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Pricing of Ian Allan's Secret Projects series books

overscan (PaulMM)

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I've noticed some griping on the forum over the price of the Secret Projects books. I have to say, I think its not really justified.

Tony Buttler has been working on American Secret Projects for 6 years. He's flown out to America, he's done countless hours of research in archives there. He's delivered a book which is really a goldmine for anyone interested in unbuilt projects. Chris Gibson did a similarly thorough job with British Secret Projects: Hypersonics, Ramjets and Missiles.

The price for both these gems is £24.99 in the UK. I think thats a bargain. American Secret Projects is 240 pages long, BSP4 is 208 pages and yet they costs exactly the same price as British Secret Projects: Jet Fighters (176 pages) did in 2000.

The US price has gone from $39.99 for BSP in 2000 to $44.99 for American Secret Projects & BSP4 today. Given the massive surge in the value of the pound recently, its not surprising, and the US is still getting a bargain - the £24.99 we pay in the UK is over $50 right now.

Think about the work put into these books, and I'm sure you will realise its not expensive. I'd pay £50 for these books if thats what they cost!

I understand everyone likes a bargain but...
 

McTodd

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I have to agree. These are heavily researched books replete with illustrations on good quality paper. £25 or so is very reasonable, especially when you consider that a novel, with no illustrations and printed on non-glossy paper, can cost £20 in hardback.

Part of the problem is that with so much information available from the internet at the tap of a key, people seem to expect that it's their right to have any information they want for nothing, never considering the work that goes into amassing it in the first place.

Frankly, if you don't like the price, don't moan, just get the books from the library.
 

sferrin

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Considering the information they contain they are a steal.
 

Antonio

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Paul,

I agree with you word by word. There is no single reason to complain about the price of that books. For a very low price you get a jewel and we must support Tony and other aerospace writers if we want to enjoy "US Fighters 1980-2000, French Secret Projects 1960-2000, US bombers 1945-2000" or what else in the future.

Another question that is important for me (and for enthusiasts ouside USA and UK) is where I order books. Post and Packing cost can represent an additional sum 25% or above to the book price.
 

Jemiba

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"Part of the problem is that with so much information available from the internet at the tap of a key"

Well, the old story, of what was first: The chicken or the egg ?
There probably still are very few informations, which are researched just for being
published via the net, at least in the field of aviation. Mostly you can only find infos,
which were published in boks or magazines before, so the "cheap source" internet would
dry out relatively quickly without books.
And the label "Tony Buttler" nearly always guarantees good quality, something that cannot be
said about all authors.
 

sferrin

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McTodd said:
Part of the problem is that with so much information available from the internet at the tap of a key, people seem to expect that it's their right to have any information they want for nothing, never considering the work that goes into amassing it in the first place.


No kidding. There's tons of information that I KNOW is out there but it simply hasn't been dug up or put to digital media. Who's going to do it? Most of the "free" stuff has been dug up by people like us but with the exception of people like Andreas, Scott, and a few others, it's a photo here or a factoid there. Certainly not complete BOOKs of information.
 

SlickDriver

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I understand where you feel that it is a small price. The reality is though it isn't. I have a fair library and add to it every chance I can. But I do not live alone and do have to answer for purchases.

She does indulge my hobbies, but that is what it truly is. Without a group like this to supplement my library I simply could not enjoy the breath and depth of the knowledge available.

I will have to forgo the pleasure of Tony's latest until it arrives on these American shores. I have the rest of the collection, but wait with patience until another time to get the latest.
 

sferrin

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Loren said:
I understand where you feel that it is a small price. The reality is though it isn't. I have a fair library and add to it every chance I can. But I do not live alone and do have to answer for purchases.

Just tell her there are more expensive habits (R/C, smoking, high power rocketry. . . :) )
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Well, I have a wife too :)

Seriously, if his books sell well, Tony can earn enough to live on and carry on his research. Authors get a very small proportion of the sale price as it is. Don't go into aviation writing to make big money!

If I thought that the presence of the forum was harming sales of the Secret Projects books, I'd close it down.
 

Antonio

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If I thought that the presence of the forum was harming sales of the Secret Projects books, I'd close it down.

I think that forum really helps secret projects book sales because it's a place to enjoy that books togheter (before internet I felt lonely with my interest on secret projects), to show new releases, to tell writers and publishers what we want to read about and information from the posts are only a little bit of what you can enjoy in the books.

That forum is a complement rather than a rival source of information. A book gives you such amount of information that is not easely compilable from internet. Think about it, for a few pounds/dolars you can get 240 pages of unbuilt US fighter projects!
 

CJGibson

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May I be so bold as to propose that those who cannot afford the Secret Projects series make work for my wife's colleagues. Go to your local public lending library and ask nicely for a loan of a copy. If they don't have it in their collection, they will ask you for a nominal sum (£1.50 here in Washington CD, that's $3.00 in Washington DC) and procure it on inter-library loan. You can't keep it, but it's yours for three weeks.

Not only does this support the authors, but it also keeps the local library open for the benefit of all, especially my wife's colleagues. This in turn will open up a world of books on a variety of subjects and allow access to volumes that even aviation writers can't afford. Go on, try it, just once. You know you want to...you never know where it might lead. You might even be inspired to tickle the keyboard.

A word of advice: do not annoy the librarians. They are your friends. I recently asked for a book and they said they would buy it just for me. Which is nice. Annoy them and you get barred which is possibly worse than being barred from your local.

KB
 

flateric

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Kelly - aren't you afraid of such things as scanners in the case?
 

McTodd

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flateric said:
...aren't you afraid of such things as scanners in the case?
In the old days you photocopied; now you scan, there's little difference. Yes, it's a hazard, but only if the person scanning posts it on the net. If they keep it for private use, no loss as they almost certainly wouldn't have bought the book anyway.

But to bounce back to the subject of t'internet... My earlier comments may have seemed excessively negative, but in my view the net has been a massive boon for three reasons, at least one of which has been mentioned by others already. In no particular order:

1. Specialist books are publicised far more than was possible before (such as through fora such as this, which not only publicise them but stimulate interest in a way mere advertising never could; it's a form of virtual word-of-mouth).
2. It is fantastically easier to track them down.
3. The ease with which they can be found and prices compared keeps prices incredibly competitive.

A personal example of 2 and 3 is as follows: twenty-odd years ago, I was after two out-of-print books. Tracking them down required writing to book searchers, waiting for replies, sifting responses and finally making the purchase. This process could last weeks. The two books cost me around £30 and £20 respectively, i.e. a total of £50 (excluding postage).

Today, I can go online and within minutes purchase both books for a total of £10 (excluding postage). A fifth of the price, twenty years later! There is simply no excuse for not being able to get the best price for a book today, and no excuse for not being able to find it (if it is available).
 

CJGibson

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Scanner? Well, if you can't afford a a £25 book, how could you possibly afford a £100 scanner?

In the public library in Washington CD there's a big sign stating that photocopying of small portions of books for personal use is allowed under copyright rules. As Mctodd rightly points out, it's the posting of material on forums such as this that troubles people. That makes work for lawyers and I'd rather make work for librarians and aviation researchers than lawyers.

KB
 

flateric

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KB - I personally have a rule that scanned books are not as good as originals, and always I will get a hardcopy instead of murky pdf where 200 pages packed in several megabytes. It also feels different when you getting know author of a book in person - that makes you feel really bad when you understand that grabbing a book somewhere on the net in e-form is stealing his plans for new pair of boots and money for future research...
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Properly created PDFs have the advantage of full text search, as demonstrated by the Flight International Archive project. In an ideal world, each printed book would come with a PDF copy so you get the best of both worlds.

Unfortunately this is unlikely to happen, as the PDF format is too easy to spread over the internet.
 

red admiral

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The Secret Projects series of books are excellent and contain a massive amount of information not available elsewhere, unless you want to go digging yourself. They are very reasonably priced for their contents. My only gripe is the poor level of proof reading in them which has lead to numerous spelling and numerical errors.
 

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