one publisher reads your blog and gets the idea!)

    Wargames rules do seem to be at the forefront of the 'rush to get your cash'. The problem is that the majority of wargamers have come to 'expect' lots of photos, diagrams glossy paper etc. I think that this is a result of the changes that have overtaken the wargaming 'glossies', where 'look' and 'product placement' often seem to be more important than content. (I do except Miniature Wargames from this, especially since Henry Hyde took over; it's content is far more literary than its main competitor.)

    I was recently asked why I gave my wargames rules away and did not try to sell them. My reply was that if I sold them, people would expect things like photos and army lists to be included therein, and I was not prepared to go down that road.

    In conclusion, I don't think that you are mean, just careful and considered ... and that is something completely different!

    All the best,

    Bob (the GOM!)

  2. I too find myself thinking twice about buying books and rules nowadays - and don't get me going about the price of paperback books - something I would once buy ,read and pass on ! - I find myself haunting second hand bookshops now . Tony

  3. I still buy books which I think I will get good value from so expensive books are considered. My overall annual book budget is limited though!

    I have an excellent source of cheap reading. I recently discovered a large box of paperbacks, mostly science fiction which have been in the loft for twenty or thirty years. I'm sure that many of them will be quite readable.

  4. I rarely buy books - they are very expensive here in Australia. Cheaper elsewhere, of course, but then you hit exchange rates and postage ...

  5. I rarely buy books - they are very expensive here in Australia. Cheaper elsewhere, of course, but then you hit exchange rates and postage ...

  6. I must admit, I don't buy many books now. I've been forbidden any more bookcases in the house!! I did buy 'Black Powder' last year, mainly because most of my sets of rules go back years. I needn't have bothered though, as not a lot new was covered. Nice pictures though. I get most of my books through inter library loans these days. Marvellous service, especially if your prepared to wait.

  7. Glossy tomes are of expensive to produce - and can be a delight to own; however are they are as useful as the old uniform guides we used to buy and which I still use. Full of scholarly information produced to share their knowledge with like minded individuals in the cheapest format available. (In the spirit of Mr Cordery's free rules).

    Similarly do the expensive rule sets produced today give as good a game as the cheap ones we used to buy such as DBA?

    And whilst I'm ranting - the same with figures. For a couple of quid we can buy a 28mm beautifully sculpted work of art. But my painting is not up to the standard of the figure and neither can I afford an army of them. (Presumably hence the current popularity of skirmish rules).

    cheers, Martin

  8. I agree, books are getting more expensive. There have been several times I would have liked a book or set of rules only to be put off by the cost. I would like to see more titles in eformat, as they are generally cheaper.

  9. The small Wargame market doesn't allow for long print runs of books, thus the short print runs lead to a higher unit cost per book. The book that you are referring to has a print run of only 500, whereas a mainstream fiction book will print 100,000 copies or more. It is simple math. I think that we are fortunate that people are willing to do short print runs of Wargame topics.

  10. Good points all around. I will buy books at various prices, based on whether or not I think or know I will get good value for my money. I still find good books at low prices sometimes. It pays to check out bargain book racks and tables in the stores. I will also not hesitate to buy books from my favorite authors, those whose works I enjoy every time.
    As for rules, there are countless free sets readily available on-line. The pricey glossy ones fill a different niche, for people who want all the fluff and pictures. I have purchased a few books along those lines in my time, but I'm more careful about it these days. Often finding inexpensive or free rules that serve well, and other reference books for pictures and history and background and such.
    I'm happy there are still people publishing analog books! :)

  11. When it comes to rules i want just that - the rules, pages of glossy fluff are not required, so for me the likes of Black Powder, etc. are too expensive for what i'll take from them. This is where i think PSC/Ironfist have got it right with their BattleGroup rules - they've made a cheap paperback of the core rules available so you don't have to purchase the pricey (but impressive) hardback campaign volumes in order to try the rules.

    As for Caliver Books, i guess their philosophy is to charge as much as they think they can get away with, and that's probably kept them in business for 30+ years. I do think they take the proverbial with their second hand prices though (and don't get me started on the price of MiniFigs since the took over), and when i see something in their lists that i want i head straight to bookfinder.com and usually get it a lot cheaper. I had to laugh when Dave Ryan was recently described as 'not Father Christmas' (or words to that effect)....

    As for John Ray's book, i think the price is fair, and for me personally a bargain as it'll provide inspiration for as long as i remain on the planet. It's a magnificent piece of work, the ultimate model soldier book, and self published (in the UK), limited edition. It can't be everyones cup of tea, but...wow....

  12. Well, Alan, I think your post is totally misplaced and very poor form.
    The book which you registered an interest for (and for which the price was published well in advance) is certainly not a triumph of style over substance. Neither is it a set of rules. And it certainly is not a thin hardback (it being 1.25 inches thick, with over 300 pages).
    When we asked for people to register (I have been involved throughout in helping John administer the registration and sales of his book), it was expected that some would not wish to pursue purchase. That's ok. But to call into question the value of a book you haven't seen is strange.
    Consider this: most wargamers will probably have at least 65 pounds worth of unpainted lead lying around that will never get painted. The value of John's book is the inspiration it brings, and might even result in some painting, or building a collection, or having a game.
    The feedback received from those who have bought it is phenomenal, and all have been aghast that it is so reasonably priced. Bear in mind that John has funded the whole project up front and will regain only a fraction of the true cost of producing what is a brilliant book. But then, perhaps I'm biased.
    Notwithstanding that bias, many would do well to reserve judgement until they have seen the book.
    I'm reminded of the old adage "Lord, help me to keep my big mouth shut until I know what I'm talking about!"

  13. Phil
    Read my post properly.Respect my lack of names being mentioned.I did not say "THE BOOK" was a set of rules nor thin!Who is questioning values?
    A rather misplaced comment from you Phil,hurtful and undeserved.At least the other comment makers remained polite as with the tone of my post! Perhaps i have gone against the flow and been shot down for it...