Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 09:59:00 -0800


Subject: Re: Estimating book sales

I've never had a publisher question an estimate; maybe they are

getting more hard-nosed these days. On estimations, I would start with

how many you would expect to use at UT, then extrapolate to a reasonable

number of other like institutions. And insist on a paperback to keep the

price down. I'm tired of seeing students stuck for $45 for a book of 150 or

200 pages because the publisher insists on a hard cover. I also think we

should boycott sending textbook manuscripts to publishers who charge

outrageous prices.


Just a suggestion for those who are really interested in keeping book costs

down. We publish an average of one major book a year with commercial

publishers: Cambridge University Press, Cornell University Press, John Wiley

& Sons, etc. Because our clients/partners are in less-developed countries, it

is very important for us to have these books reasonably priced. We have been

able to negotiate the retail price of the book by (1) doing the layout

ourselves and giving them camera-ready copy according to their style

specifications, (2) refusing royalties, and (3) buying a specified number of

copies up front (at a special rate).

There is only one press that refused to negotiate the sales price because

they said it would set a "bad precedent"; this was Kluwer (they didn't even

give US a very good price on the buy-back). An example of our success is the

recent book "Science under Scarcity" by Alston, Norton, and Pardey, published

by Cornell in 1995. It is about 600 pages of dense, economics text, but the

retail price of it is only $35.

Obviously, not everyone has the wherewithall to negotiate on all three

fronts, but most presses will negotiate and most are interested in working

with you to keep prices down.

Good luck.

Kathleen Sheridan