The Real Kalmbach

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Clueless or greedy? That’s the question for you to answer if you follow their latest foray into digital media.

So, I get an email last Tuesday promoting their digital versions of their books available for purchase and downloading. The downloads can be read using the Zinio reader. I looked around to see what might interest me. It was not a pleasant experience. Whoever designed the site doesn’t know anything about shopping on the web. I found a book on steam locomotives but I had to practically order it to find a price. But I looked around until I found the right page and the price of $18.95.

Now it happened that my wife, a published author, was in the dining room with her three critique partners — all published writers of women’s fiction. They meet weekly to review each other’s manuscripts. I asked how much their books sell for in digital versions on Amazon. They responded with a range of $7.99 to $9.99 — for books that sell for around $29.99 as hard covers. When you remove printing and binding, warehousing and shipping plus returns, you can make a lot of profits with digital downloads while substantially reducing the cost to the customer.

When I reported that Kalmbach is charging the same price for a downloaded version as the printed version I set of wails of laughter at the stupidity of this marketing tactic.

Does Kalmbach think we’re stupid? Evidently so. It’s time to support the ascendency of a competitive magazine for model railroading. If Railroad Model Craftsman could get a new art director it just might be up to the challenge.

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