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Subject: Re: Out of Print Classic Computer Arch & Compiler Books
From: Henry Spencer <henry@zoo.toronto.edu>
Date: Aug 01 1996
Keywords: books, comment
Newsgroups: comp.arch,comp.compilers

koopman@cs.cmu.edu (Phil Koopman) writes:
>The problem is that it isn't economical to create a huge stack of dead
>trees and then sell them off a few books at a time.  It costs a
>significant amount of money to print up a bunch of books using
>traditional methods. ...So, if you don't
>sell the books off quickly you've got all that capital tied up.

Actually, the real problem nowadays is a very unfavorable US tax decision
some years ago, which essentially required manufacturers to treat unsold
inventory as assets valued at their face value *even if* there was no
guarantee that they would ever be sold.  Only when they are scrapped does
their value suddenly drop.  The result is that when sales of a book start to
taper off, it is cheaper to dispose of the remaining copies as wastepaper
than to keep them in stock against possible future sales.  (The actual
investment in the print run has been made, and storage costs are minor, but
the tax consequences of hanging onto unsold inventory are unacceptable.)
This had a devastating effect on "backlist" publishing; books now go out of
print much more quickly than they did before, and it is quite costly to
publish a book which is likely to generate slow but steady sales.
--
|       Henry Spencer
|   henry@zoo.toronto.edu

 
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