Next week, there will be a new book on Kraftwerk published, and this one is highly skewed to appeal to a music obsessed, graphic designer like myself. Better still, it focuses like a laser on Kraftwerk, one of the truly seminal groups in my pantheon of favorites. Next week a book that catalogs 45 of Kraftwerk’s 7″ singles sleeves will be released and under normal circumstances, I would be pretty much dead center for the target audience of this slim, but intriguing tome. But these are dark times, and the circumstances of this book’s publishing are anything but normal. You see, this is a book being published by the dreaded Vinyl Factory.
That means that instead of a publisher printing up several thousand copies at minimum to be sold for a price between twenty and thirty dollars for mass consumption, this book is being created to sell to an elite upper echelon slice of well-heeled Kraftwerk fandom in a “limited edition” of just 300 copies and a price of £80 [$125 at today’s rate, more of less]. This is the traditional Vinyl Factory way. They are not interested in reaching the largest possible market with their goods. That’s for suckers. No, they have seen the future of Capitalism and it has nothing to do with providing the widest possible swath of their prospective audience with a quality product at an affordable price. What are you, a Commie?!
No, their business plan is to create products that appeal to a reasonably sized slice of the Rock culture and then to severely limit the numbers of production in an attempt to simultaneously [and artificially] stimulate desire for as well as the price of these elite fetish objects they traffic in. After all, if they printed enough copies to meet the popular demand that a group like Kraftwerk, with thousands of avid fans worldwide who respond to their status as electronic pop groundbreakers, there would be no way that they could sell this slim tome for a buck and a quarter!
And just what does your £80 net you? Here it is in the words of the producers:
- This edition is limited to 300 copies worldwide, each book hand signed and numbered by collector Toby Mott
- Risograph printed 2-4 colour stencil prints using special inks
- 100pp section sewn with soft cover, printed on 150gsm Munken Lynx paper
- Outer dust jacket printed on Chromolux red
- Cover stock Chromolux printed on metallic silver
- Contains 7″ vinyl pressing of Kraftwerk interview
And here are representative spreads of the kind that will fill these 100 150gsm Munken Lynx pages:
Wow. Those sleeves have seen better days, yes? You would think that for $125 that Vinyl Factory could have sourced sleeves that weren’t in the lower reaches of VG condition, eh? Pardon my cynicism, but it looks like Vinyl Factory think they know how to milk a cash cow! Any publisher that produces what I would consider to be a mass market product in an edition of 300 is not interested in reaching a readership. If that were the case, this would be in an edition of at least 5000 and produced at an affordable price of $35 or so in paperback with maybe a hardcover edition of 250 that was “signed and numbered” for £50 [$80] for the elite cognoscenti. That Vinyl Factory eschews the former while only pursuing the latter speaks volumes to my ears. It tells me that they are not interested in reaching an audience. It say that they are only interested in turning the biggest profit they think that they can get away with.
It also tells me that the brains behind Vinyl Factory are avaricious nincompoops. Producing records and popular culture books [at elite culture prices] is an idiotic pursuit. Especially at a time when the market for such goods in physical form is deteriorating amid an economy that is putting the screws to virtually everyone; not just Kraftwerk fans. If the masterminds at Vinyl Factory had any brains at all they would be securities traders so that their pursuit of filthy lucre at any cost would reap more efficient numbers.
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Wow! That is a really disappointing set of images from the book! I agree, cash in and rip off alert. This is a market that Genesis Publishing has also been abusing for decades. Mind you, they used to be a great client of mine and I am proud of the John Lennon, Clash and Bowie Genesis special edition publications which I helped to photo edit, but I was only ever gifted The Clash book because as a rule they don’t even let the authors have more than two because of the ridiculous price and tight profit margin for producing the books.
With this Vinyl Factory release, I bet a few good fans could put together a better product.
Echorich – Those images are straight from the Vinyl Factory page for the book! They sure have some crust! I could create a much better product in my sleep just sourcing web images!! It seems like this may be the future of physical books we are seeing here with e-books for the masses and physical books dwindling in number and being reserved for the elite and produced in numbers that preclude mass market affordability. In other words, a Pre-Gutenberg paradigm! At least for actual, physical books and the knowledge that they represent.
There must be a much better angle for profit in these LTD Editions and special projects. The revenge of the Vanity Press! Look a all the Rizzoli tomes which have narrow focus like “the white concrete pools of South Hampton” or Domenico Dolce’s (Dolce & Gabbana) new collection of Soccer Players wearing skinny suits which costs $200 and got a blurb in Details Magazine this month.
if i had known about it, i probably would have bought it. still trying to get the original 3-d book they came out with at MOMA. but i’m a sucker for books. and the one in the new 12345678 3-d is excellent too (just not 3-d with the glasses), but a lot cheaper.
anyways, if i can’t find a book, sometimes i just make my own. i’ve done a lot of conversion of soft cover booklets -> cabaret voltaire, and the human league ones to hardcovers, and had them reprinted with an online book printing site. sure they are pricey, especially for a 12×12 inch one,
but hey, i made them, so there’s only 1 copy of them. i’ve also made softcover books -> abc, too.
i’m sure i could make a kraftwerk 7 inch book that would be just as good or better, but if it was
12×12 inch it would be $80, a 10×10 would be about $50.