Wow, mention OOP charts and we all run straight to our keyboards and start typing!
First of all, I think that we all understand that whether we would (or wouldn’t) pay big bucks for an OOP chart is completely personal. People pay what they choose to pay for something. We all have things that we love and sometimes the price tag doesn’t matter.
For instance, my husband loves cars. He especially loves 60’s and 70’s Muscle Cars that sit in the garage 350 days of the year and are lovingly washed, waxed, dusted and put away every time they’ve been driven. A car with a 1960 sticker price of $5,000 can sell for $50,000 today, and believe me….Dave would be willing to pay that. I stare in wonderment, but I understand it. So paying $76 for a chart? It doesn’t fly for me, but if it makes someone else happy, that’s fine. (Although in Lee’s Perfect World, you wouldn’t be bidding against me….)
But anyway, you all have brought up some good examples and good points in your comments. One issue that KarenV, Siobhan and others raised is that although charts can go out of print, you might think that the designer or design company or copyright holder would consider re-releasing the chart in .pdf format and reap some of the financial rewards when their older work has a surge in popularity. After all, these designs are documents. And in today’s world of digital documents and laser printers, a designer doesn’t necessarily have to go to a printing company and incur the expense of printing older charts (which may or may not sell). But a pdf? I’ll bet we’d still pay the going price for it. If the charts you sell today are $12 instead $4 (1980’s prices), I’d gladly pay today’s price for just the 1980’s .pdf.
To a non-designing stitcher like me, it seems so simple. It’s not like anything needs to be manufactured. There are no assembly lines to re-tool. There are no broken molds. Like I just said – these are documents. It seems like everybody would win. Designers could sell more designs and get to keep more of their money. Stitchers would be able to buy what they like.
So it must be more complicated than that. Here’s something I wonder about: Do designers actually want their designs to go out of print and then become scarce and very expensive (even when they’re used and secondhand)? Because then we, as consumers, have a different mindset about our current purchases. We are more likely to buy something new from that designer right now, whether or not we have the time or materials to stitch it because we fear that later on it may not be available. We succumb to impulse purchases. Hey gang, I’ve done it myself. “Better buy it now,” I’ve told myself. So maybe going out of print actually works for designers. We look at their designs as precious. Maybe not as an investment (although given the state of my investment portfolio, it might not be such a bad idea), but as something to get while the getting’s good. Maybe designers have discovered that sales of their old designs will step on sales of their new designs. I really do wonder.
Ah well. The topic of OOP charts will come up again, that’s for sure. For many of us, blogs are probably our greatest sources of our stitching inspiration these days, and sure as GAST makes Green Apple thread, some stitcher on some blog will post a picture of something stitched from an older chart book and we’ll all go nuts over it, only to discover that it’s out of print. We’ll wonder why the heck we never bought that back in “199whatever” and then we’ll be trolling ebay and getting sweaty palms as the auctions come close to ending.
It also makes me wonder about our power to move the market as stitching bloggers. I really don’t think that these OOP charts would be so expensive on ebay without our blogs and our photos, because otherwise, who would even know about them?
Long ago when I stitched models for a shop in Pittsburgh, the owner told me that it was the shop models that sold the charts. And aren’t our stitching blogs like the world’s biggest collection of shop models? Our WIP photos and interpretations of designs and then the creative finishes we come up with are the best PR that a design company could ask for, in my opinion. The only thing we can’t control is whether the designs are made available to us or not. Well, unless you happen to have a spare wad of cash laying around the house. Or until the design passes into Public Domain. (Don’t click on that link, unless you want to feel depressed.)
And now I’m going to go check on that auction. Where I’m certain to have been outbid. So I’m going to be happy with what I have and stop whining about what I don’t have!