Going digital

Printing, binding, promotion and the business side of engraving.
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Going digital

Post by benwiggy »

Further to recent discussions about printing and selling PDFs here: I thought I would 'announce' that from 2020, I intend to 'go digital' and only sell PDFs, which people can print themselves, or use on an iPad.

I spend far too much of my time producing printed copies, which could be more enjoyably spent creating new editions. This weekend, I've received over 30 individual orders for a single copy of 1 of my works, all to different addresses in the same area!! (Clearly, it's a choral society.) Arrgh.

I've looked into print on demand services, but they would take all my profit, so I'd have to put up my prices, which discourages sales.

So, I'm going to sell a licence to print any number of copies of a work for a fee of £10. (Instrumental parts: £20). I'm hoping that what I lose in sales of multiple copies, I'll match by getting more people buying more licences of more works. I'll also have more time to devote to new editions and commissioned engraving work.

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Re: Going digital

Post by liuscorne »

Just a thought: Might it be an option to dinstinguish different kinds of licence, the way that type designers offer a different licence depending, for example, on the number of working stations a font will be installed on, or the kind of job the font will be used for (private vs. commercial)? So there would be a difference between, say, bying a copy to be printed for myself alone, as opposed to bying a copy to be handed out to all members of a choral society ...

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David Ward
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Re: Going digital

Post by David Ward »

Interesting concept, but…

I need to get a couple of copies (at this stage no more) of a 200 page vocal score to a pair of singers. They've already seen a PDF of the full score and have specifically asked not to have to try to print the VS themselves. Binding is possibly the biggest problem.

As for iPads, isn't getting things in a muddle - turning a page the wrong way, inadvertently changing the display size &c at a crucial point in performance a real risk? Last Friday I gave a lecture with computer images and sounds: some muddle inevitably occurred (which wasn't a disaster for a lecture, but might be in performance).

Perhaps at 78 I'm just old…
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Re: Going digital

Post by benwiggy »

I've done plenty of concerts where pages were missing or fell off the stand. (And one recital where the pianist walked on, couldn't find his copy, so I had to give him mine and hope I could sing from memory...)

There are plenty of print shops in every town that can print an A3 booklet, or a decent Wire-o binding. A lot of my music goes overseas, and I'm posting 10 to 20 Kg of music at a time. Shipping costs can be up to £100. If the customer can get the copies faster, cheaper, and with less environment impact, and I don't have to spend my time producing the copies, then everyone's happy.

It may be a commercial disaster. Luckily I can afford to take the risk, and do more 'bespoke' editions on commission.

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Re: Going digital

Post by teacue »

Distributing my works through PDF is what I do since several years.
I always found printing and sending the performance material to be a lot of tedious work.

I also usually "personalize" the sended PDFs with watermaks or additional footer added with Acrobat but with Dorico being able to print complete books (orchestra scores or parts) Acrobat is not necessary any more to combine PDFs and it is very easy to add any additional text within Dorico.
teacuemusic (Musicals)

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Re: Going digital

Post by OCTO »

A very interesting subject, that continues in the spirit of our other topics.

I understand your pain. The single copies are just taking too much energy, time and return is small.

For how much do you sell these single copies, if I may ask? And what is the shipping? I just want to check with my own system.

I am both for and against selling PDFs only. If the music you sell is in the public domain, it is very hard to keep control over it.
Additionally, all musicians do not perform from tablets. It is very true for choral music holding them in hands: once it is dropped on the floor, costs can be very high...

I am not sure why it is not possible to make a PDF that allows "print X copies only", than the file becomes unusable. Why not? Or having it online, impossible to download but to print only "X times".
PDF is an excellent format but missing so many features.
Another option is to create a self extracted/printing application file, it could run only once and print only once.

Have you checked issuu if it could fit your purpose?
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Re: Going digital

Post by DatOrganistTho »

I work with a composer as their sole publisher. He has a few works which he only wants printed, while others only digital.

He has a policy, though:

You have to order a minimum of 10 copies of his octavos.

That's it. This makes it so that I can run to the print shop and print them off and bind them at the same time. I'm not wasting my time printing individuals, and he's making more money.
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