July 10, 2009

Third Edition Schedule

Because publishing schedules always have a tendency to slip, including mine, I will NOT divulge plans for the third edition until I feel very confident things will move forward without delay. The text and cover design is finished, but I cannot afford the publishing risk right now.

My daily recording of prices unquestionably proves that average collectors are simply not spending much money on collectible stocks and bonds. Prices have been dropping for several years, and every time I think prices have hit bottom, I'm proven wrong. Demand for the rarest and most desireable items seems okay. Not strong, but okay.

It is the vast middle ground that has me concerned. Demand for all but the most desireable certificates seems very soft. Rightly or wrongly, this is my guidepost. My theory is that if average collectors aren't buying certificates, they probably have little desire to buy catalogs.

I think it unwise to risk a substantial amount of money on a new edition right now. Conceivably, if I can find compelling evidence of recovery - both in the economy and in prices of collectibles - I can issue a new edition in the spring or summer of 2010. Economists always disagree more than weather forecasters, but I am hearing few predictions of early recovery. Most predictions seem to indicate a longer recovery period. While I am aiming for a publishing date next year, I am giving only it a 50-50 chance.

I discuss this issue in more detail at Third Edition Schedule on the Coxrail site. In the meantime, I continue to collect prices and new information about certificates as I have for the last twenty years. As always, I update the online database every two weeks. That means that EVERY new certificate and every new serial number is listed online within no more than two weeks of discovery. Similarly, every new price is factored into my price estimates in the same schedule.


Anonymous said...

Two options you may want to consider.

First, offer a pre-publication sale to get some cash to lesson your risk. Say the book is going to sale for $40 (I have not idea- this is just an example) and if I pre-order and prepay I get is for $40 and free postage. Or I pay $21 now and $21 later - if someone pays the first half and not the second I think you are right to keep the down payment. I would be happy to pay in advance as I trust you will honor any committment you make. You can state firmly to all of us that you cannot print anything until you get enough funds - and worse case promise to refund our money if you don't print anything for say 4 years or something like that.

Second, have you considered a PDF version either as a download or a CD/DVD for now and printed later. Not worth as much to me as the printed version - but definitely something I would consider purchasing. And the costs of production/distribution have to be less than printing and mailing this substantial book.

Tim W.

Anonymous said...

Timing of the third edition suggests it'll reflect certificate prices transacted in the lower range because of the poor economy/low demand preceding publication. Might this not be a drag on dealer motivation to support sales of this edition vs., say, the 2nd edition which would presumably reflect higher prices?

Separately, are you considering a companion pictorial CD with the third edition?

Mike N.

Terry Cox said...

Catalog prices will most emphatically represent lower prices. Prices have been falling since before 2000 and they have apparently not yet reached bottom. Whether dealers support book sales or not will be up to them. My goal is to help all facets of the hobby not just dealers and not just collectors. I cannot affect whether someone likes my reporting of actual prices paid. I am leaning toward issuing a companion CD. The decision will depend to a large degree on whether collectors who have contributed images will agree to use of their images. The remainder of the decision will be how much added cost collectors will accept. I am seriously considering switching to a spiral binding to add durability, but that kind of binding costs more.

Anonymous said...

I actually prefer pdf versions of catalogs these days, mainly because they are searchable, don’t take up a lot of book shelf space, and are easily available on my computer. Since pdf's are cheaper to produce, self-publishable, and easily downloadable, I am certainly willing to pay at least half of what a hard copy would cost. I suspect that your catalog does not sell that well because you give all of the information that is in the catalog away for free online. Have you considered a small annual fee for the online service? Since the higher resolution scans are not available online, I believe that a disk of these might actually sell well.