Saturday, October 29, 2011

Kalmbach Books now available in digital formats

Here's another publisher who is having a hard time adjusting to the digital age: Kalmbach, the publisher of the venerable Model Railroader magazine. I'm a subscriber of Model Railroader, and looking at inserts and ads in each issue, it's very obvious that Kalmbach is very good at recycling content from articles in different forms and trying to milk their customers any way they possibly can.

Recent example: The Model Railroader 75 year DVD set ... at a cost of $195. The biggest value here is being able to look up a certain article from a few years ago, but at almost $200 that's really not worth it. miba (the german equivalent to Model Railroader) is selling their 60 year collection on DVDs for 60 Euros, ie. at a cost equivalent to 4 digital yearly editions of miba on CD.

Another example: Kalmbach Books is releasing popular books in digital format by partnering with Zinio.  Take "Basic Model Railroading", an introductionary book to model railroading. Zinio charges $17.95, the exact same price as the recommended retail cost of the paperback version. Sounds fair?
Not really, no-one sells the paperback at retail price. It's on Amazon for about $10-12, and can be found new for as low as $5. While there's certainly some value to be able to carry around your railroad literature on a memory stick, is it worthy to pay more than street price? No, thank you.

And oddly ... I still prefer paper over pixels.


Leo said...

I actually enjoy reading books on the iPad, but I admit that paper books are still more natural to me, too. Wired Magazine, however, is much better on the tablet.

Robert Bowdidge said...

Personally, I had no problem paying for the DVD - I grew up reading the Model Railroaders of the 1970's and 1980's, so I want to keep being able to read them. The DVD gives me the chance to get rid of about 12 linear feet of magazines, making it a very good real estate deal. That's space enough for another shelf layout!

Bernhard Beck said...

I have the miba DVD mentioned in the post, which is more relevant for my needs. I'm reading articles from it, but I find that I'm not enjoying them nearly as much as when I read the same article on paper.

Maybe I don't have the right reading device, maybe it's my habit of reading an article or two at a time on the loo. That just doesn't work so well with a laptop...