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[nafex] Re: NAFEX Handbook

--- In nafex@egroups.com, "Dr. Ethan Natelson" <natelson@p...> wrote:
>As I interpreted
> his proposal (without knowing Mr.Fishman or the background of the handbook),
> he wanted complete control of the effort, an unspecified budget from NAFEX,
> personal royalties of $1.00/copy, paid in advance, as well as other
> concessions.  On the other hand, "NAFEX would be responsible for production
> and printing exspenses - as well as distribution." The suggested price would
> be $15.00.  Mr. Fishman even suggested that "the annual dues may need to be
> carefully adjusted" as part of this effort.
> Without trying to stir up negative feelings, my initial take on the proposal
> was that Mr. Fishman wanted to write a book and have NAFEX pay for it.  The
> board turned down the proposal and I believe he was notified.
> At a more recent meeting we sought a different tack, simply to get
> permission from Mr. Fishman to reprint the original version on the web site.
> David Ullmer, our webmaster, was the contact person.  I still believe that
> with all the talent we have available in the organization, we could write
> our own, multiauthored text which would serve the same service.
>                                  Regards, Ethan

I very much appreciate your giving a different perspective. I have yet to see the origional proposal. I am sure your rendering of events is quite accurate but perhaps there was some missinterpretation of the spirit in which Mr Fishman offered the proposal.

I also received a "free" copy of the handbook. I do remember extra copies being offered in pomona for $5.00 on the membership renewal form. At the time I remember being quite flaberghasted when, for a what I think at the time was a $9.00 membership fee, I received a book I felt quite certain was worth more than that... judging from what similar quality books were selling for at the time... along with a year of POMONA and other membership benefits.

Trying to keep an objective viewpoint, as hard as that may be for me, due to the fact that the book very much touched my heart at the time, and I would very much like to see it re-printed again...

I do not think $1.00 a copy is too much to ask. Mr Fishman however seems quite personable on the phone and I assume open to negotiation. giving an estimated $5 for printing expenses... a $15.00 price would give NAFEX $9.00 per copy. If as before 7,500 copies were printed this would amount to about $67 thousand dollars for NAFEX $7 thousand for the Author and a "budget" of $37 thousand to recoup production, printing and distribution expenses.

I have no real idea of NAFEX's actual budget. I do not know what the actual expense would be of re-issuing the publication. I do not know if 7,500 copies would be enough or if an aproximate $75 hundred dollar advance would cover the work involved in "updating" the publication. My figures are proboly all wrong.

What I do know is that as somone anxious and willing to buy the book today I do not think $15.00 is an unreasonable price as compared with the going rate of books of similar quality in bookstores today. Given the non-profit educational character of the Publication and Nafex... Perhaps a different criteria should be used. The Nafex membership is $10.00. That is less than the proposed price of the book. I think four issues of POMONA are at least comparable in value to the handbook... not to mention all the other valuable benefits of membership... This seems disproportional.

What I have seen, by simply putting the words "NAFEX Handbook", or the name of the author or "NAFEX" into a search engine... It's praises are being sung all over the interet on various message boards and mailing lists... horticultural and agricultural databases... recomended reading lists... etc.

In short, demand for the publication is, I think, quite strong and I do not think NAFEX would have a problem selling every copy... Should it be sold? Should it be given away? Published on the web-site? Re-prined by Mr Fishman through an independent publisher?

My only suggestion at this point is that I think negotiations were cut short due to a missunderstanding or difference of perception between Mr Fishman and the board.

Perhaps a new Handbook or something similar could be worked up. Would this be less time consuming? less expensive? better? Should we really discard the origional handbook and start from scratch? This could be done. Perhaps the handbook could become something like a yearbook... but probobly re-issued "from scratch" only once every 5 years perhaps? I think this would be a great thing to do... but I think I would also still want a copy of the first handbook regardless along with all the new versions. It does not necessariy have to be an either/or proposition. Why not do both, reissue the origional, since there seems to be a demand for it... and work on a new handbook as a joint effort... Though I see no reason why Mr Fishman or anyone else should be excluded. Or why Mr Fishman would want to exclude anyone... or everyone as suggested. Perhaps his meaning was not that he wished to exclude anyone but that he was willing to assume sole responsibuility for the re-write. Not in the sense of wanting to exclude anyone.... but rather in the sense of not wanting to burden anyone with what may very well be a monumental task.

I have not seen the proposal as yet, but a written proposal is just that, a proposal. Not a demand. Not written in stone and immutable.

Tom Booth

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