Every day, the news is filled with more doom & gloom stories of economic problems. Here in California I saw gas prices of $6.70/gallon this week. It seems as if every business I pass has a “We’re hiring” sign on it, some of these have been there for months. In the UK, the prospect of rolling blackouts this winter has been announced to cut poweer use because of natural gas shortages. The list goes on and on . . .
All this makes me gloomy enough, but nothing irritates me more than the fast rise in prices for needlepoint books. I understand that conventional publishers do not handle needlepoint books well, if they are published at all. This means self-publishing is the most realistic option for needlepoint authors. Just because you plan to self-publish does not mean that your book has to cost nearly $100 (the last self-published book I bought was $95).
It’s close to a 25% price increase in a year. Even with out current inflation, the prices for threads and canvases have not gone up that much.
$95 is more than what I pay for most canvases I buy. It’s more than I pay for a dress. And it’s more than we paid for three filet steaks this week at the best butcher in two or three counties.
Is it worth it?
The authors would argue that they want their books to be spiral-bound to have them lie flat. But most paperbacks these days can do so. if you really want comb or spiral binding, go to your neighborhood office supply store. They will do this for a few dollars.
The authors would say they want to support the LNS channel instead of big, bad Amazon. But thre are many print-on-demand companies that will print your book economically and ship it to you to distribute. And with the rise in poularity of self-publishing, lists of these companies are easy to find.
The authors might say they want to support small businesses in their area. But these folks live in major cities — didn’t they bother to shop around? And even with a local printer the books are likely to be shipped to the author anyway, so does it really matter where the printer is?
In the process of self-publishing my books, I’ve looked at lots of printers. I know what it costs to print a book. Every modern printer today requires the author to provide print-ready PDF files. This is true for every print-on-demand company from Amazon to your neighborhood copy center. There is nothing special about what the printers of these expensive books rquired.
I know that the prices being charged for newer needlepoint books is far too high. Yes, these books may seem like a bargain when compared with the costs of an in-person class from some of these teachers, but is it? If other teachers with national reputations can bring out book inexpensively, why can’t they? Authors and teachers, open your eyes, if a book costs twice the amount a canvas does, is your name really worth it?