Commercial possibilties with IF

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Morgan Wajda-Levie

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Mar 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/30/98
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I know that this issue has been talked about millions of times before, but
I've never actually read any posts on the topic, and I was just wondering if
an idea I had would be at all possible. Basically, what I thought would
make sense for selling IF commercially would be to release a collection of
IF games similar to the way Activision is releasing the Infocom games. (A
lot of games on one CD for a small price.)

The company or individual releasing this CD would put any freeware IF games
he could get permission to put on the CD, and also work out a deal with
authors of shareware IF involving whether people who bought the CD would
automatically be registering the game (and thus giving money to the game's
creators), or whether they would be expected to register the game after
buying the CD (if they used the game, of course). The CD could also feature
games which are created specifically for the CD that would not be released
anywhere else. Obviously, the authors of these games would be paid in
royalties. The CDs could be sold both by mail order and in book stores.
(IMHO, an IF CD would have more appeal to a book lover than to a computer
game lover.)

The CD would have, in addition to all of these game files, interpreters for
a lot of popular platforms. (Mac, DOS, Windows, Linux, X-Windows, Amiga?)
It would also include TADS, Inform, and maybe AGT for people who wanted to
write their own games, along with a huge archive of documents about writing
IF.

The CD would be priced at something like $30, so that a small royalty fee
could be paid to every author who contributed a game specifically for the
CD, and also for shareware authors who wanted people who bought the CD to be
automatically registered. This way, if one hundred games were contributed,
each author would get 3 cents per CD sold, which is only slightly less than
what paperback authors get per book sold. And since it is very unlikely
that 100 games would be made exclusively for the CD, authors would probably
get more.

Since the CD would be distributed in a bookstore, it would probably sell
pretty well. People could buy a CD with plenty of games that are similar to
reading books, except that they are interactive and provide a challenge to
the reader, for the price of 6 paperback books. Even the freeware stuff on
the CD would be worth it because it's a pain to download all of those
documentation files and games.

This is just a hypothetical proposal, and I have no way of actually carrying
it out, but I'd be interested to see what other people think about the idea.
Is it really stupid? Kind of neat but unpractical? A good idea? Something
else?

Morgan Wajda-Levie
_____________________________
mp...@locke.ccil.org
http://www.worldaxes.com/wajdalev

Jason Compton

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Mar 30, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/30/98
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Morgan Wajda-Levie (mp...@locke.ccil.org) wrote:
: The company or individual releasing this CD would put any freeware IF games

: he could get permission to put on the CD, and also work out a deal with
: authors of shareware IF involving whether people who bought the CD would
: automatically be registering the game (and thus giving money to the game's
: creators), or whether they would be expected to register the game after

<snip>

: This is just a hypothetical proposal, and I have no way of actually carrying


: it out, but I'd be interested to see what other people think about the idea.
: Is it really stupid? Kind of neat but unpractical? A good idea? Something
: else?

Good idea but too hard to do practically. In the years discussion of
making an IF CD, only one attempt has yet come to any sort of fruition:
the large section of IF (something in the realm of 40-60 megs) I've placed
on the CD of the May 1998 issue of CU Amiga, with well over 100 Inform and
TADS games, as well as interpreters and languages for most systems
including the Amiga.

I got absolutely nothing for doing this (other than the payment for the
companion 3 page feature on IF gaming), and the various authors and
developers won't get anything either, except the chance to buy a CD with
their and others' work on it. This meant that I wasn't able to include
absolutely everybody's work on the CD--some just didn't want it on there,
others wouldn't give permission unless they were compensated in some way,
which I was unable to do.

(The May 1998 CU Amiga goes on sale April 16.)

--
Jason Compton jcom...@xnet.com
Editor-in-Chief, Amiga Report Magazine VP, Legacy Maker Inc.
http://www.cucug.org/ar/ http://www.xnet.com/~jcompton/
Choose and renounce... throwing chains to the floor.

JC

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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On Mon, 30 Mar 1998 16:23:29 -0500, "Morgan Wajda-Levie"
<mp...@locke.ccil.org> wrote:

>[...] Basically, what I thought would


>make sense for selling IF commercially would be to release a collection of
>IF games similar to the way Activision is releasing the Infocom games. (A
>lot of games on one CD for a small price.)
>

>[...] The CDs could be sold both by mail order and in book stores.


>(IMHO, an IF CD would have more appeal to a book lover than to a computer
>game lover.)

I don't think it would have more appeal to a book lover. You have to be a
specific type of person to like Infocom-like IF. Because everyone on these
groups is a fan of Infocom-like IF we get a very distorted view of things.
In General, I think the majority of book lover's, who probably aren't
computer people, would find IF frustrating, annoying, and lacking in a lot
of areas. This is the case from my own experience. I don't like them that
much and neither does anyone I know.

>Since the CD would be distributed in a bookstore, it would probably sell
>pretty well.

It would certainly be nice if this was the case, though I don't know how
likely that would be.

>People could buy a CD with plenty of games that are similar to reading books,
>except that they are interactive and provide a challenge to
>the reader, for the price of 6 paperback books.

I don't think this is an accurate description of Infocom-like IF. It's not
as simple as that.

>This is just a hypothetical proposal, and I have no way of actually carrying
>it out, but I'd be interested to see what other people think about the idea.
>Is it really stupid? Kind of neat but unpractical? A good idea? Something
>else?

I think it's a good idea to target the book market, but not with the model
of IF we are using now.

';';James';';

Joe Mason

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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In article <6fp2nr$r...@nnrp1.farm.idt.net>,
Morgan Wajda-Levie <mp...@locke.ccil.org> wrote:
>royalties. The CDs could be sold both by mail order and in book stores.

>(IMHO, an IF CD would have more appeal to a book lover than to a computer
>game lover.)

<snip>

>Since the CD would be distributed in a bookstore, it would probably sell

>pretty well. People could buy a CD with plenty of games that are similar to


>reading books, except that they are interactive and provide a challenge to

>the reader, for the price of 6 paperback books. Even the freeware stuff on
>the CD would be worth it because it's a pain to download all of those
>documentation files and games.

I agree that, if textual I-F is to be sold commercially it can't compete with
the mainstream computer market, and that bookstores may be an alternative
target.

Here's an idea I've been toying with: what about, rather than a CD, a single
3.5" disk sold in a paperback-sized case? Possibly it could have a booklet
inserted into the case with a static "background story" or other accompanying
materials, along with a manual. (I'm thinking of the games with accompanying
novellas that were discussed here a while ago.)

If it were packaged attractively in order to sit on a shelf (possibly alongside
the books-on-tape: think of that kind of packaging as an example of what I
have in mind) they would basically stand or fall on whether the individual
"interactive book" attracts the eye. And if priced at the same level as a
paperback, I think it would be able to attract an audience.

Wishful thinking, of course. The costs of designing packaging like that would
be prohibitive. Unless, of course, we could get a manufacturer of books on
tape to adapt their existing packaging.

Joe

Jason Compton

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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Joe Mason (jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca) wrote:
: Here's an idea I've been toying with: what about, rather than a CD, a single

: 3.5" disk sold in a paperback-sized case? Possibly it could have a booklet
: inserted into the case with a static "background story" or other accompanying
: materials, along with a manual. (I'm thinking of the games with accompanying
: novellas that were discussed here a while ago.)

That would probably fail simply on perceived value--even measly shareware
demos which could fit on a floppy are often plunked on CD because a floppy
is viewed as vastly inferior to a CD. A single floppy wouldn't appear to
be worth the $15 or whatever you'd have to charge to make it worthwhile.

: If it were packaged attractively in order to sit on a shelf (possibly alongside


: the books-on-tape: think of that kind of packaging as an example of what I
: have in mind) they would basically stand or fall on whether the individual
: "interactive book" attracts the eye. And if priced at the same level as a
: paperback, I think it would be able to attract an audience.

But you could never price it on the same level as a paperback. $6 is
-way- too low for such a specialty product. You'd lose money like crazy.

: Wishful thinking, of course. The costs of designing packaging like that would


: be prohibitive. Unless, of course, we could get a manufacturer of books on
: tape to adapt their existing packaging.

You wouldn't get far enough to design the packaging. By time you bought
the disks, duplicated and labeled them you'd be in big trouble.
Paperbacks can sell at $6 because they're printed up in massive quantities
and sold by the publisher fairly cheaply. To get your costs down to that
sort of level you'd need a lot of copies made. A -whole- lot. (Notice
how nobody really sells first-run software for $6? This is why...)

Kathy I. Morgan

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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Joe Mason <jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:

> Here's an idea I've been toying with: what about, rather than a CD, a
> single 3.5" disk sold in a paperback-sized case? Possibly it could have a
> booklet inserted into the case with a static "background story" or other
> accompanying materials, along with a manual. (I'm thinking of the games
> with accompanying novellas that were discussed here a while ago.)
>

> If it were packaged attractively in order to sit on a shelf (possibly
> alongside the books-on-tape: think of that kind of packaging as an example
> of what I have in mind) they would basically stand or fall on whether the
> individual "interactive book" attracts the eye. And if priced at the same
> level as a paperback, I think it would be able to attract an audience.
>

> Wishful thinking, of course. The costs of designing packaging like that
> would be prohibitive. Unless, of course, we could get a manufacturer of
> books on tape to adapt their existing packaging.

I think this has real promise. If the existing packaging were adapted,
the IF package could probably be sold for about the same price as a
paperback. Since they would be displayed next to the more expensive
books on tape, this would make them seem even more attractive to the
purchaser.

Since 3.5" disks don't hold nearly as much as a CD, possibly there could
be a "generic" package(s) with interpreters for various platforms and
only a couple of small games, and separate packages with small
collections of game files but no interpreters (with a clear pointer on
the package that an interpreter is required but sold separately). The
game packages could include assortments selected on the basis of genre,
for instance, or by time of release, or author, or whatever criteria.

It would be relatively easier to apportion any royalties, since there
would be a smaller number of authors per package.

kathy

Matt Ackeret

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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In article <Eqp2C...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca>,

Joe Mason <jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
>Here's an idea I've been toying with: what about, rather than a CD, a single
>3.5" disk sold in a paperback-sized case? Possibly it could have a booklet

A CD is likely cheaper to make these days than a 3.5" disk... and even
a CD is more platform-independant than a 3.5" disk.. (no GCR vs ?, high density
vs low density, etc..)

I don't even have a CDROM drive, but would argue for CDs simply for durability
purposes. (Anyone have a 1X SCSI CDROM drive that is basically collecting dust
they want to get rid of?)
--
mat...@area.com

Morgan Wajda-Levie

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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<snip>

>Here's an idea I've been toying with: what about, rather than a CD, a
single
>3.5" disk sold in a paperback-sized case? Possibly it could have a booklet
>inserted into the case with a static "background story" or other
accompanying
>materials, along with a manual. (I'm thinking of the games with
accompanying
>novellas that were discussed here a while ago.)


Actually, a CD would be a lot better. Cheaper to make, and much more
storage capacity. In addition to this, there are such things as mini-CDs,
which are small enough to fit in the back of the paperback book. They work
in a normal CD-ROM drive, and they are in themselves something of a novelty.
(There's just the smallest possibilty that somebody might buy one of the
books with their primary intent being to see what this nifty little mini-CD
is.)

<snip>

Chris Marriott

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Mar 31, 1998, 3:00:00 AM3/31/98
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Joe Mason wrote in message ...


>Here's an idea I've been toying with: what about, rather than a CD, a
single
>3.5" disk sold in a paperback-sized case? Possibly it could have a booklet
>inserted into the case with a static "background story" or other
accompanying
>materials, along with a manual. (I'm thinking of the games with
accompanying
>novellas that were discussed here a while ago.)
>

>If it were packaged attractively in order to sit on a shelf (possibly
alongside
>the books-on-tape: think of that kind of packaging as an example of what I
>have in mind) they would basically stand or fall on whether the individual
>"interactive book" attracts the eye. And if priced at the same level as a
>paperback, I think it would be able to attract an audience.
>
>Wishful thinking, of course. The costs of designing packaging like that
would
>be prohibitive. Unless, of course, we could get a manufacturer of books on
>tape to adapt their existing packaging.


Joe,

As a commercial software producer myself, I can only say "you're wrong"!

Firstly, only an idiot these days would sell a floppy disk rather than a
CD-ROM; a CD-ROM is roughly the same price as a floppy disk with a
reasonable print run (say 2000 upwards). It can hold almost 500x as much
information, and is completely immune from the failure problems which plague
floppy disks.

Secondly, producing high-quality packing these days is NOT expensive. All
you need is a decent DTP program, and a printer able to accept output from
such programs and print directly from them (as virtually all printers are
now able to do). With my software, for example, I designed the packaging
myself with "PageMaker", sent the printer the file on CD-R, and 3 days later
had 1000 boxes delivered; the total cost was about $2 per box.

Regards,

Chris
----------------------------------------------------------------
Chris Marriott, SkyMap Software, UK (ch...@skymap.com).
Visit our web site at: http://www.skymap.com
Astronomy software written by astronomers, for astronomers.


David Given

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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In article <891380588.14200.0...@news.demon.co.uk>,
Chris Marriott <ch...@chrism.NOSPAM.demon.co.uk> wrote:
[...]

>Firstly, only an idiot these days would sell a floppy disk rather than a
>CD-ROM; a CD-ROM is roughly the same price as a floppy disk with a
>reasonable print run (say 2000 upwards). It can hold almost 500x as much
>information, and is completely immune from the failure problems which plague
>floppy disks.

Not to mention the fact that although the game is only ~200kB, you're then
going to need 15MB of interpreters for all the various different
platforms. DOS, Win32, Linux, Amiga, Acorn, Psion, Pilot...

I believe these days CD's are actually *cheaper* to produce than floppies.


--
David Given
d...@freeyellow.com


Jason Compton

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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David Given (dg@) wrote:
: I believe these days CD's are actually *cheaper* to produce than floppies.

If you're willing to make a substantial up-front investment, a pressed and
labeled CD can be cheaper than a duplicated and labeled floppy.

Brian 'Beej' Hall

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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In a nutshell, Problem #0 is money. Someone who thinks they stand to
make money on such a venture would probably be willing to float it.

Of course, to make money, you need to sell, and to sell, you need people
who want to buy (unless you're Microsoft).

What numbers are there? How many people play IF now? How many would
buy, say, Curses from a bookstore if it were packaged as Joe described,
except with a CD (or mini-CD) instead of a floppy?

-Beej


Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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Jason Compton (jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com) wrote:
> David Given (dg@) wrote:
> : I believe these days CD's are actually *cheaper* to produce than floppies.

> If you're willing to make a substantial up-front investment, a pressed and
> labeled CD can be cheaper than a duplicated and labeled floppy.

In other words, if you want one disk, it's cheaper to buy a floppy, copy
stuff one it, and hand it off. The write-once gold CDs are relatively
expensive.

But if you want a run of 2000 disks, CDs are cheaper. Plenty of companies
out there that do CD duplication (pressing).

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

b_fe...@yahoo.com

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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In article <6fp2nr$r...@nnrp1.farm.idt.net>,
"Morgan Wajda-Levie" <mp...@locke.ccil.org> wrote:
>
> I know that this issue has been talked about millions of times before, but
> I've never actually read any posts on the topic, and I was just wondering if
> an idea I had would be at all possible. Basically, what I thought would

> make sense for selling IF commercially would be to release a collection of
> IF games similar to the way Activision is releasing the Infocom games. (A
> lot of games on one CD for a small price.)
>
> Since the CD would be distributed in a bookstore, it would probably sell
> pretty well.

Nah. Text games are what? A toy, and something weird that only hobbyists are
into. Therefore, the best place to sell the alleged CD would be in toy stores
and novelty shops. Everyone knows that porn drives innovation in all
industries; why not collect a bunch of erotic adventure games, and sell them
at 'adult' stores? You'd be guaranteed to make a fortune.

Later,
Barb

---
Barbara Fernald
Computer Science Department
Harvey Mudd College

-----== Posted via Deja News, The Leader in Internet Discussion ==-----
http://www.dejanews.com/ Now offering spam-free web-based newsreading

Jason Compton

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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Andrew Plotkin (erky...@netcom.com) wrote:
:
: In other words, if you want one disk, it's cheaper to buy a floppy, copy
: stuff one it, and hand it off. The write-once gold CDs are relatively
: expensive.

Right. (Unless you've been stocking up on free-after-rebate CDRs at
CompUSA, but you can't run a production line that way)

: But if you want a run of 2000 disks, CDs are cheaper. Plenty of companies

: out there that do CD duplication (pressing).

Right...prices have probably dropped, I seem to remember that sort of
quantity would have cost 85 cents with 2-color label and paper sleeve a
year or so ago. But you're still talking about putting up well over
$1000...

...not to mention the fact that I've already -MADE- a CD that covers much
of what people want in an IF CD and it will be available in bookstores!
(Well, ok, I didn't personally make it, but I made sure it got made.)

Edan Harel

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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<quote on>

Thank you for downloading the TextFire 12-PACK, the first in a series of
annual demonstration packages by TextFire, Inc. This package should include
readme.txt (this file) and the following game demos, arranged by
programming language.

<snip list of inform, tads and hugo games>

*******************UPCOMING EVENTS********************

To commemorate the relase of the 12-PACK and the successful incorporation
of TextFire, we are proud to announce a series of upcoming events and
happenings.

--the June 30th unveiling of http://www.textfire.com, an on-line store that
offers game gear, free giveaways, the tip-of-the-week, and registration of
TextFire products.

--a booth at the first annual Festival of Interactive Fiction in Piedmont,
California. Dates and times TBA.

<snip>

Just in! The QVC shopping network and the Association of Independent
Bookstores have agreed to distribute TextFire products. Watch for our games
in stores and televisions near you!

<quote off>

You know, I just might have fallen for this, had there been fewer games of
larger size. (though I hadn't an interpreter to check them out) I mean, a
.z8 file thats 55k? Come on. (And what company would use three seperate
creation systems?). Still, the first time I read it I think I actually
got down to the booth at the festival when I knew I was being suckered
(and the fact that there was a thread about commercial IF made it sting all
the more :)). So, how many other people got (partly) fooled?

Any way, good joke.

Edan Harel
--
Edan Harel edh...@remus.rutgers.edu McCormick 6201
Research Assistant edh...@eden.rutgers.edu Math and Comp Sci Major
USACS Member Math Club Secretary

Joe Mason

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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>As a commercial software producer myself, I can only say "you're wrong"!

Very probably. But I'm coming at things from a different angle than you are,
so I'm not as *definitively* wrong as you think:


>
>Firstly, only an idiot these days would sell a floppy disk rather than a
>CD-ROM; a CD-ROM is roughly the same price as a floppy disk with a
>reasonable print run (say 2000 upwards). It can hold almost 500x as much
>information, and is completely immune from the failure problems which plague
>floppy disks.

So it can hold almost 500x as much information. Who cares? We're putting
ONE text adventure on it. Less than a meg. (Leaving aside the problem of
putting interpreters for various machines.) If we sold ONE text adventure on
a CD, people would feel horribly ripped off because of all that wasted space.
Remember how mad we all were at Activision when they sold their "Sci-Fi
Collection", "Mystery Collection", etc?

Because of the other reasons you mentioned, selling as a CD is probably a
better idea anyway. I'm just pointing out why the "it holds more" argument is
an invalid one.

Now, you could say, "But with all that space we could cram TONS of games on!"
Yes, but who would want to by that? How would you market it? (We went through
that with the defunct Great Underground Adventures project.) You would
probably end up emphasizing quantity - but we want to emphasize QUALITY.

What I'm proposing (well, not seriously proposing, but proposing thought about)
is emphasizing the individual game. Would you rather buy a $15-$20 compilation
containing "30 great games from the top talent in Interactive Fiction!" with a
list of titles on the back, or would you rather buy a $5 set containing (to
pick an example not at random):

----

The Complete Works of Andrew Plotkin

"Plotkin is a writer of the finest caliber, <insert quote here>" - somebody
important sounding

This collection contains four short works and one full-length project written
between 1995 and 1998. It opens with the lush prose of A Change in the
Weather, in which an ordinary setting takes on bare hints of the fantastic by
the sheer beauty of its description. This same lush prose is used in So Far,
considered Plotkin's masterpiece by many, to evoke the strangeness of alien
landscapes - and, at the same time, their strange familiarity.

As a bonus, this package also includes Freefall, a technically impressive
but ultimately barren early experimental work which, nonetheless, has spawned
a legion of imitators.

<insert quotation from So Far here>

-----

The point I'm trying to make is to try to attract readers to the STORIES, on
their merits alone, not to the format. (I picked Zarf because he has a body
of work which all can be pointed to as fairly "literary". Other small
collections would be tied together thematically, or through some other common
thread.)

You'll notice I've dropped the "one game per package" idea. I'd meant to bring
that up separately, but I suppose this is as good a way as any to slip it in.
A small anthology of work would also fit the idea I'm having, as long as
EVERY item included fits into the whole (no, "and many more!" on the package).

BTW, the "important sounding quote" would ideally come from famous authors
having I-F connections. Douglas Adams, George Alec Effinger, and Robert Pinsky
spring to mind. As does Frederik Pohl, in a slightly different context.

>Secondly, producing high-quality packing these days is NOT expensive. All
>you need is a decent DTP program, and a printer able to accept output from
>such programs and print directly from them (as virtually all printers are
>now able to do). With my software, for example, I designed the packaging
>myself with "PageMaker", sent the printer the file on CD-R, and 3 days later
>had 1000 boxes delivered; the total cost was about $2 per box.

Once again, you're thinking as a software publisher. We're not publishing
these as software, we're publishing them as books. <pause> Come to think of
it, I haven't seen a book-on-tape for years, but the ones I'm thinking of were
published in molded plastic with slots for the tapes. I wasn't thinking of
the actual cover art, but the cost of manufacturing molded plastic of the
same form.

Why do that? In order to stand out. We would have to do something different
from the rest of the industry in order to attract an audience. That's why
target bookstores and not software stores.

However, if I've overestimated the cost of packaging, that would be a Good
Thing.

Thanks for your perspective on the subject - its always good to look at things
from a lot of different angles!

Joe

Jeff Hatch

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Apr 1, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/1/98
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Joe Mason wrote:
[snip]

> What I'm proposing (well, not seriously proposing, but proposing thought about)
> is emphasizing the individual game. Would you rather buy a $15-$20 compilation
> containing "30 great games from the top talent in Interactive Fiction!" with a
> list of titles on the back, or would you rather buy a $5 set containing (to
> pick an example not at random):
>
> The Complete Works of Andrew Plotkin
[snip]

I like this idea, and I also like the idea of distinctive packaging.
But I wouldn't want to see IF sold next to books on tape, since books on
tape tend to sell to commuters who don't have enough leisure time to
actually read. I think a small display near the checkout counter would
be best, the kind of thing that sometimes contains bookmarks or small
inspirational booklets.

What I think is most important, though, is for the literary quality of
interactive fiction to increase to the point where transcripts of IF
games are as entertaining as typical short stories. I don't intend that
as a criticism, since I haven't played most of the best games that do
exist. But I suspect we have a Catch-22 situation: The great authors
can't devote much time to writing IF, because it doesn't pay; writing IF
won't pay until more people enjoy playing it; and most people won't
enjoy playing IF until more masterpieces are created.

-Rúmil

Edan Harel

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
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jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca (Joe Mason) writes:

>So it can hold almost 500x as much information. Who cares? We're putting
>ONE text adventure on it. Less than a meg. (Leaving aside the problem of
>putting interpreters for various machines.) If we sold ONE text adventure on
>a CD, people would feel horribly ripped off because of all that wasted space.
>Remember how mad we all were at Activision when they sold their "Sci-Fi
>Collection", "Mystery Collection", etc?

Actually, we were mostly annoyed that they had made five (or six?) different
collections, as apposed to just 1, since they *could* all fit onto
one disk. Or they could have fit in all the other infocom stuff. There's
no use in getting annoyed at having extra room on a CD unless theres extra
stuff that could go on. Now, if you were just selling one text adventure,
for example, with an accompanying book, you might want to include all the
book text on the CD, perhaps make the game have some (good quality)
graphics, and some music, perhaps. Remember when the IF-CD thing
was being discussed. I supported (and I wasn't alone) having a few
good quality games rather than a lot of different ones. Oh wait, I think
we agree on this point. NARF.

>Because of the other reasons you mentioned, selling as a CD is probably a
>better idea anyway. I'm just pointing out why the "it holds more" argument is
>an invalid one.

It holds more (so you can include extra stuff like the book), it can be
multiplatform (though you could put a pc disk on a power mac, but that's
pushing it), and it tends to be more durable.

>that with the defunct Great Underground Adventures project.) You would
>probably end up emphasizing quantity - but we want to emphasize QUALITY.

Indeed.

>What I'm proposing (well, not seriously proposing, but proposing thought about)
>is emphasizing the individual game. Would you rather buy a $15-$20 compilation
>containing "30 great games from the top talent in Interactive Fiction!" with a
>list of titles on the back, or would you rather buy a $5 set containing (to
>pick an example not at random):

>The Complete Works of Andrew Plotkin

>"Plotkin is a writer of the finest caliber, <insert quote here>" - somebody
>important sounding

"Plotkin is a writer of the finest caliber, <insert quote here>"

- Joe Mason :)

>This collection contains four short works and one full-length project written
>between 1995 and 1998. It opens with the lush prose of A Change in the
>Weather, in which an ordinary setting takes on bare hints of the fantastic by
>the sheer beauty of its description. This same lush prose is used in So Far,
>considered Plotkin's masterpiece by many, to evoke the strangeness of alien
>landscapes - and, at the same time, their strange familiarity.

Personally, and this is all IMHO (and I never much liked nor got far into
So Far) So Far isn't a good example of a game to market. Maybe with a
seperate novel/book/story I might get into it, but if you want to market
text adventures in the 90's, you'd better grab you reader/player's
attention and extend the bounds on Interactive Fiction, or otherwise the
player will say, "Gee, didn't I see this a decade ago?". At least the GUE
project was aimed at people who enjoyed text adventures. Selling in
a book store would probably reach people who had played text adventures in
the distant past, or had never seen them before and haven't had much
experience with the games. I think, if you were going to do such a game,
it would have to be carefully created and crafted, with the audience in
mind, so that it appeals to people who had "given up" on text adventures,
and are easy enough for people who haven't seen text adventures before.

>The point I'm trying to make is to try to attract readers to the STORIES, on
>their merits alone, not to the format. (I picked Zarf because he has a body
>of work which all can be pointed to as fairly "literary". Other small
>collections would be tied together thematically, or through some other common
>thread.)

Personally, I'd like to see such games which are "literary" as apposed to
puzzle-whatever-games. For example, Theatre is a good game, with some
story in the background, but it's too puzzle-oriented to be "literary".
"Delusions", for example, is far more involving as a story (IMHO) because
the actions affect other players and vica versa. The storys not in the
background or a result of your actions, but rather run along side them.
"Delusions" however (especially towards the end) is far too dificult for
the average joe-bloe-book-reader. Perhaps something like Witness or
AMFV, where the story is at the front, the game is easy enough for
most computer literate people, and the writing is fairly good.

However, I still think that the game would have to push the envelope of
Interactive Fiction(tm). I still think such a game would have to be
specifically designed.


>You'll notice I've dropped the "one game per package" idea. I'd meant to bring
>that up separately, but I suppose this is as good a way as any to slip it in.
>A small anthology of work would also fit the idea I'm having, as long as
>EVERY item included fits into the whole (no, "and many more!" on the package).

Well, I agree with this (though I've in favor of a large, yet very
interactive game than a bunch of small ones.

>BTW, the "important sounding quote" would ideally come from famous authors
>having I-F connections. Douglas Adams, George Alec Effinger, and Robert Pinsky
>spring to mind. As does Frederik Pohl, in a slightly different context.

You might want to check the stuff on Telarium or Angelsoft games, as they
were designed from famous works.

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
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Joe Mason (jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca) wrote:

> So it can hold almost 500x as much information. Who cares? We're putting
> ONE text adventure on it. Less than a meg. (Leaving aside the problem of
> putting interpreters for various machines.)

I don't leave that aside. And there's also room for advertisements for
other games, brochures, the complete history of IF...

> If we sold ONE text adventure on
> a CD, people would feel horribly ripped off because of all that wasted space.
> Remember how mad we all were at Activision when they sold their "Sci-Fi
> Collection", "Mystery Collection", etc?

I think that was because they'd *already* published LTOI1 and 2, which
had the same games at fewer $$$ each.

okbl...@usa.net

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
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In article <6fu4pl$f06$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

b_fe...@yahoo.com wrote:
> into. Therefore, the best place to sell the alleged CD would be in toy
stores
> and novelty shops. Everyone knows that porn drives innovation in all
> industries; why not collect a bunch of erotic adventure games, and sell them
> at 'adult' stores? You'd be guaranteed to make a fortune.

Actually, this tangentially relates to what I was thinking.

I think in order for text IF to be successful in the mass-market, it will have
to have a voice interface. Someone mentioned "books-on-tape" being a bad
place to put this fictitious product since people who buy books-on-tape don't
have time to read. But what if you could play IF in your car? Also, consider
the possibility that some of the annoying aspects of IF would be minimized if
you spoke rather than typed (particularly if you couldn't type well). As far
as I know, none of the interpreters employ any kind of Soundex algorithm for
near misses and last time I checked, the ability to spell was increasingly
rare.

But I digress. In about 5-10 years when voice technology is as standard and
cheap as, say, some of the 16-bit processors around, the first place you might
see something like this would be in porno.

I suppose this relates to the current universe in this way: IF might sell as a
novelty item for the current crop of palmtops, with the correct packaging. My
guess, however, is that the work in question would have to have some other
thing to commend it--like being written by an already well-known author.

Joe Mason

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
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In article <3522F0...@hatch.net>, Jeff Hatch <je...@hatch.net> wrote:
>
>I like this idea, and I also like the idea of distinctive packaging.
>But I wouldn't want to see IF sold next to books on tape, since books on
>tape tend to sell to commuters who don't have enough leisure time to
>actually read. I think a small display near the checkout counter would
>be best, the kind of thing that sometimes contains bookmarks or small
>inspirational booklets.

I always assumed that they were sold mostly to the blind and illiterate (no
offense intended), but I guess that
wouldn't make much sense - there are a disproportionately high number of them.
Or so it seems at first glance.

Either way, *where* its actually presented isn't the main point.

>What I think is most important, though, is for the literary quality of
>interactive fiction to increase to the point where transcripts of IF
>games are as entertaining as typical short stories. I don't intend that
>as a criticism, since I haven't played most of the best games that do
>exist. But I suspect we have a Catch-22 situation: The great authors
>can't devote much time to writing IF, because it doesn't pay; writing IF
>won't pay until more people enjoy playing it; and most people won't
>enjoy playing IF until more masterpieces are created.

I agree! I was hoping that idea would bubble through.

Joe

Mary K. Kuhner

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
to

In article <3522F0...@hatch.net>, Jeff Hatch <je...@hatch.net> wrote:

>What I think is most important, though, is for the literary quality of
>interactive fiction to increase to the point where transcripts of IF
>games are as entertaining as typical short stories.

>-Rúmil

I think this is seriously misguided. Transcripts of IF games aren't
going to be as entertaining as good short stories, because by
turning an interactive story into a transcript you're massively
changing the medium. I really enjoy "Spider and Web", better than
the book of print short stories I'm currently reading, but I would
not be excited to read a transcript of it--bored silly, in fact.
Too much repetition and too many false tries. Some of the pleasure
comes from the exploration and problem-solving, and for that to come
across I need to be doing it myself. (This is also why going
through a walk-through without making any effort to actually
grapple with the game dilutes, for most players, its impact.)

I love role-playing games (face-to-face ones, not computer ones)
and I think they can be art: but most session transcripts are
painful to read. Participatory art and spectator art are two
quite different animals, and it's unhelpful to judge one by the
standards of the other.

Mary Kuhner mkku...@genetics.washington.edu

Jason Compton

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Apr 2, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/2/98
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okbl...@usa.net wrote:
: I suppose this relates to the current universe in this way: IF might sell as a

: novelty item for the current crop of palmtops, with the correct packaging. My
: guess, however, is that the work in question would have to have some other
: thing to commend it--like being written by an already well-known author.

Some Psion dealers used to advertise a pack which included Lost Treasures
and the Psion interpreter, so yes, it does sell as a novelty item for the
current crop of palmtops.

weird...@prodigy.net

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Apr 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/3/98
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In article <6fp2nr$r...@nnrp1.farm.idt.net>,
"Morgan Wajda-Levie" <mp...@locke.ccil.org> wrote:
>
> I know that this issue has been talked about millions of times before, but
> I've never actually read any posts on the topic, and I was just wondering if
> an idea I had would be at all possible. Basically, what I thought would
> make sense for selling IF commercially would be to release a collection of
> IF games similar to the way Activision is releasing the Infocom games. (A
> lot of games on one CD for a small price.)

Game collections are generally a load of smeg unless *one* company is
re-releasing titles that they've already made a profit on, and Infocom is
probably the only company that made enough games to justify a CD.

> The company or individual releasing this CD would put any freeware IF games
> he could get permission to put on the CD, and also work out a deal with
> authors of shareware IF involving whether people who bought the CD would
> automatically be registering the game (and thus giving money to the game's
> creators), or whether they would be expected to register the game after

> buying the CD (if they used the game, of course).

Uhh...I think you have freeware confused with shareware. First, you never
have to pay for freeware 'cause it's free. Second, how would you *make*
someone register. Shareware does it either by locking out parts of the game

>Open door.
This door can't be opened until you have purchased the registered version.

or by not including subsequent chapters.

You have beaten Zork 1. To play Zork 2 and 3, please send $20.

See? It just won't work, especially on a CD.

> The CD could also feature
> games which are created specifically for the CD that would not be released
> anywhere else. Obviously, the authors of these games would be paid in

> royalties. The CDs could be sold both by mail order and in book stores.
> (IMHO, an IF CD would have more appeal to a book lover than to a computer
> game lover.)
>

Hmm... how would you sell original software at a "you could've gotten it
yourself, but it would've been more work" price and guarantee that the author
doesn't release it elsewhere?

> The CD would have, in addition to all of these game files, interpreters for
> a lot of popular platforms. (Mac, DOS, Windows, Linux, X-Windows, Amiga?)
> It would also include TADS, Inform, and maybe AGT for people who wanted to
> write their own games, along with a huge archive of documents about writing
> IF.

All of which I can get for free right now. As well as the games to go with
them.

>
> The CD would be priced at something like $30, so that a small royalty fee
> could be paid to every author who contributed a game specifically for the
> CD, and also for shareware authors who wanted people who bought the CD to be
> automatically registered. This way, if one hundred games were contributed,
> each author would get 3 cents per CD sold, which is only slightly less than
> what paperback authors get per book sold. And since it is very unlikely
> that 100 games would be made exclusively for the CD, authors would probably
> get more.
>

You're forgetting manufactoring, marketting and distributing.

> Since the CD would be distributed in a bookstore, it would probably sell

> pretty well. People could buy a CD with plenty of games that are similar to
> reading books, except that they are interactive and provide a challenge to
> the reader, for the price of 6 paperback books. Even the freeware stuff on
> the CD would be worth it because it's a pain to download all of those
> documentation files and games.
>

> This is just a hypothetical proposal, and I have no way of actually carrying
> it out, but I'd be interested to see what other people think about the idea.
> Is it really stupid? Kind of neat but unpractical? A good idea? Something
> else?

If a 2nd Infocom existed out there, yes. Otherwise not practical.

>
> Morgan Wajda-Levie
> _____________________________
> mp...@locke.ccil.org
> http://www.worldaxes.com/wajdalev
>
>

weird...@prodigy.net

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Apr 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/3/98
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weird...@prodigy.net

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Apr 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/3/98
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In article <6g13ho$pm5$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,

okbl...@usa.net wrote:
>
> In article <6fu4pl$f06$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>,
> b_fe...@yahoo.com wrote:
> > into. Therefore, the best place to sell the alleged CD would be in toy
> stores
> > and novelty shops. Everyone knows that porn drives innovation in all
> > industries; why not collect a bunch of erotic adventure games, and sell them
> > at 'adult' stores? You'd be guaranteed to make a fortune.

Ohh boy!! My monitor says "You have scored with a girl"!!!

>
> Actually, this tangentially relates to what I was thinking.
>
> I think in order for text IF to be successful in the mass-market, it will have
> to have a voice interface. Someone mentioned "books-on-tape" being a bad
> place to put this fictitious product since people who buy books-on-tape don't
> have time to read. But what if you could play IF in your car?

Uhh...You'd crash into a lightpost the *second* you reached a puzzle *half*
as complex as the Babel Fish?

(this part has been snipped)

Dennis Matheson

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Apr 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/3/98
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okbl...@usa.net wrote:
>>snip<<

> I suppose this relates to the current universe in this way: IF might sell as a
> novelty item for the current crop of palmtops, with the correct packaging. My
> guess, however, is that the work in question would have to have some other
> thing to commend it--like being written by an already well-known author.

I just wanted to point out that this is *exactly* how I re-discovered
IF after
all these years and discoverd r.a.i-f and r.g.i-f. I was looking for
software for
my Cassiopeia and ran across FrotzCE.
--
"You can't run away forever, but there's nothing wrong
with getting a good head start" --- Jim Steinman

Dennis Matheson --- Dennis....@delta-air.com
--- http://home.earthlink.net/~tanstaafl

Chris Marriott

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Apr 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/3/98
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Joe Mason wrote in message ...

>>Secondly, producing high-quality packing these days is NOT expensive. All
>>you need is a decent DTP program, and a printer able to accept output from
>>such programs and print directly from them (as virtually all printers are
>>now able to do). With my software, for example, I designed the packaging
>>myself with "PageMaker", sent the printer the file on CD-R, and 3 days
later
>>had 1000 boxes delivered; the total cost was about $2 per box.
>
>Once again, you're thinking as a software publisher. We're not publishing
>these as software, we're publishing them as books. <pause> Come to think
of
>it, I haven't seen a book-on-tape for years, but the ones I'm thinking of
were
>published in molded plastic with slots for the tapes. I wasn't thinking of
>the actual cover art, but the cost of manufacturing molded plastic of the
>same form.

Actually, that's exactly the type of packaging that I meant, too.

I publish my software in a plastic case rather like a video cassette box;
the CD-ROM fits in one site of the case, and the manual in the other side,
the whole case standing upright like a book. The box cover is a single sheet
of paper which slips underneath a clear pastic sheet. Very good looking,
easy to produce, and cheap!

Chris
----------------------------------------------------------------
Chris Marriott, SkyMap Software, UK (ch...@skymap.com).
Visit our web site at: http://www.skymap.com
Astronomy software written by astronomers, for astronomers.


>

Jason Compton

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Apr 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/3/98
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Chris Marriott (ch...@NOSPAM.skymap.com) wrote:
: I publish my software in a plastic case rather like a video cassette box;

: the CD-ROM fits in one site of the case, and the manual in the other side,
: the whole case standing upright like a book. The box cover is a single sheet
: of paper which slips underneath a clear pastic sheet. Very good looking,
: easy to produce, and cheap!

Which brings up a fascinating cultural note: British standards for
packaging (for videotapes, at the very least) aren't quite the same as
American. The plastic case you're referring to is -very- rarely used in
the US for video sales. On the other hand, it seemed that 95% of the
tapes I saw at Tower and HMV in London were packaged in generic plastic
cases with printed slipcovers in the pocket.

Jeff Hatch

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Apr 3, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/3/98
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Mary K. Kuhner wrote:
>
> In article <3522F0...@hatch.net>, Jeff Hatch <je...@hatch.net> wrote:
>
> >What I think is most important, though, is for the literary quality of
> >interactive fiction to increase to the point where transcripts of IF
> >games are as entertaining as typical short stories.
>
> >-Rúmil
>
> I think this is seriously misguided. Transcripts of IF games aren't
> going to be as entertaining as good short stories, because by
> turning an interactive story into a transcript you're massively
> changing the medium.

Obviously, it would be absurd to expect a transcript of an average text
game to be quite as entertaining as an typical linear story. I want to
see transcripts of *great* works of IF that are about as as entertaining
as run-of-the-mill short stories.

Mostly, the trend is toward the kind of IF that I'm looking for. Better
characters. More exciting plots. Fewer arbitrary puzzles. Less time
spent running and fetching items. I would also like to see more
alternate paths, less emphasis on physical exploration, and easier
puzzles, so that a typical transcript will have a higher story-to-noise
ratio. (For instance, in one game I've been developing ideas for, I've
toyed with the notion of having a few paragraphs of prose that appear if
you're killed, because I want to provide some sense of closure to the
"story" even if the player doesn't win.)

Already, though, I think a transcript of a walkthrough of Lurking Horror
would be more entertaining than some short stories I've read. And much
better IF can be written. Maybe it helps that I read quickly and have a
fairly high tolerance for repetitiveness.

-Rúmil

Arcum Dagsson

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
to

As a side-note, I have actually read a short story that was done in the
format of an IF transcript. Great fun.

--
--Arcum Dagsson

Chris Marriott

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
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Jason Compton wrote in message <6g33e1$fl7$1...@flood.xnet.com>...


>Which brings up a fascinating cultural note: British standards for
>packaging (for videotapes, at the very least) aren't quite the same as
>American. The plastic case you're referring to is -very- rarely used in
>the US for video sales. On the other hand, it seemed that 95% of the
>tapes I saw at Tower and HMV in London were packaged in generic plastic
>cases with printed slipcovers in the pocket.

Interesting! How are video tapes packaged in the US?

Edan Harel

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
to

"Chris Marriott" <ch...@NOSPAM.skymap.com> writes:


>Jason Compton wrote in message <6g33e1$fl7$1...@flood.xnet.com>...
>>Which brings up a fascinating cultural note: British standards for
>>packaging (for videotapes, at the very least) aren't quite the same as
>>American. The plastic case you're referring to is -very- rarely used in
>>the US for video sales. On the other hand, it seemed that 95% of the
>>tapes I saw at Tower and HMV in London were packaged in generic plastic
>>cases with printed slipcovers in the pocket.

plastic covers? really? Weird, we only tend to have that in video rental
stores w/ the covers sometimes put in the slipcovers, either to keep the
boxes in good condition, or to have something written on them (like
"Blockbusters Rentals" "Please return by.." or whatever)

>Interesting! How are video tapes packaged in the US?

In cardboardy covers that probably look better but don't last as long...

Edan Harel


--
Edan Harel edh...@remus.rutgers.edu McCormick 6201
Research Assistant edh...@eden.rutgers.edu Math and Comp Sci Major

USACS Member Office: Core 423 Math Club Secretary

Bradd W. Szonye

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
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Chris Marriott wrote:
> How are video tapes packaged in the US?

Videos for sale usually come in a thin cardstock slipcover, similar to
the type used for blank tapes, usually open at the bottom end. The
cardstock is printed with colorful graphics and glossed. Typically, the
front of the box is a reduction of the advertising poster for the film,
the spine has the movie logo, and the back has some screenshots and a
blurb.

Videos for rent usually come in a fold-open vinyl box, considerably
larger than the cassette. The vinyl is printed with the rental store's
logo on the front and the movie name and ratings on the spine. The back
of the vinyl has some sort of blurb, either a copy of what's on the
for-sale box or a listing of film credits, running time, etc. Very
occasionally the front of the box will have an insert identical to the
for-sale cover, but usually it's just a huge splash banner for the
store.

The rental displays will usually have the vinyl boxes stacked 1-3 deep,
with an empty shrinkwrapped slipcover (from the for-sale version) in
front of the stack.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
bra...@concentric.net
http://www.concentric.net/~Bradds

My reply address is correct as-is. The courtesy of providing a correct
reply address is more important to me than time spent deleting spam.

Dennis Matheson

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
to

Chris Marriott wrote:
>>snip<<
> Interesting! How are video tapes packaged in the US?

Cardboard sleeves, just big enough to hold the tape, custom printed
for the tape. Usually the front has the title and looks like the movie
poster while the back holds a blurb about the movie, the running time,
cast list, rating and the like. The title is also printed on the spine.
The whole thing is shrink-wrapped. The closest analogy I can give is to
old album covers. It is very rare to see a plastic case, except for some
"collector's editions".

Chris Marriott

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
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Bradd W. Szonye wrote in message <35265C85...@concentric.net>...


>Videos for rent usually come in a fold-open vinyl box, considerably
>larger than the cassette. The vinyl is printed with the rental store's
>logo on the front and the movie name and ratings on the spine. The back
>of the vinyl has some sort of blurb, either a copy of what's on the
>for-sale box or a listing of film credits, running time, etc. Very
>occasionally the front of the box will have an insert identical to the
>for-sale cover, but usually it's just a huge splash banner for the
>store.

That type of plastic box is what virtually ALL video cassettes are sold in
here in the UK, and, as I said in a previous message, is very similar to the
box I sell my CD-ROM software in. They are cheap, look good, and are very
tough.

Bradd W. Szonye

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Apr 4, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/4/98
to

> Bradd W. Szonye wrote in message <35265C85...@concentric.net>...
> >Videos for rent usually come in a fold-open vinyl box, considerably
> >larger than the cassette. The vinyl is printed with the rental
> >store's logo on the front and the movie name and ratings on the
> >spine. The back of the vinyl has some sort of blurb, either a copy
> >of what's on the for-sale box or a listing of film credits, running
> >time, etc. Very occasionally the front of the box will have an
> >insert identical to the for-sale cover, but usually it's just a huge
> >splash banner for the store.

Chris Marriott wrote:
> That type of plastic box is what virtually ALL video cassettes are
> sold in here in the UK, and, as I said in a previous message, is very
> similar to the box I sell my CD-ROM software in. They are cheap, look
> good, and are very tough.

You know, it just occurred to me that a few publishers DO distribute
videocassettes in hard plastic or soft vinyl cases. For example, Disney
releases all of its animated classics in hard plastic book-fold cases.
They're not quite the same as the video rental cases, which usually have
soft vinyl covers over the hard plastic cartridge insert. But they're
not simple slipcovers like most video boxes.

Jason Compton

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Apr 5, 1998, 4:00:00 AM4/5/98
to

Bradd W. Szonye (bra...@concentric.net) wrote:
:
: You know, it just occurred to me that a few publishers DO distribute

: videocassettes in hard plastic or soft vinyl cases. For example, Disney
: releases all of its animated classics in hard plastic book-fold cases.
: They're not quite the same as the video rental cases, which usually have
: soft vinyl covers over the hard plastic cartridge insert. But they're
: not simple slipcovers like most video boxes.

Right, a few publishers still take the "deluxe" approach with the more
durable packaging, but by and large it's printed carboard slipcovers all
the way.

Edan

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Apr 5, 1998, 4:00:00 AM4/5/98
to

"Chris Marriott" <ch...@NOSPAM.skymap.com> writes:

>That type of plastic box is what virtually ALL video cassettes are sold in
>here in the UK, and, as I said in a previous message, is very similar to the

I imagine that might be because there's a different videotape used in
the UK than here in the US. You guys use PAL and we use NTSC or vice
versa.

Edan Harel

L. Ross Raszewski

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Apr 5, 1998, 4:00:00 AM4/5/98
to

In article <6g8bm2$1...@er4.rutgers.edu>,

The tapes themselves are the same; it's only the format that's different (it's
akin to macintosh vs PC floppies. the data on one can't be read by the other,
but you can reformat the disk and use it on a different system. (okay, some
systems have the ability to convert, so maybe it's not a perfect example)

Anyway, All the british imports I've bought in NTSC format (I don't have a pal
tv, so I'd have to) have been packaged in the plastic hardcover cases, with
the exception of Doctor Who and Red Dwarf videos (which I believe are actually
made stateside by CBS video) Only special releases are available in
hardcovers here (Disney movies are almost always released in plastic covers)
Other movies used to have special "oversized" packaging (epsecially when Beta
was a serious contender.) But I imagine this died out with the advent of video
tape storage units (which were designed specifically to hold the cardboard
sleeved design) Today, oversixzed packaging is almost entirely exclusive to
Disney and the porno industry (Something freudian there...)

Jason Compton

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Apr 5, 1998, 4:00:00 AM4/5/98
to

Edan (edh...@eden.rutgers.edu) wrote:
: "Chris Marriott" <ch...@NOSPAM.skymap.com> writes:
:
: >That type of plastic box is what virtually ALL video cassettes are sold in
: >here in the UK, and, as I said in a previous message, is very similar to the
:
: I imagine that might be because there's a different videotape used in
: the UK than here in the US. You guys use PAL and we use NTSC or vice
: versa.

Um, no.

VHS videotapes are VHS videotapes, PAL and NTSC are simply different ways
of encoding a video signal. (And PAL is in fact the UK/European standard
while NTSC is used in the US and Japan.)

The difference is that for whatever reason, the UK market prefers more
durable but less attractive packaging, and the US market prefers less
durable but more attractive packaging.

Chris Marriott

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Apr 5, 1998, 4:00:00 AM4/5/98
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Edan wrote in message <6g8bm2$1...@er4.rutgers.edu>...


>"Chris Marriott" <ch...@NOSPAM.skymap.com> writes:
>
>>That type of plastic box is what virtually ALL video cassettes are sold in
>>here in the UK, and, as I said in a previous message, is very similar to
the
>
>I imagine that might be because there's a different videotape used in
>the UK than here in the US. You guys use PAL and we use NTSC or vice
>versa.


That just affects the "format" of the magnetic data on the tape. The video
cassette is physically exactly the same!

Arcum Dagsson

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Apr 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/6/98
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In article <6g8lfn$3in$1...@nnrp1.dejanews.com>, L. Ross Raszewski
<rras...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> In article <6g8bm2$1...@er4.rutgers.edu>,
> edh...@eden.rutgers.edu (Edan) wrote:
> >

> > "Chris Marriott" <ch...@NOSPAM.skymap.com> writes:
> >
> > >That type of plastic box is what virtually ALL video cassettes are sold in
> > >here in the UK, and, as I said in a previous message, is very similar to
> the
> >
> > I imagine that might be because there's a different videotape used in
> > the UK than here in the US. You guys use PAL and we use NTSC or vice
> > versa.
> >

> > Edan Harel
> >
>
> The tapes themselves are the same; it's only the format that's different (it's
> akin to macintosh vs PC floppies. the data on one can't be read by the other,
> but you can reformat the disk and use it on a different system. (okay, some
> systems have the ability to convert, so maybe it's not a perfect example)

Actually, at this point, most Macs will accept PC disks readily. And if
both the Mac and the IBM are running the be os, they should be able to
swap floppies fairly readily.(Yes, I know, I'm just being picky)

--
--Arcum Dagsson

Den of Iniquity

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Apr 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/6/98
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On 5 Apr 1998, Jason Compton wrote:
>The difference is that for whatever reason, the UK market prefers more
>durable but less attractive packaging, and the US market prefers less
>durable but more attractive packaging.

I wouldn't say it was less attractive (based on how it's described) -
though I haven't seen US packaging so I'm really not one to speak. :)
Yeah, in the UK, I'd guess over 99% of commercial releases are in the
plastic cases. All blank tapes are in cardboard sleeves.

Maybe it's something to do with the weather.

--
Den


Joe Mason

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Apr 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/6/98
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In article <Pine.SGI.3.95L.98040...@ebor.york.ac.uk>,

Den of Iniquity <dms...@york.ac.uk> wrote:
>On 5 Apr 1998, Jason Compton wrote:
>>The difference is that for whatever reason, the UK market prefers more
>>durable but less attractive packaging, and the US market prefers less
>>durable but more attractive packaging.
>
>I wouldn't say it was less attractive (based on how it's described) -
>though I haven't seen US packaging so I'm really not one to speak. :)

Assuming the UK packaging really is similar to the Disney videos, I certainly
prefer the US version. The Disney packaging has always seemed bulky and
unwieldy to me - the standard packages are cleaner.

Joe

Mile23

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Apr 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/6/98
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In article <6ftli4$jl6$2...@flood.xnet.com>, jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com (Jason
Compton) wrote:

>David Given (dg@) wrote:
>: I believe these days CD's are actually *cheaper* to produce than floppies.
>
>If you're willing to make a substantial up-front investment, a pressed and
>labeled CD can be cheaper than a duplicated and labeled floppy.
>


A friend of mine has a box of DS/DD 3.5" floppies. All are surplus.

Want 'em?

:-)

Just a quick reformat, print out some sticky labels, come up with some
cheap recycled packaging... LET'S MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS!

--
Trying to email me without removing 'NOSPAM' from the address will result
in Bad Nasty Awful Things.

Kathy I. Morgan

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Apr 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/6/98
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Joe Mason <jcm...@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:

> In article <3522F0...@hatch.net>, Jeff Hatch <je...@hatch.net> wrote:
> >

> >I like this idea, and I also like the idea of distinctive packaging.
> >But I wouldn't want to see IF sold next to books on tape, since books on
> >tape tend to sell to commuters who don't have enough leisure time to
> >actually read. I think a small display near the checkout counter would
> >be best, the kind of thing that sometimes contains bookmarks or small
> >inspirational booklets.

Good point...How about a single floppy or CD on a cardstock about 4" X
8", the whole shrink wrapped? That would give sufficient room for the
type of cover art and quotes that have been discussed, and shrink
wrapping has become relatively inexpensive. We're now talking about
something affordable for a small trial run.
>
> I always assumed that they were sold mostly to the blind and illiterate
> (no offense intended), but I guess that wouldn't make much sense - there
> are a disproportionately high number of them. Or so it seems at first
> glance.

I regularly have to drive 200 or 300 miles each way through mountainous
areas with no radio reception, so I always check out the talking books
in bookstores and libraries. If there were IF packages sitting there in
the same area, for a significantly lower price than the talking books,
I'd pick up one or two and feel that they were practically free.
>
> Either way, *where* its actually presented isn't the main point.

No, but it is an important one. People need to see them before they'll
buy.

We also need to make it easy for the store to display and sell them. A
very thin package approximately the same size as a book on tape could be
displayed with the books on tape, and also on a post-card type display
stand, either a cardboard easel next to the cash register (where a
captive audience is bored and waiting in line) or on an existing rack
for other booklets & bookmark type items.

kathy

Jason Compton

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
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Mile23 (mil...@usa.net) wrote:
: :-)

:
: Just a quick reformat, print out some sticky labels, come up with some
: cheap recycled packaging... LET'S MAKE A MILLION DOLLARS!

...and find someone willing to go through the mind-numbingly boring
procedure of copying a bunch of floppies on a PC--especially since most
PCs have a single floppy drive, at most, these days.

Jason Compton

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
to

It's not that I like repeating myself. Far from it. But nobody in this
thread has acknowledged this yet, so maybe my post was lost.

But at the bookstore of your choice, on or about April 16th, you'll be
able to buy (or at least, order and then buy) your very own CD loaded with
IF. For less than the price of 3 paperbacks.

The May 1998 issue of CU Amiga Magazine (CD edition) will have dozens of
megs of IF games and tools. (The CD can be read by anything with a
respectable CD-ROM filesystem, including recent System 7/8, Win95, and
3.1/DOS if you've kept your drivers current)

And you can encourage your friends to buy a copy, too, if you're
interested in having -other- people able to buy IF at a bookstore.

I know, I know, it's not as dramatic as being able to buy A Mind Forever
Voyaging at B Dalton and Crown Books like you could back in 1986, but at
least it's something that's really here and done and nobody else has to do
any work on it.

Den of Iniquity

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
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On 7 Apr 1998, Jason Compton wrote:

>The May 1998 issue of CU Amiga Magazine (CD edition) will have dozens of
>megs of IF games and tools. (The CD can be read by anything with a
>respectable CD-ROM filesystem, including recent System 7/8, Win95, and
>3.1/DOS if you've kept your drivers current)

What's more, you'll get version 0.95 of Quakeplayer for the Amiga so you
can see how Quake will run on your Amiga, top Amiga database package,
SuperBase 4 Pro, and a magazine with info on digital cameras, the results
of an online poll of Amiga owners, a summary of over two years' reviews, a
review of the one of the first Amiga PPC cards and much much more. As if
most of you would be even vaguely interested... :)

--
Den


Matthew Garrett

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
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> What's more, you'll get version 0.95 of Quakeplayer for the Amiga so you
> can see how Quake will run on your Amiga, top Amiga database package,
> SuperBase 4 Pro, and a magazine with info on digital cameras, the results
> of an online poll of Amiga owners, a summary of over two years' reviews, a
> review of the one of the first Amiga PPC cards and much much more. As if
> most of you would be even vaguely interested... :)

Yes, but will we get it in Northern Ireland?

(Sigh. Shipped to the US, and you can't even get a copy in what Mr.
Paisley will happily tell you is "An integral part of the United
Kingdom". Does anyone else find it rather ironic?)
--
Matthew Garrett | ca...@enterprise.net

Den of Iniquity

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
to

On 7 Apr 1998, Matthew Garrett wrote:

>> What's more, you'll get version 0.95 of Quakeplayer for the Amiga so you
>> can see how Quake will run on your Amiga, top Amiga database package,

[etc]

>Yes, but will we get it in Northern Ireland?

Not so fast, Cynical-man!

Um, that is, I can't usually find the magazine in York, either.
People out there: if you _are_ keen to get your hands on a copy of the
magazine and you're not familiar with a shop which you know to sell it,
_do_ order it. It'll save you a lot of pain later.

(UK CU-Amiga finding tip: best places to look if you didn't order it or
successfully subscribe are big supermarkets in the latter half of the
month and newsagents in major railway stations, which usually carry a
different range of magazines to their High Street counterparts.)

--
Den


Joe Mason

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
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In article <1d72mu5.cj1...@tok-ip168.polarnet.com>,

Kathy I. Morgan <kmo...@polarnet.com> wrote:
>
>Good point...How about a single floppy or CD on a cardstock about 4" X
>8", the whole shrink wrapped? That would give sufficient room for the
>type of cover art and quotes that have been discussed, and shrink
>wrapping has become relatively inexpensive. We're now talking about
>something affordable for a small trial run.

On a tangential note, why are most music CD's still sold in those horrible
plastic cases which break so easily? (And don't tell me durability - like I
said, they break so easily!) I've seen a couple of CD's out in folded
cardstock that looks a lot like a record album, and I think they're great!
(The only one I can name off the top of my head is The Tragically Hip's two
most recent, _Trouble at the Henhouse_ and _Live Between Us_, but I remember
seeing others.)

They're more environmentally friendly (then again, how often do you throw out
CD's), I'd imagine they're cheaper, they look nicer, they actually don't get
ragged as fast as the insert booklets in the plastic ones...

Joe

Jason Compton

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
to

Matthew Garrett (ca...@enterprise.net) wrote:
:
: Yes, but will we get it in Northern Ireland?

Have your favourite newsagent/bookstore order one.

Erik Max Francis

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
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Joe Mason wrote:

> They're more environmentally friendly (then again, how often do you
> throw out
> CD's), I'd imagine they're cheaper, they look nicer, they actually
> don't get
> ragged as fast as the insert booklets in the plastic ones...

I doubt very highly that they're cheaper.

--
Erik Max Francis, &tSftDotIotE / mailto:m...@alcyone.com
Alcyone Systems / http://www.alcyone.com/max/
San Jose, California, United States / icbm:+37.20.07/-121.53.38
\
"I've got the fever for the / flavor of a cracker"
/ Ice Cube

Kathy I. Morgan

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Apr 7, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/7/98
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Jason Compton <jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com> wrote:

> It's not that I like repeating myself. Far from it. But nobody in this
> thread has acknowledged this yet, so maybe my post was lost.

Sorry....I did see the post and I do plan to buy the magazine for the
CD. You put in a great deal of effort on this project, and for me it was
a forgone conclusion that I would be buying it when it became available.
I just didn't ever happen to mention that. And by the way, thank you for
making the effort. Those of us with such poor phone lines that we're
extremely lucky if we get a 1 K connection particularly appreciate it.

I see idea in this thread as a separate good idea.

Kathy

Andrew Plotkin

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Apr 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/8/98
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Erik Max Francis (m...@alcyone.com) wrote:
> Joe Mason wrote:

> > I've seen a couple of CD's out in folded cardstock that looks a lot

> > like a record album, and I think they're great! [...]


> >
> > They're more environmentally friendly (then again, how often do you
> > throw out
> > CD's), I'd imagine they're cheaper, they look nicer, they actually
> > don't get
> > ragged as fast as the insert booklets in the plastic ones...

> I doubt very highly that they're cheaper.

Last time I checked into this:

Plastic jewelcase (the standard CD container): $0.25 each
Plastic jewelcase, shrinkwrapped: $0.28
White paper flap-top sleeve: $0.15
White Tyvek flap-top sleeve: $0.20
White cardboard flap-top sleeve: $0.33

Now, the cardboard thing Joe was talking about was presumably printed
with the front-cover art, and that's a lot more expensive. Color printing
always is.

On the other hand, a jewel box requires front-cover art too, which is the
cover of the insert booklet, and that's expensive too. A cardboard thing
would come with both sides printed, whereas a jewel box requires a
separate "tray card" in order to have anything on the back, and tray cards
cost too. The cardboard thing might even include all or some of the
interior printing that would otherwise go in an insert booklet.

A real comparison would have to be for the entire package.

Yes, this post is minor comments on a detail of an idea that is, at this
time, entirely theoretical. :) But I've done a little research,
obviously, and I might as well post it.

--Z

--

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Steven Marsh

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Apr 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/8/98
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On 7 Apr 1998 22:35:00 GMT, jcom...@typhoon.xnet.com (Jason Compton)
wrote:

>Matthew Garrett (ca...@enterprise.net) wrote:
>:
>: Yes, but will we get it in Northern Ireland?
>
>Have your favourite newsagent/bookstore order one.

FYI, here in the states (God, I've always wanted to say that), or at
least in Tallahassee, FL, most bookstores just don't care. We have 2
Barnes & Nobles, 2 Books-a-Millions, and a smattering of smaller
bookstores. None of them had -any- idea how to order magazines. B&N
appearantly gets all their magazine orders placed by their Corporate
Masters, and one of the other stores claimed their magazines just
"show up". Apathy reigns supreme.

I -finally- found a store that is actually willing to look for me;
it's one of the university bookstores. I'm not holding my breath,
though...

Steven Marsh
ma...@nettally.com
"Nuts!"

Jason Compton

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Apr 8, 1998, 3:00:00 AM4/8/98