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Thor Power and publishing

2002-06-14 16:55:20+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Ever heard someone complain about how a change in accounting rules makes carrying book inventories so expensive that publishers can only carry a few current run best-sellers? How Thor Power Hammered Publishing describes how the Supreme Court's 1979 ruling in Thor Power Tool Company v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue changed accounting rules to make carrying low-turnover inventory more expensive, and why fixing it isn't as simple as you'd think.

[ related topics: Books Law ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-06-15 03:48:35+00 by: meuon

One.. that is a heck of a analysis, well done. But it also just means that the holder of the inventory declares losses later as they happen, but it sure complicates the books and analysis. In Hamilton County Tennessee, a 'personalty tax' would also be added every year for the value of the inventory on hand as well.

On the good side, it partially explains why a local very large printing company has and is investing LOTS of money in 'books on demand' printing. It nice for vanity press jobs. That is what they are using it for now: 5 to 500 copies. and they are working on making it cost effective for larger runs.

#Comment made: 2002-06-16 16:54:18+00 by: sethg

If your contract with a book publisher states that the rights revert to you if the book goes "out of print", and the publisher sets up a printing-on-demand system, then the publisher can argue the the book is perpetually[Wiki] "in print" -- and if you think you (or a competing publisher) can do a better job marketing and selling the book if you had the rights back, tough luck.

The real revolution will happen when high-quality printing-on-demand equipment is cheap enough that any B&N franchise can afford to install it, and publishers or writers would just charge the bookstore for each download.

#Comment made: 2002-06-16 23:44:01+00 by: meuon

if Barnes and Noble can afford it, then so can Kinko's.. and even offices.. and then geeks.. and then.. the consumer. On my desk is a nicely illustrated 'Stranger in a Strange Land' by Heinlein. I paid $0.50 at a used book store for it, it's 510 pages at 6" by 8". Borrowing som printing costs gets us laser printers at 0.03 per page, lets figure duplex printing costs 0.025 per page. Guessing my 510 6x8 pages would fit on approx 400 8.5x11 pages. gets me 400 x .025 or $10.00 with whats sitting on my desk right now. Not bad. I'd print books for that. I'll bet a big Xerox high speed system gets costs less than .02 per page to operate, even on strange paper sizes. So. if you download a PDF/book for $2.00, and can print the latest Tom Clancy (or other author) for $5.00, WOULD YOU? Sure, some would, it'd be great for an Oreilly style tech book (oh, I do this already). But I still think most people buy for-fun-fiction books on impulse. The machine in the back of the Barnes and Noble (or whatver) should print out fresh books as they are sold off of the rack and on demand. And yes, I pay for convienence (and my printer not jamming or running out of ink when I really need it), so I'd rather go to B & N and have a latte and browse while they print out my latest O'Reilly book (and burn a CD for the inside jacket). I could even option the paying for the illustrations in Black and White or Color. So.. Let the revolution begin!