Calling B&^^%@*t on Lost Art Press

LAP_logo2_940Alternative headline: Is it too early to start drinking?

Comment from a reader: I have to express my displeasure with your book sales process. For someone in search of increasing his/her knowledge of the craft, you miss a key point that I knew over my four decades as a teacher; books are meant to be used and consumed. Schools at all levels have a misguided policy of buying and reselling books, or renting books and fining students for any “damage” they imparted on the physical item. Books, in order to be truly useful to a learner, should be marked, highlighted, bent, etc. A book is meant to be used up.

For a woodworker hoping to apply knowledge in the shop, it does no good to have a collectable book, with cloth bindings and heavy weight paper.  While I can appreciate that for some pieces of literature, instructional books that cost $40+ dollars are like creating an amazing workshop, then keeping it in pristine condition; no dust, no dents, no signs of use in fear of diminishing its original, valued condition.

The cheaper version of a PDF leaves one with the option of running back and forth between computer and shop, or printing out perhaps hundreds of pages to be transported and marked for reference.  Neither is really a viable option in an instructional setting.

Making a more affordable paperback version would meet the needs of many, if not most woodworkers.  If you were truly committed to educating those who wish to take up and preserve the craft, why would you not offer that option?

Response: Not sure what the point is you are making. I think what you are saying is that a book that costs $40+ dollars is by default a collectable and not used, dented and show signs of wear. We at Lost Art Press want everyone to use our books. All of my books show wear. We are not collectors, nor are we trying to create a market for collectors.

The books cost what they cost. We do the best we can with materials to produce a book that will last as long as the information contained in it. We also want the best information we can produce so given these two criteria the books come out at the prices we list.

We don’t build furniture with cheap plywood and MDF… we build everything we do with the best quality we can. I will grant you that both Deluxe Roubo books we put out could be collectibles, but that is why we do trade editions.

Lastly we are a business. If we don’t make money we stop producing books. We are not working so that everyone in the woodworking world can have the information we produce on the cheap. Our books are a bargain at the prices we charge.

And Back at Us: You either missed the point completely, or, more likely, the issue is about profit.  “Books cost what they cost…” profound! My point is that it would be appreciated by many who seek instruction to have options somewhere between a PDF and instruction “printed on heavy #80-pound matte coated paper. The book is casebound and sewn so it lasts a long time. The hardback boards are covered in cotton cloth with a black matte stamp.”  

The point is that masters of woodworking make their instructional materials available in paperback form for a reasonable profit. Why? For the preservation of the craft! For those who want to learn from someone as accomplished as Jim Tolpin, #80-pound matte paper doesn’t matter.  It’s his revelations about the craft and its design that he hoped to pass along to others, not to have his work preserved in a cotton cloth hardboard cover. LAP’s 1st priority seems to be the profit to be made from selling a high item.

I don’t expect you to lower the price of these items; I’m just calling bullshit on what you’re attempting to do. Educators make knowledge more readily affordable.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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220 Responses to Calling B&^^%@*t on Lost Art Press

  1. jhr says:

    I don’t think this person has ever purchased college text books. If you want something to call bull shit on, go to your local university book store.

    • jfthomas70 says:

      Amen to that. It got to the point that my text book costs were exceeding the tuition. I hav moved to getting pdf files. Why, I just don’ t have the room for all my books anymore.
      I am an avid reader and go thru a lot of book and magazines. Doing software files works for me I have a searchable index. Hey when you get into your 70’s you will want too.

    • hgordon4 says:

      Amen to that. Got two kids in college right now. It is so true.

  2. raney says:

    I simply never tire of advice on running a business from those who have never run a business.

    • davevaness says:

      Not fair this person is not a businessman. He is a customer expressing his frustration
      with a company’s offering. I suppose less people will now voice such an opinion. They will just not say anything and not buy. My grandmother had a saying “If one person tells you you’re dead just ignore them. If 100 people tell you you dead then go lay down.” So far one person as express frustation and they can be ignored. When 100 people write with the same answer they change Whe the count is at 10 you should make plans for whe it hits 100.

      • john says:

        Well that’s the thing isn’t it? We offer a product for sale. Customer’s can buy it or not, or ask why don’t we offer paperback. We answer those questions all the time.

        If I don’t like the price of something I don’t buy it but I don’t call BS on the company demanding that they make a business decision for the “common good”. Doing so shows a lack of understanding of what it costs to produce items in the US and demeans the intellectual property of the authors. We don’t ask people to discount their work in any way and we don’t discount ours.

  3. David Ryle says:

    And this is one of the reasonswhy our kids are so far down the curve compared to other developed nations, educators with is kind of mindset.JMO

  4. “Educators make knowledge more readily affordable”
    Obviously this guy never went to college. Used softcover books at 3-7 times the price of a LAP hardcover and they are only good for one semester. And, you are lucky if the Prof even uses the book sometimes.

    • rwyoung says:

      Yep. Toward the end of my college career (graduate degree 1993), books were costing as much as in-state tuition at a land-grand university if all purchased new. Used was preferred but sometimes there was no option!

      Remember one particular statistics book that was equivalent to $1.20 PER PAGE, only available NEW. Cost nearly $300 just for that damn book. Still have it. Makes a nice doorstop.

      I’ll bet it hasn’t gotten much better.

  5. zeelandmatt says:

    To everyone at LAP, keep doing what you’re doing! Plenty of others are selling inexpensive furniture plan books.

  6. Tom says:

    it seems to me that what I am paying for is a quality product that won’t fall apart, made from good materials that are made in America that I can eventually pass on to my children. Pretty much the same thing I look for in my tools. Not sure I see what the problem is…..

    Keep up the good work LAP

  7. And why do “educators” make softcover books????

    PROFIT , profit margins are higher on softcovers. Cheaper to produce, lower price, profit by volume.

    • davevaness says:

      I was an engineering major. My solid references were all hard bound and I still use them 40 years later. The books on specific techniques became obsolete in 5 five and I am glad the prof made them available as xerox copies.

  8. My mother threw out all my old MAD magazines. Doubt she would’ve done so if they were printed on 80-pound matte coated paper.

  9. Hugo Baillargeon says:

    Hum… I will go to the frontline of the battle with that. Yes the Craft is to be transmitted. But LAP put their heart, time, stress, and all into those books. If you want it “cheap” , ask the library to buy them, and rent them. I know they (LAP) make more money than i do; i just have to do as good. I buy those books because of the quality. Yes. Because it is not made in China. Yes. The day they change, the price will drop, i agree. Then i will decide again to whom i send my hard gained money. Knowledge do have a price.

  10. It makes me laugh when I hear critiques of a business model from those who appear to have never operated a business whatsoever. If we didn’t have to make money for a business to operate I’m sure we all would do things differently. Unfortunately we live in a different world and until that changes…

    >

  11. davevaness says:

    Whenever I have a PDF that I want a hard copy I go to Kinkos and have them print and bind one for me. With copyrighted material I only make a single copy of the digital copy I purchased.

    Hope that helps/

    • davevaness says:

      I also will copy books that have gone out of print and are no longer available.

      • dsgoen says:

        Technically this is still a violation of copyright law. Violating copyright has nothing to do with whether the book is still in print or available. Personally, I don’t care what you do, but I thought that you might like to know. Out of print is something that should never happen in this day and age of ebooks. It’s incredibly frustrating.

        • jglen490 says:

          It’s not a violation once a book is in the public domain.

        • Jeff Faulk says:

          In the woodworking context, I suspect he’s talking about books that are like… from the 1800s, available from Google Books or similar online sources. There is no reason NOT to have those compiled into a more readable format, since the original authors are long since gone and at this point it is pure knowledge.

  12. mcamaleri says:

    Alternative alternative headline: Sometimes You Just Can’t Win.

    This person might also buy a beautiful, brand new $250 hand plane and not use it lest it might get scuffed or dinged.

      • mrzumwalt says:

        Oh my GAWD, that’s awesome! I was laughing so hysterically that I woke my wife, shot bourbon through my nose, and had cats running 3 directions at once! and yes, I own several Lie-Nielsen planes (and Veritas, and vintage Stanleys that I tuned) And yes, I worked to earn the money to pay full price for each one. And yes, every one was an unbelievable bargain.

        Like many who are so passionate about this craft, I have other responsibilities that consume 18 hours a day, so when I do have precious few moments in the shop, I want to sharpen my tools and work with wood to build furniture for my family, not jerk around with cheap tools near wood.

        And by the way, Mr. Schwarz and friends, I DO want a book printed in the USA on matte 80# paper, cloth covered, sewn binding, black painted edged, researched to the stone-age, and all the other magnificent publishing wizardry you do — if I’m damn lucky, I might learn something AND have a book that lasts more than 30 minutes in my shop where, invariably, I will accidentally get glue on it, splash varnish on it, spill coffee on it, and sweep it off my 7-foot-long, 350-pound workbench. Which, by the way, I could build because you invest the time to research and publish… oh hell, you get the point.

  13. Patrick says:

    I am willing to pay the price on LAP books because of the heavy binding and quality construction. When I take Roubo into the workshop I want it to hold up in use and not fall apart as have so many paperback books.

    Conversely I have PDF of several old texts, and I print pages selectively. It’s not even that expensive. I printed “Grimshaw on saws” coil bound for 20 dollars. Or $250 for the original. Some people.

  14. ericfromdayton says:

    Interesting perspective. If I look at the various books in my personal “library” there are both hard and soft bound. I tend to use the hard bound more. I consider most of the soft bound to be somewhat disposable. I don’t expect them to last multiple generations. In essence, hard bound implies that the information contain within is valuable enough to protect. As such, the hard bound books are simply better quality tools than the soft bound. As a teacher they must ask why they are (by example) promoting that the students purchase lesser quality tools. I won’t buy the excuse that they can’t afford it either. How much do kids spend on the latest fads, like cell phones, games, clothing etc. that won’t last as long as a good book? Time for them to quit supporting the throw-away mentality.

  15. Wonko T. Sane says:

    Appeal to Self-evident Truth:

    Description: Making the claim that something is “self-evident” when it is not self-evident in place of arguing a claim with reason. In everyday terms, something is “self-evident” when understanding what it means immediately results in knowing that it is true, such as 2+2=4. The concept of self-evidence is contentions and argued among philosophers based on their ideas of epistemology. This means that what is “self-evident” to one person is not necessarily self-evident to another. However, some ideas are clearly self-evident and some are not.

    Explanation: People often confuse their own subjective feelings and interpretations with self-evidence. Richie may believe that Lord Xylon is the one true ruler of the universe, but his belief cannot be used in place of evidence.

    https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/212/Appeal-to-Self-evident-Truth

    I, for one, welcome Lord Xylon, and hope he also values a well bound book.

  16. Imagine a life where one of your biggest problems is the formats a boutique publisher chooses for it’s media? This guy has it made.

  17. John Hippe says:

    Personally, I appreciate the high quality standards of LAP. They are a bargain. I know that I can use them and they won’t fall apart. Other books from other presses are not made to the same standard. I use them, but always worry about the pages coming unglued if I use them too much.

  18. djmueller says:

    This educator used profanity, a violation of the LAP blogging laws. Bloviating should be added to the list. Rock on gentlemen, you’re doing great work.

    • wakedad says:

      It’s a reply section, Bloviating is implied and by the nature of the implication, encouraged. That being said, this “Educator” shows all the signs of a brain dead college educated idiot that has lost touch with the real world in favor of the bubble of academia. Much like our media and politicians. Oops, my soap box is falling over!!

  19. frpaulas says:

    You keep making’ ’em & I’ll keep buyin’ ’em. Well, most of them anyway.

  20. Jesper T says:

    Lost Art Press books are the most bang-for-the-buck books I know. Never over priced (Deluxe Roubo is an investment, not a book.) and always beautifully crafted.

    I think this is the main flaw in this statement. The reason for the books being produced the way they are is because LAP actually really cares about HOW and WHERE they are made. In the same way we appreciate long lasting locally (home) built furniture LAPs primary audience cares not only for the retail price but how their books came to be.

    Lost Art Press makes the books this way precisely because profit is NOT their core value.

    • jglen490 says:

      “Deluxe Roubo is an investment, not a book.” Interesting comment, in light of this discussion.

      • Jeff Faulk says:

        In a certain light it makes sense to me. You can get Roubo online if you’re willing to deal with translating French and poor scans, translations have been available in print for some time and it’s a public domain book so there’s nothing stopping someone from making a new translation and releasing it themselves. The material within the book is easily enough (for a certain definition of ‘easy’ granted) accessible.

        The book itself, if we are talking about the Deluxe Edition, is another story. High quality binding and printing, only a limited number printed? That spells ‘collectible’. That spells ‘will accrue value with time’.

  21. Lee says:

    I work for a company that produces items much in the same way as LAP; we attempt to create things that are useful and will last a long time. However, we exist in an industry that has made a trend to lower standards, cheaper materials, overseas production, etc. At this point, my copy of the Anarchist’s Design Book has more dog ears, smudges, pencil underlines and circles than I can count. Books cost what they cost, so you guys can produce something I’ll be happy to be able to pass on one day (just like I work towards at my day job). I prefer to have a book that stays open on its own sitting on the bench in the shop, anyway.

  22. Joe Kulak says:

    Sounds like the reader wants his cake and eat it too. I agree with davevaness above, print your own use in the workshop version. After seeing what it would cost to print it yourself plus the time involved in putting it together, he make finally become aware of the true Value of that $40 book.

    • Bruce Lee says:

      No, he wants Chris’ cake, and John’s, and everyone else at LAP’s cake. And probably your cake too. Every time I search for a suitable term for this sort of person, I find that the item referenced (e.g. parasite, toe rag) has more use to the world than this individual. Contempt? Hah!

    • Jonathan Schneider says:

      Good Dylan quote!

  23. An educator might also correct a few spelling mistakes or add more sample problems and insist that their students buy the latest edition of a textbook at $200 instead of the previous version for $20. That pricing scheme might send savvy cost-minded students to Ebay to buy the paperback versions of the text book intended for 3rd world countries at a more reasonable price.

    I wish I could have gotten textbooks for $40.

  24. j_wellman says:

    I second Raney. If this person thinks he can do a better job, then he should. Otherwise, he should politely stfu. Every time I purchase a book from LAP I feel like I’m getting the better of the deal. Paying less for an inferior product does not interest me. Keep doing what you’re doing LAP (or don’t–it’s your freaking business).

  25. jarvilaluban says:

    If you’re wearing out books, even cheap ones, you’re spending too much time with a book in your hand instead of a chisel.

  26. brettrgilmer says:

    Why can’t you do it like everyone else, LAP!? Your cost, content, and quality are all shifts in the modern perspective on production and purchasing goods. You’re obviously leaving money on the table by not stratifying your offerings to all platforms available today… it’s kind of a niche market anyway, right?

  27. S Miller says:

    $40 is plenty affordable for a quality hardback. This goober doesn’t seem to realize that you guys don’t have the economy of scale on your side.

  28. Dan Haggerty says:

    Your “teacher” critic is not going to be swayed by logical argument about the realities of business. It is a waste of time to try and convince them. They clearly think that you should put in thousands of unpaid hours on a project like the Hayward books, so they can buy the whole set in a newsprint edition for $9.95. As comedian Ron White aptly observed, “You can’t fix stupid”.

  29. GrizG says:

    Seeing my son’s college textbook bill for this semester was enough to cause me to pause. He is taking courses that I taught at that college 20-30 years ago. To now see $400 being charged for a book that will be obsolete in a year or two due to changing technology is BS. They aren’t the kinds of books that you’d go back to even next year… In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my Lost Art Press books with their timeless knowledge.

    Perhaps Roy had it right on his tee-shirts years ago. It’s time to start the revolution! LOL

    “The Woodwright’s Shop — Book 99: The Smiting of the Normites “

    • wakedad says:

      So you’re saying that colleges are charging us a fortune to teach subjects that are nearly obsolete?? No one would do such a thing and expect tax payer funding…would they??

  30. Mike says:

    While I do not agree with this reader, I can see where he is coming from. If these books were printed in a way similar to the mass reader paperback edition of a fiction novel, they could likely be priced at half their current price and still provide enough margin for LAP to stay in business. I have very little $$$ to spend on woodworking, buying a $40-$50 book is a huge investment for me. As another commenter remarks, it is the same decision as purchasing tools; low quality & cheap vs. High quality, lasts forever. This reader obviously wants the former while the bulk of the people that LAP caters to, want the latter.

    As for me, It is hard for me to force myself to be patient and save my money to buy quality, I could have all the tools that I want right now if I had bought the cheap barely passable variety, but I chose to invest in quality tools that will last my lifetime. This choice makes it take far longer to accumulate all the tools that I need, but I will spend less in the long run. I see the books that I purchase from LAP (I own 6) as guidance to help me make informed decisions as to which tools I should buy and how to choose which brands to buy from. These books are an investment in my shop and craft, and I refer to them time and time again and will for years to come. They are not a product to be consumed and tossed aside, my memory is not good enough to read them once and forget them.

    The reader above seems to want both, high quality content at a low price and is willing to give up the longevity of the item to get it.

    • Trevor Walsh says:

      Though a paperback LAP book might return the same profit margin at $20, I’d be willing to venture a guess that that paperback can’t be printed in the US for that price. Further complicating the issue is that a paperback offering will change the demand relationship of the hardbound books.

      If LAP needs to sell 100 hardbound books at $40 ($400 gross, 50% profit) to stay in business, then they need to sell 200 paperback books at $20 ($400 gross, 50% profit) to stay in business. How does the appeal (or lack thereof) of a cheaper paperback book effect sales? Not every one of the 100 Hardback customers will want to buy a paperback copy, AND they have to find 100 more customers somewhere. One might argue that since the content (information) is the same the difference in production is minimal and thus a lowering of price will cause an increase in demand. These numbers are all spit-balled to illustrate a point.

      Since I’m not in the print business but I’m wary enough to think that it’s not that simple, LAP IS, and if they don’t do it I’m sure there are solid ideological and practical reasons why that would be a bad business decision.

      Next someone will suggest that they get the Crucible dividers machined overseas, yes the fit and finish won’t be as good but they will be $18.99 instead of what they cost to be made correctly.

  31. davevaness says:

    I believe the summary is that this customer wants a paperback version and you response is that you don’t want to do that. I believe allowing this man the chance to print a single copy and bind it himself would be a acceptable solution.

  32. Paul Dechow says:

    So don’t buy LAP books if you are so turned off by their process. I like the quality of their books, I use them in the shop, and I hope they continue doing what they are doing, and manage to make it financially worthwhile enough to continue.

  33. dslee58 says:

    (sigh) . . . and what exactly did the complainant hope to accomplish? Keep up the good work LAP. High quality and durable products, fairly priced . . . a rarity in the market place. Need one say more?

  34. Willard Anderson says:

    I for one am very appreciative of the quantity and quality of the woodworking information published by LAP. I also think that the book prices are incredibly low for hardbound books, and comparable to equally informative paperbacks (not many of those). For the latter there is in fact no real comparison because the LAP is presenting us with info that has not been available–no rehash of the SOSO. I actually do not bring my books to the workbench in general–too much clutter on the workbench s it is. I read at my desk in the shop and fully expect that the incredibly built books from LAP will last many generations (not mine, but somebody else’s!).

  35. Thanks Chris for what you do. Your blogs, books, and articles continue to help me evolve what I do. I am always pulling your books off the shelf to read – including Woodwork Magazine, which I consider a true gem. I always thinking of the concept of “Furniture of Necessity”…and yes, I know it’s pure anarchy now, but since you pitched that at WIA – it has stuck me with. I am guessing our friend is a bit stuck in his ways. Anyway…..people never cease to amaze me!

  36. Also, why not just buy an iPad or, say the $50 Nook, and then load your pdfs on to that and bring it out to the shop if you’re worried about damaging your quality-printed books?

  37. fitz says:

    You might recall that $19.96 is too expensive for 7 magazine issues…

  38. Brian Dormer says:

    Chris, John and LAP – keep up the good work. Ignore those who don’t agree with you. There are plenty of us that are behind you 110%.

  39. Brian Dormer says:

    Chris, John and LAP – Keep up the amazing work. Ignore those who disagree with you – you are doing it right. There are plenty of us who are behind you 110%

  40. ptross says:

    to say that the cheapest method of transmitting the knowledge is best is also to say that the cheapest chisel or saw is best, the paper dixie cup is best, the shelf made of concrete blocks and flat boards is best. We have all chosen these at some time, but the delivery method definitely affects the quality of the product. There is plenty of cheap woodworking info in home handyman’s guides. Probably your critic would be happier going that route.Why become a cabinetmaker at all if you see no value in durability, good materials, good workmanship and design, and results only achieved through learning and practice?
    Anyone who has pursued hand skills seriously realizes the details of how to cut a dovetail or how to forge a nail is not THE KNOWLEDGE. Hand skills are not simply a list of things that can be looked up in a reference book when needed. When I hear of teachers who have no respect for the book or the quality of the tool, I suspect they have no respect for the information itself, and perhaps even the need to teach it.
    Keep up the good work LAP, and anyone else making special things that rise above the chaff.

  41. Luke Maddux says:

    If you stop printing your books on quality materials, or if you start outsourcing to another country, I will stop buying them. I hate cheap books. The only reason I’ll buy paperback is if it’s unavailable in hardback.

  42. A few years ago when I started woodworking I was on a super strict budget and the fact that you offer a PDF version of the Essential Woodworker was so helpful. It never occurred to me to print it out because I am not a goldfish and remember stuff. Also, it totally warms my librarian heart that you offer them as DRM free files.

  43. bronzy935 says:

    LAP please don’t change a thing in your business plan, except maybe go back to teaching live classes on our side (East)
    of the pond..

  44. Christopher says:

    This is amazing and beautiful. Not the customer, forget them; I love your response. We all know the decidedly entitled Americanism that ‘the customer is always right’. This drives me batty. I can’t imagine a more elitist, self-important view of dealing with a business. Whatever it is that makes this person, or anyone for that matter, view a business or clerk or waitress or dog-walker as anything less than equally human, thus equally entitled to be treated as a human is disheartening. This person’s perspective is what it is, it’s unlikely much can be done to change that. You (at least in what you’ve printed here) don’t bend over backward offering rewards for the belligerent rant they’ve decided to bestow upon you on a Monday morning. You politely (albeit sternly) own your point of view and move on.

    Again, I just..I love it.

    From the previous comments here, I clearly speak not just for myself when I say that I’m happy to spend what I can when I can on content that is so well researched, so thoughtfully approached, and so passionately produced.

  45. Tmscott says:

    I prefer to regard your books as I do my tools. He may prefer to buy his tools at Harbor Freight, I will continue to purchase my tools (and books) from sources that I can rely on.

  46. Luke Maddux says:

    Although, with that said, I think it is a bit inappropriate to sort of publicly shame this person, albeit anonymously, for making a (very stupid and misguided) complaint. I get why you did it, but I think you probably should have taken a few deep breaths first.

    So there’s some more advice on how to run a business from someone who never has.

  47. greenebelly says:

    I just made the decision to write something in every book I’ve bought from Lost Art Press. I haven’t figured it out yet but it will be Chris’ worthy. I’ll post picks. As the same people us d to say ” keep your politics out of our bedroom.” , it seems I need to now yell ” Keep your politics off my bookshelf!”

  48. The amount that LAP has given away for free on the blog and other avenues is amazing. Also, notebooks are cheap.

  49. I call BS on this guy… I currently have a copy of Campaign Furniture covered in sawdust in my shop from being a constant resource as I’m working, and my copy of Anarchist’s Design Book is covered in notes in the margins (thank you for leaving space for that!!!). These books are meant to be used and can take the abuses for many years. Don’t change a thing (as if I needed to tell you that). 🙂

  50. steverennells says:

    I suggest a bran muffin and a large glass of prune juice.

  51. dsgoen says:

    LAP is one of the diminishing places where you can still buy quality. I appreciate that. There are so many tools that I can’t find in a quality version because of people who value price over quality and will buy junk because it is cheap.

    You don’t need whole books in the workshop; usually, you only need a page or two at a time. I built the trunk from The Anarchist’s Tool Chest by copying a page or two as I needed it in the workshop and then destroyed the copies.

    Besides, if you invest in an ebook reader ($50 bucks for a Fire, up to a grand for an iPad), you can bring your PDFs with you to the shop or anywhere else that you go. I do this all the time for the technical documentation used in my work. When it’s obsolete, I just delete it. It’s incredibly legible on my iPad, and I can do electronic searches when I don’t remember on what page something is located.

    I have a very large library (thousands of books) and it irritates the heck out of me that many of the paperback books that I need for reference are falling apart, foxing, or otherwise self-destructing. Use the library if you don’t have money for LAP books. Mine is happy to purchase books that I recommend.

    And yes, educational books cost a fortune. You are not just paying for the binding. There is printing costs, paper costs, ink costs, storage costs, transportation costs (to the publisher, not the postal that you pay to get the book), and people usually don’t appreciate working hundreds or thousands of dollars for free. The binding and paper are significant, but probably not as much as you think against all of the other charges. I’m glad LAP goes the extra distance to give me something that I can use and will last.

    Finally, you are not taking into account one of the main reasons that technical books are more expensive than your average Stephen King novel. They are spreading the costs of King’s books over millions of copies. Technical books have much smaller audiences. It’s the same reason you can buy Microsoft Office, with its millions of lines of code, for $400 and a speciality custom program can costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Volume.

    • dsgoen says:

      And editors cost money too! For example, they would have caught “people usually don’t appreciate working hundreds or thousands of dollars for free” and corrected it to “hours.” Heavy sigh.

  52. “Is it too early to start drinking?” Never! – thats why they invented the mimosa… The rational never satisfies the irrational.

  53. fatfrogdecoys says:

    Spiral bound books are all over my shop. Easy to use and open. They stay flat.
    In one case I bought both the workbook spiral bound and the more expensive version. One for the shop and the other for an evening’s read

  54. sshortphotography says:

    Keep up the good work Lost Art Press! Not only do you provide the best quality books I have ever read, you provide knowledge that would take a lifetime to acquire through traditional methods. Your team extensively researches and resurrects lost secrets & techniques of the trade. That information alone is worth $40+ bucks.

  55. fiend361979 says:

    Chris
    I am with you100%

  56. Matthew Hutchinson says:

    Fine, I’ll throw my hat into the ring. I do like a good opinion. I, so far, have purchased four books from LAP. I bought each new and at full price which says a good deal given that I have made it my personal policy to buy just about everything I can used via craigslist or ebay. In general, buying a new book is crazy to me when I can get one for half the price because someone else broke it in. Each time I bought a book from LAP I hesitated due to the price. I wanted to read The Anarchist’s Toolchest for months before I actually bought it because $40 for a book seemed ridiculous.

    Now, that all said, I haven’t regretted a single purchase from LAP and after each purchase I concluded that they are worth the premium price. Part of that thought stems from the high quality of the books and the fact that I will hold onto them for a long time and then pass them on to someone else who’s trying to learn. But part of my thought is also based on two other factors.

    First, my desire to support a small business that is trying to stay independent. I’ve worked for small businesses since I was 14, have had good and bad bosses, and am aware of the pushes and pulls that come with working for The Man.

    Second, it isn’t just the labor–we’re also paying for the skill and expertise that is required to create these products. Skills that took thousands of hours over the years to develop. Personally, I think Christopher is an excellent writer in addition to being a skilled woodworker and teacher, and that is definitely worth some money to me. In college, working for a fly shop and outfitter, I regularly heard people gasp or “call bullshit” on the ridiculously high price of fly fishing gear or a guided trip. From their perspective I get it–$500 for a day of fishing is crazy for most of us and really not affordable for most. But the people who think the price is ridiculous are entirely ignorant of the sheer amount of work and expertise that goes into the ordeal. No one in these industries is getting rich, or even getting compensated well in many cases. Most of these people are making sacrifices to work in an industry they love, and could likely be making far more money in other industries.

  57. MJ Woodcraft says:

    I might be missing something, but if this guy is wanting to take the book to the shop, would not a high quality book be what you want to take? I mean, as you pointed out, the books are not necessarily a collector’s item (although some of us may see them that way) so take it with you to the shop, mark it up, bend it, dent it…it will hold up way better than a cheap paperback.

    Sheesh…

    • Peter Czyzewski says:

      I have seen LAP books considered as collector’s items, Half Price Books had a copy of The Joiner and the Cabinet Maker for 60$ last year.

  58. roccaways says:

    Sounds like sour grapes. The commentor is not limited to the latest LAP product. There are decades of woodworking books available second hand or at the Library. Many of them are paperbacks.

  59. Cindy Trost says:

    OK – not sure why so many chose to slam the writer, particularly since I agree with his comments re: the chosen binding method. I’m not questioning the price (artisans deserve to be paid for their knowledge), but these books are for reading in a recliner, resting on a bookshelf, certainly not suited to lying open on a workbench. I vote for a spiral-bound version.
    Last observation: why must you shoot the messenger instead of trying to understand his point? He mentioned price, but I honestly don’t believe this was his primary complaint. Please be kinder with your online comments! All the gaslighting re: this teacher’s education (really?) were unnecessary. I guarantee he knows more on this subject than most of his critics in this thread.

    • I both agree and disagree with you. Personally attacking this commenter is inappropriate and, most disappointingly, expected in current society. I disagree that the books are unsuited to lying open on a workbench. This, too, is a very personal judgement for each of us who buy and use anything, but do not make the mistake of believing a spiral bound book will perform better than a well made hardcover book. Bookbinding and the care of quality bound books are fading from the cultural consciousness, just as is the skills written about in these books! How many have properly prepared their tight, freshly unwrapped hardcover books for reading? How many are even aware there is such a process? My father and grandfather were taught this in public school, but I only learned of it recently by reading an instruction book for librarians written in 1908. Oh, yes, and this was in an original, cased printing much dog-eared and noted that I found still continuously used in my local library. It still sits open flat on each page, too. Furthermore, LAP didn’t shoot the messenger in their reply; they reiterated, yet again, their fundamental vision that started the business and maintains it. I, too, had higher expectations from the commenting readership. I looked upon this posting as a way to gauge if their clientele was shifting focus; more market research than throw this guy under the bus. We all have different philosophies and values, even if they are quite similar, there will always be differences. Thank you for your reasonableness.

  60. The beauty of free market capitalism. If you make a product that costs too much, people won’t buy it. If people are buying your product, then you must be providing them with value. The PDF format is for people on a strict budget, hence going to Kinkos and printing off a copy as another reader mentioned.

    BTW, it’s collectible, not collectable. Unless you’re collecting tables. lol

  61. I’m a big fan of ‘Reclam’, a german publisher of Classic Literature. Paperbacks, thin paper, plain text, no graphics, photos, or color. The audience is Schools, Universities, and enthusiasts. They do a sterling job, and have achieved cult status. By the end of high school I owned 4 or maybe 5 of their books that were required for classes. Multiplied by 1200 pupils that’s about 5000 copies in 8 years. In our small towns high school – not across the world!

    I’m an even bigger fan of the books offered here. The physical and content quality of the books is exceptional. The target audience is small, but willing to spend what they can on wood, tools, and information – and those who can’t spend much will appreciate the option of buying a pdf. She or he shouldn’t be required to buy a paperback instead, but have that extra money for wood or tools.

    The message in ‘The Anarchist’s Tool Chest’ might be hidden to some, while with others it rings true. The How, and especially the Why behind Lost Art Press’ Philosophy is probably the same: not everyone might get it.

    Even responding to an eMail like this at all honors you as a person indeed. But it might just be a lost case. To be honest, I understand why it’s irritating.
    But: No, it’s not too early to start drinking. Not at all. Here’s a Toast, to the quality and craftsmanship offered.

  62. Eric R says:

    I couldn’t have your job Chris.
    I’d either be constantly drunk, or be in prison for murder.

  63. James Gee says:

    Some of the finest makers I know use plywood and MDF when appropriate. Their work does not lack quality. The fact is that some things are possible with plywood and MDF that are not possible with solid.

  64. Please don’t stop what you’re doing because one pee-brained idiot can’t appreciate what you do.

    I for one cannot afford to purchase many of your titles. However, the fact that you’re printing this information in such a high quality way gives me such hope that I may be able to afford a copy at a later point in my life. Also, I’m not complaining about it… 🙂

    I’m sorry that you receive these kinds of messages. This is like someone going to Elon Musk or and complaining that his cars are too expensive for the working person instead of going to a different manufacturer and buying what they can afford.

    David Hoffman

    >

  65. mwmjrodgers says:

    “Educators make knowledge more readily affordable”
    Not true! Traditionally, formal education(including books) has always been expensive and not affordable for most folks until after WWII. For some reason, education has devolved from a privilege into a right in this country which, in part, explains why so many students leave school with such a poor education. I’m not sure that affordable education has really worked out all that well. Educators make knowledge more accessible (to motivated students), perhaps, but not more affordable. But if we are going to reduce LAP books to merely a matter of dollars, then I would argue the price of the book is quite inexpensive given that my grandchildren will likely be reading them. Thanks Chris and the team for producing books worthy of the craft.

    Mike

  66. অস্থির যাযাবর says:

    First of all, I have a number of Lost Art Press books, and plan on buying more. I love the quality, the feel of the books binding, covers, and paper, and the price, while higher than most other woodworking books, do impart a sense of value to the book. These are books meant to be cherished, much like a Veritas or Lie Nielsen tool.

    That said, I don’t think all the hate this commenter is receiving is fair at all. I can access the books printed by LAP because I can afford them. My ability to afford the physical characteristics of the books lets me access the knowledge contained within. This is unlike other aspects of woodworking – for example, if I couldn’t afford a Veritas plane, I could still work wood with a cheaper vintage plane, or slum it with a WoodRiver ( 😛 ). But if I can’t afford the book, I can’t afford the knowledge.

    I understand that LAP does publishing differently because the physical characteristics of their books represent their values – long lasting, well made, locally source, highly valued. But the man/woman’s suggestion is fair…a lower priced option would open it up to more readers.

    • dsgoen says:

      I don’t think that the majority of these postings are flinging hate. I know that wasn’t my intention. I do think that the commenter is ignorant (ie, “unaware of, uninformed about”, etc) of the costs involved in producing this type of work. That’s why I suggested many alternatives that are cheaper.

      I think Tesla’s main vehicle is way too expensive for me, and even the new Tesla (for the masses!) is still a lot of money. However, Tesla would certainly be correct in pointing out to me that there are a world of good quality alternatives available to me other than their flagship automobile.

      If you are not happy with a PDF, then you probably haven’t tried them on an something like an iPad. And there are copying just needed pages. And the library. Etc.

      In fact, we may now be in the first age in history where knowledge is relatively cheap. That doesn’t mean that it should be free. I still maintain that just cheapening the paper and the binding isn’t a solution.

  67. Jim O. says:

    I just received my copies of “By Hand and Eye” and “By Hound and Eye” and I am more than okay with paying the price. Yes the prices of books on here are a little high but the quality of the content and the knowledge you will get from them far outweigh the cost. A lot of people don’t think twice about putting $30-50 in a gas tank that will last you a week but scoff at paying $40 for a book that will provide knowledge and wisdom that will last a lifetime. I hope that person is reading these comments and realizes just how much of an idiot they are.

  68. toolnut says:

    I am at a complete loss for words.

  69. Jonathan Elliott says:

    The career knowledge of an accomplished woodwork such as Jim Tolpin is not worth $40 to you?? That’s bull. I appreciate the quality LAP produces AND their support of small businesses like themselves producing quality products like you. You truly practice what you preach and it shines through. Cheap isn’t what all of us want. Thanks for what you’re doing…now go enjoy a cold one 🙂

  70. Gary Dorman says:

    John and Chris,
    I love the books you publish and have told you so before. They are not cheap but if I wanted that I would buy books from Amazon. Please don’t change a thing.

  71. jayedcoins says:

    I wasn’t going to comment until I got to the end:

    “I don’t expect you to lower the price of these items; I’m just calling bullshit on what you’re attempting to do. Educators make knowledge more readily affordable.”

    Clearly this person has paid no MFing attention to the wealth of FREE information on the craft that LAP (and associated folks) have provided in:
    – This very blog
    – Crucible Tool blog
    – The old (and still archived for reading) LAP forum
    – PWW blogs
    – Chris’s generous and frequent responses to questions on Twitter and Instagram

    And I’m certainly missing a few things.

    Also, I use these books in the shop. There is no reason not to. The fact that they are well made from quality materials makes them better for facing down shavings, dust, oil, was, etc.

  72. Larry says:

    Some books have been around long enough to hit the tertiary market.

    I found a copy of ATC atthe Goodwil outlet l bins for $2.

    • jbakerrower says:

      That would be the worst news… some woodworker died and none of his survivors cared about his skills. How sad…

      • wldrylie says:

        It happens. My family on both sides have been house wrights, coopers, tool makers, coach builders, and furniture builders documented since 1642 in London, Scotland and Germany. It will end with me. My children and Grandchildren are NOT interested in anything I do as far as building, do NOT want to participate in making anything and absolutely refuse to learn the slightest technique of any work to make anything for themselves. Of course they gladly accept the furniture I build for them and use it.
        I have asked the oldest daughter to keep my full size (28″X 28″X 42″), English chest made of Chestnut from the farm I grew up on that I completed in 1968. It is jam packed with tools from relatives through out the ages and ones I have acquired and made. It even has planes made by my Great Grandfather who was a stop hand for Mathieson plane makers in Scotland. They were examples to attain his Journeyman status. She does not want to. Like me, they are to be consigned to the flames.
        I have resigned myself to this fact, I was hoping someone in my family would look after them until someone came along who would take them up. I could not bear the thought that they would be broken up and sold so the fire I guess, is inevitable. I can only hope someone changes their mind.

        • twm says:

          When you feel that you an no longer use them please email and I will work out a way to get them down under.

        • Bruce Lee says:

          I am in a some what similar position, no close relatives at all but there are a few friends who may not be too old to appreciate some of my gear. I’d suggest trying to write a short history of the various tools that you posses – who made it or used it, what for etc. You might even contact some of the various museums and public collections to see if they are interested – one acquaintance had a mid-US University set up a museum for his collected archery equipment – he had already given away to friends most of the duplicate items or stuff that was not of academic interest (a friend has a modern bow from the collection that was used to set a World Record for flight shooting).

        • Richard Mahler says:

          I collect woodworking tools not only because I treasure the craftsmanship of the tools themselves but the obvious use marks of the generations of cabinetmakers who used and cared about them. I buy them in order to preserve them. There are museums who will want what you have, and if you can bear to have them distributed separately – if you cannot find someone who wants them all – do sell them to collectors who will appreciate them. I often buy from people who loved and respected a parent but did not share an interest in or knowledge about tools or woodcraft, so they sell to others who do. Best to do it yourself if you can.

  73. jzahn4858 says:

    As a Lost Art Press customer, and woodworker, I WANT my books to be made to the high quality and durability that LAP books are made to, and I’ll pay a higher price for it, although I consider the price to be a value for the quality LAP provides.

    I have literally beaten the hell out of my copy of Chairmaker’s Notebook in the past year. If the books weren’t made to the standard that they are, I’d have replaced this book alone at least once, more likely twice.

    Because the books are to be used, often on the workbench, by real craftspeople at work, is exactly why they NEED to be made this way.

    I LOVE the products (you guessed that already)…keep them coming!!

  74. andymckenzie617 says:

    I can understand the complaint, but I think it was worded in a way that makes it look fairly unreasonable. Personally, I’m happy to bring my copies into my shop, I just move them out before I start gluing or doing something likely to damage them. PDF versions are great, because I have an old iPad I can use in the shop, and while it’s more fragile than the book, it’s also easier to replace (especially on limited edition books, if I ever get any).

    I think a better way to phrase the original comment would be “Hey, I’d really rather be able to buy a cheaper copy for my shop, because I’m afraid I’ll damage the nice one. The PDF version doesn’t work for me, because of the way I work. Would you consider a trade paper version?”

    I agree with the rest of you, though… someone complaining about a $40 hardbound book that will last forever has never bought books for college. $200 for a math book exactly like the one I used last semester, except for some of the homework problems being different? THAT’s abusive pricing. $40 for a high-quality bound book is honestly quite reasonable.

    • djdesros says:

      While I have agreed with many of the comments on this forum I think you may have just won “most well reasoned and presented argument” with this one. The original commentary, as worded, annoyed me and prevented me from extracting any valid points, while your edit presents a brief but articulate argument I could actually get behind. I’d actually be more than happy to give the money to LAP for both a cloth bound hardcover version for my armchair bookshelf AND a ByHound-style bound copy for my shop bookshelf. I’m not exactly fussy about my books, and I have a LOT of them, so I don’t really have an issue with using my “good copy” of any of them in the shop but if there was a bundled option for a paper-bound version with the hardcover I’d totally be interested in THAT!

  75. jeremygerman says:

    I’m surprised that you responded at all.

    If preservation of the craft is this person’s number one goal, then having a PDF is far superior to a paperback.

  76. pathdoc70 says:

    I own most all of the books LAP has produced.
    Did they cost more than a used Romance novel, Yes. Did I complain, No. And why did I not complain, because I had the option not to purchase it, as I would not spend $187 for a pair of Crucible Dividers which are an excellent tool, but beyond what I can afford, and I would not pay $500 plus dollars for a truly ” collectible” Roubo edition for the same reason. I never felt that an LAP book I purchased was a ripoff. Always high quality, great content and produced to last. It was and is my choice to purchase an item at LAP or anywhere else.
    There is no You Must Purchase clause on the LAP website Store. No BS., just quality books.
    Cheers,
    Michael O’Brien

  77. Paul Sidener says:

    I was a printer for 30 years, I don’t see how the books can be so inexpensive. The difference between perfect bound and the books at LAP are night and day. I am referring back to my books on a regular basis. You do that with a perfect bound book, and it will fall apart. Then I have to go buy another, where is the savings? I don’t mind paying for quality, it is seen so rarely seen anymore. The crybaby doesn’t know the difference between profit and profit margin. No wonder kids don’t know much anymore. Teachers are not teaching them, what they need to know to succeed. Before any teachers get on me, look at the graduation rate for Chicago Public Schools. Thank God I live in the suburbs.

  78. Curtis Waskey says:

    RE: “Educators make knowledge more readily affordable”. I don’t know where he went to college, I remember the stress every year buying books for my classes. Look at the price of college books now, it is worst than in my youth. He knows nothing of the challenges faced by small business!!!! I grin when I hear someone comment on the high prices for L-N tools. I talked to Tom once and told him I didn’t see how he could do it so reasonably. The reader is entitled to his opinion but he does it with the confidence that comes with ignorance!!!

  79. Jim Maher says:

    I don’t agree that “A book is meant to be used up.”

    Maybe in schools where the student doesn’t really care about the content and no one believes that any but the rarest student will retain and use the knowledge imparted. But that ain’t me (right now) and I don’t believe that’s the customer LAP is (and should be) trying to serve.

    I actually DO collect books, and some of my favorites contain judicious annotations by previous owners. Such marks make me consider a passage more carefully, and ponder why it was important to the person making note. I’ve gotten some insights from such marks, and I appreciate the contribution. But I’ll note that such markings seem to have been made with judgement and restraint. And that’s what I strive for in books I mark. I’m leaving notes for a future reader (who might be me), not cramming for a test I hope to forget in a week.

    I enjoy using my LAP books, both for general background AND for reference. My ATC does show evidence of my constant perusal, but it remains structurally sound and attractive. I expect it will for at least a few generations.

    Several people have suggested solutions to the original poster (Kinko’s the PDF, perhaps spiral bound, use other resources, etc.).

    I believe it’s just a disconnect between visions of the LAP mission. Me, I see the mission as dissemination of time-honored and time-worthy knowledge – packaged to last a good long time. It seems the original poster sees a shorter-term and cheaper solution as more important. I hope LAP continues to satisfy MY vision.

  80. Maybe I should not tell this. But when I, a swede living in Sweden, buy LAP books I am embarassed. Comparing to what a book of that quality cost here, it is a bargain. But we do not have such extraordinary publications in this subject here! I am not saying that I can buy whatever and how much I want from the publications, far from it. I am hankering, longing for the books and try to choose the most important books for me. I am a cabinetmaker, mostly working as a carpenter on a public museum. As a public employment my salary is low (but safe). And we tax over 50% here (but we also get about the best health insurance in the world for that, even if we are not free to choose). I am happy with the standard of the books. I appreciate that the books hold together when in the shop, and not fell apart after one year as paperbacks do. I appreciate that it stays open when I open it up, which paperpack never do. I bought the three Roubo books, standard editions, with the feeling that I robbed you to your bare bones. Even if it took me more than a months extra to save for them. When I put together a chair I know it will last for at least 200 years. That is about the feeling with your books. They sing together with my efforts in the craft. Continue to keep up the standard! Your publications will be legendary, and the books will keep value for a very very long time! That is something to consider for us, your readers.

  81. Roger Benton says:

    Some folks just don’t get it.

  82. Jeremy says:

    I’m fairly certain that the important bits of all LAP books are available freely in blog posts and in many cases in public domain books that are often cited/excerpted here. PDF’s are available on several devices that I take into the shop, not just on a desktop computer (which I don’t have anyway). The truly frugal consumer student of the craft can take notes and organize them as required and as has been done for centuries.

  83. kaunfried says:

    I dont understand what he’s going on about. I have a copy of the anarchist toolchest that was skimmed through in the shop, read in the tub well ive read it through about 10 time. You can tell that it is read and not in a library setting. But it is still solid. It has gone thru what has destroyed paper backs. This was money well well, did i mention well spent. My grand son will be able to read this book and not have to worry about it falling apart. Don’t change a thing, please.

  84. jpassacantando says:

    My copy of the Anarchist Design Book was 47 bucks. It’s build like a tank and has taken a beating in my shop where it is my Bible. I love how sturdy it is and that it is holding up. A typical softcover book would look like a pinwheel by now. The hardcover is a great value. I feel that way about the other books I have purchased from LAP too. Plus, I am supporting a small business that I want to thrive and publish more interesting books. Conversely, I feel lousy about all the books I have purchased so cheaply from Amazon. Yes, they were inexpensive to me and arrived fast. But buying cheap destroyed my local bookshops and now Amazon knows more about me than my wife does. Not a great deal. Michael Pollan the food writer says, eat less meat, better meat. With LAP I am trying to read fewer but better and more quality books.

  85. Jeff Hanna says:

    I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say the profit margin per book is what? 15%? So that’s about $6 per book. Consider that it takes at least a year, probably longer for most titles to make it to print…that’s not a lot of money for the amount of work put in to producing one.

    I can understand criticizing the format if you don’t like it (I like the cloth bound format), but to try and say that it’s done to increase profit margins is laughable. Hell, if they really cared about profits, they wouldn’t be so adamant about printing their books in the USA.

  86. Sean Cotter says:

    Get thee to a public library.

    • Richard Mahler says:

      I am all for public libraries – even ebooks – certainly used books – yet the problem is that some books are subjects published once and in limited numbers because the interested audience is also limited, therefore most public libraries will not invest. I am a person for whom 90% of the books I wish to own will not be found in most libraries. I don’t mind paying a good price for a book but the thing that really burns me are the sellers – and they are everywhere – who get hands on a book for next to nothing, discover that the $40 book is out of print after ten or fifteen years, and then ask $250 to $1200 for something they have virtually nothing invested in. There is a difference between a collector book, which most such books are not! – and just goudging the consumer!

      • Jeff Faulk says:

        Someone donated a beautiful full 4 volume set of ‘The Practical Woodworker’ to my local library. The green hardcovers from Pop Woodworking, you know?

        They were going to SELL the books rather than keep them, because ‘we don’t have the shelf space’.

  87. therapyjeb@gmail.com says:

    I love how he glosses over the fact that his argument is fundamentally flawed because you make the books more affordable by releasing a PDF version. It’s amazing to me how people get so worked up about small businesses. If only they knew what it takes to keep the lights on… Keep up the good work ya’ll.

  88. Richard Mahler says:

    I am a collector of fine books, but I also use my books – if by “use” you mean read, reread and refer to them, and on occasion even lend them to those I trust to respect them. The nicer a book is in terms of material and binding, the better I like it, even if sometimes I cannot afford some of them. As to the idea that books are only to be used in terms of abuse – beating them to a pulp, writing all over the pages, subjecting them to environments that guarantee they will be grungy or torn – I should wonder that there are any books still in existence that are more than forty years old! I have spent many days and months of my life trying to acquire books that have gone out of print. The legacy of publishing and ideas depends on a high regard for both. There is little in the material world I care more for than sitting down with a fine book with great music as an accompaniment. They are as much art and craft as fine furniture, paintings, sculpture and all the other crafts of hand and mind. They are what make life and the companionship of others worthwhile.

  89. James Blackwood says:

    I’m really looking forward to my children learning via the same books I have. In fact that’s put a smile on my face just now as I think of it.

  90. John Hippe says:

    Just ordered another book.

  91. Mark Allen says:

    The satisfaction … this person will continue to patronize LAP; there is no equivalent to what you guys are doing. I find it ironic that he suggests that preservation of the craft would be done through cheaply printed and bound materials. Maybe you guys should put out a ‘Capitalist Anarchist’ book … how to reject the establishment and its institutions … and make tons of money doing it. Thanks for the chuckle Mr Schwarz

  92. Simon says:

    $40 might seem a lot in the days of Amazon and deep discounting, but it really isn’t. I went to university in 1976 and my Law books were anything between £10 and £15 then, so quite a bit more than $40 in today’s money. They were all paperback and fell, apart pretty quickly with the use they got.

    I bought the Anarchist tool chest and design book in electronic form because I live in the UK. I’d love them in book form but it wasn’t really practical but I’d happily buy them next time I’m over the pond, provided our idiot politicians haven’t total trashed the pound by then!

  93. Daniel Roy says:

    The writer could have simply asked why Chris didn’t publish less expensive, paperback versions of Lost Art Press books. Chris did not answer that question.

    • Jeff Faulk says:

      That has been answered here; he would have to publish more, and people would have to BUY more, for him to break even. The fact is Chris DOES publish a cheaper version: the PDF, which he has stated you are free to treat any way you wish as long as you don’t put it online or attempt to make a profit off it yourself.

    • “The writer could have simply asked why Chris didn’t publish less expensive, paperback versions of Lost Art Press books. Chris did not answer that question.”

      It’s difficult to answer questions that aren’t asked.

      If you are asking this question, and I assume you are, the reason we don’t publish paperbacks is that the durability of a book is one of the things that is most important to me as a publisher and a person (I actually have a reason for this attitude, but it is too bizarre to discuss in public).

      And before the internet revolts, we published “By Hound and Eye” in paperback at the insistence of the authors – and over my objection.

      As for our other titles, why not *also* offer them in paperback? Money. We are a tiny company (two people). And paying for two press runs for a book is simply not an option for us. And, of course, I dislike paperbacks. So that’s why.

      I know it doesn’t seem like a good reason, but there it is.

      Chris

      • andymckenzie617 says:

        “I know it doesn’t seem like a good reason, but there it is.”

        Oh, I don’t know. “It’s my company and I don’t want to, and even if I did want to we couldn’t afford it” sounds like a pair of pretty good reasons to me.

        One of the things that seems really weird to me these days is that business owners don’t get to make decisions about what they want to do without being hassled about it. (Note: I’m not talking here about discrimination, that’s a different and unrelated discussion. I’m talking about “I only want to manufacture these in red” or “I don’t want to print paperbacks” or “I don’t like this brand of beer so I’m not going to sell it.”) One of the draws of running your own business is, I assume, the ability to do things the way you want them done, rather than the way your boss wants them done. Sure, you might lose some customers, but so what? Beer companies lose sales by not selling lemonade to people who don’t like beer. Same thing.

      • wakedad says:

        Best reason yet.. You don’t like paperbacks and it gets to be your decision. As a parent I have always said that “because I said so” is a perfectly good reason. Keep it up and don’t let any of the naysayers change you. (Isn’t that the whole “anarchist” thing anyway?)

  94. Greg O'Neill says:

    The original “comment from reader”, the response, and the subsequent flow of comments from other blog readers need to be printed, leather-bound, and sold to psychology and management students for $40. I deal with this every day in work: Someone comes up with an idea for improvement but announces it by saying “Why on earth haven’t you people already done this, are you mind-numbingly stupid?” Then the group circles the wagons and flings dirt at him. The idea – which may or may not have had some merit – gets buried, and everyone goes to get a beer.

    Oh, and over the beer the classic mantra that has guided civilization, governments, and religions to where we are today gets stated “Ignore those who disagree with you.” Yes, it’s up there in the comments. (And sorry for flinging dirt at whoever said it – I admit I’m a total hypocrite.)

  95. banjogreg says:

    Or, stated much more simply and effectively: “what Daniel Roy just said.”

  96. danielxarmenta says:

    Well, I guess I’ll have to be the one to end the Lost Art Press love fest ensuing above. Before that, first let me say that I am a fan of LAP. I think you do great work. I think your books are fantastic and the time and energy you put into what amounts to invaluable lessons to the woodworking community, is unmatched. Are your prices high? Yes. Are those prices fair for what your offering? Yes. I think that providing the option for someone to purchase a PDF file pretty much solves the problem this person was pointing out. They may not like that solution, but for me, it works.

    Here’s my problem and a couple of other folks above mentioned it as well: I’m assuming the original comment was sent to you over email. If that assumption is correct, I take issue with you posting it in this blog post. This reader expressed an opinion to you in private and that opinion has now been fed to the readers of this site to be chewed up and spit out. Not cool.

    Here’s the thing. I can’t imagine what it must be like to pour your heart and soul into something only to have someone ask for it for a bargain. It must suck and and I can understand why you lashed out. I just wish you hadn’t.

    • Whose privacy did we invade?

      This letter is one example of what John and I endure daily. We put it up here as a reminder to ourselves. The woman or man wasn’t named or shamed. So I fail to see a lapse in trust or confidence. For all you know we made it up (we didn’t). Or it was a composite (it’s not). Or it was written by the pope (probably not). It’s a disembodied attitude that we have to endure day in and day out.

      Sorry if it offended.

  97. Jeremie says:

    I have programming books far more expensive, with less content and crappy quality paper and cover. And they can barely go through the years without losing pages, because the back of the book is poorly made. I wish all thoses books had even half the quality we get here…

    Long story short, thanks for publishing books with so much, both in content and quality.

  98. Bruce Brittain says:

    Well, it has been a long day of comments and replies. I am an admirer and subscriber because of Chris. It is never too early to start drinking especially with good friends or good cause. I toast the poor SOB who has to question your faithfulness to your beliefs and your convictions. (It is now 5:05 pm CDT in case the castigators crawl out).
    I reviewed the website and there are only 3 books over $43 on the website. Every one of them is worth the investment if that floats your boat. I am of the mind to buy my first book just because of the idiot who aligns himself with cheaper is better.
    Wouldn’t you say the Anarchist’s Design Book would fit the best?
    I honestly get enough inspiration, motivation and advice from one of Chris’ posts to outweigh all but two or three college and post-grad prof’s entire semesters of blather
    Cheers Chris

    Bruce

  99. Joshua Brackett says:

    Perhaps in your 4 decades as a teacher you didn’t have many text books to purchase. Routinely, text books for educational purposes are among the most expensive genre of books published and have been for well over 4 decades. The average cost of a text book is well over $40 and more often than not well more than that used.
    Are LAP books more expensive than other woodworking or craft books. Yep. In most cases they are yet not in all cases.
    Be sure to post here, your letter to Levi’s griping they cost too much when other jeans are SO much cheaper. I mean if they really wanted people to wear clothes they’d be producing them cheaper right? Secretly pushing nudist colonies I bet.
    Smoke a joint and/or get laid.
    Sincerely,
    Book reader & purchaser for over 4 decades.

  100. luce32 says:

    I am cheap. I buy a book and read it. Then I go back to it over the years. If it is made on the cheap it will have pages that break up until they are dust. As a cheap guy I do not like that. I’d rather pay a little more and have it a few years later when I’m looking for info. Besides, look at the paper back books – they are $35 a peace. I’ll go the extra $5.00.

  101. Bruce Brittain says:

    Oh crap, I just ordered the Anarchist’s Design Book and it was $47 with free shipping. If I would only have known that you misrepresented your store by showing the PDF price, then I could have spent $35 dollars copying my friends book at Kinkos or buying the PDF for $23.50. BIG WINK Chris!! My books, including yours will get very marked up and dusty.
    Doesn’t that prof (maybe) know that all students spend a fortune buying used books and still regret it?

    Thanks for the website and the wisdom
    Now I will be addicted to collecting books AND tools
    such is my fate.

  102. Ryan Denney says:

    As an educator myself, and a former librarian, it was the quality of product that Mr Schwarz and the rest of Lost Art Press put out that drew me to the craft. If the gentleman is so concerned with cheaper paperbacks then the market has a plethora of options to choose from. LAP has put out a high quailty product made in America, that will stand up to the riggers of the shop and will still hold together. I honestly feel it is more irresponsible to invest in cheap books the same as I would not invest in cheap tools. Both will not be very useful if passing on the craft is so important to him since they would not be around. Let us also remember that the information found in those works are part of someone’s IP and therefore we do not have a right to that IP free of charge. Finally, again if price is such a concern the head down to your local public library and check out a copy for yourself. But let’s not throw stones at a small business owner because their philosophy does not match up with yours. So I say keep doing what you are doing and I look forward to my next trip to Covington to invest in another fine LAP title. Remember, you get what you pay for.

  103. Tyler Denham says:

    Vomit, I’ve never commented on here before but have consumed the wonderful and free content for years, thank you Chris and all those whose efforts make that possible. I remember reading a post from Paul Sellers that his first plane cost him a weeks wages and he still has the plane, considers the transaction a bargain. To the notion that $40+ represents a villainous profit motive I call B*%**@$t, probably less than minimum wage. 530 pm in Milwaukee, well into the days drinking hours, cheers.

  104. BMork says:

    The knowledge we have of traditions is often, though not always, available to us via sources w/ bindings which endure. To get past the consumer culture of once and done, and to truly make help the craft endure, HB is the way to go. I have cookbooks that are paperbacks (instruction manuals), worthless to pass on to the next generation.

  105. leeboyz86 says:

    I’m happy to say that I get what I bargained for when I buy Lost Art Press books. Some people say you get what you pay for, but I say you don’t get what you don’t pay for. Sure, the books do cost a bit more than average, but I think LAP is very good value. If the self-described educator wants a cheap paperback, there are PLENTY of options. What makes him think he has the right to tell you how to run your business and what standards to use? If he’s really committed to what he says, he should start his own publishing company.

  106. Richard Mahler says:

    Quality book publishing and binding, believe it or not, took the deep dive into mediocrity and a short life when the world’s population became literate but barely making a living. The publishers had a huge market that could only be served by finding every means of producing cheaply: sulphite pulpwood paper, cheap pastes and adhesives, thin cardboard, inexpensive cloth or paper covers and progressively less stitching. This served to dramatically boost education levels but, like most industries, when much of the population’s standard of living rose the industry saw not an opportunity to sell a better quality product but a means to only make greater profits by continuing such practices. It is true that by the latter 20th century, publishers understood that acidic, unbuffered paper pulp was the reason why a century of books were literally turning to dust, almost all book paper is now of fair quality. It is just too bad that quality binding does drive costs beyond what most consumers are willing to pay. This is the reason why I took up bookbinding using trafitional hand methods and the best archival materials available including leathers: a book that is well-printed on good paper but without a quality cover (the only binding it may come in) can be dismantled, stitched and given the lasting and beautiful cover it deserves!

  107. The deluxe aside, I always thought LAP books were pretty cheap. Given the information contained in ATC for example, the price was a joke and Chris could easily have charged me double. Hell, how many here spend $40 to fill their car/truck/van? Anyway, back to the original complaint – buy the pdf, print it, and stop bitching.

  108. adumbiam says:

    And I heard you hate tail vises too!

  109. Steve says:

    I think the complaining guy is showing his collectivist mindset. Boy did he poke the wrong nest.

  110. Israel Katz says:

    I would be interested to know at what institute he/she? teaches at. I went to unie 40 years ago and my books cost more than half my tuition. A paperback is fine as something you read once and throw away. For reference give me a hard me a hard cover I can weigh down – open, put comments in the margins and still be around if and when my grandkids wish to copy one of Pops “masterpieces.” You should see the inside of one my wife’s and mine fav “reference” cookbooks ($40+ 35 yrs. ago). Teachers on the whole get a salary above average for a reason and most of them do collect a wage. If you want free instructions hunt the web, otherwise be prepared to pay for it. Most woodworkers and a lot of them are pretty good ones are not rich and are just making a living. If they took the time money and effort to write on the subject they should be rewarded. It ends up a relatively small return for the effort in anyway. No, I’m not writer or married to one
    Arie

  111. Heck, I’ve paid $40 for softcover books. And I’ve seen hardcover books go for far more than $40. $40 for a lifetime product is a bargain.

  112. Doug says:

    Ugh. Some people don’t like nice things. I assume this guy uses harbor freight tools only so he can stick it to the MAN!

    And a rule to live by: Buy good and buy once.

    Please keep making good books my kids can’t tear up!

  113. Toolnut says:

    In the first paragraph, the original poster correctly states that “books are meant to be used and consumed…bent, highlighted.” etc. He loses me when he says these (everyday LAP books) are collectors items because they have heavy weight paper and cloth binding. Isn’t that exactly how you would want a book that is to be used everyday and beat up to be constructed? At this price point and the fact that LAP has said repeatedly stated that almost all of their titles will be available as long as they are in business doesn’t qualify them as collector items. Students pay a lot more for text books that they will never use again than the price LAP charges for their books. As to paperback books, I have some other books by other artisans that yes I got cheaper because they were paperback, but almost all of them have loose pages and it drives me nuts every time I open one up and a page falls out. And these are not getting heavy use. Just cheap glue bindings. If I have a book I am going to go back to fairly often, I personally prefer hardcover.

    Also, Chris did a video on how to open the binding so it would stay flat when open. I couldn’t find it and if Chris is reading this, would you please post the link?

  114. nordichomey says:

    Basis the number of comments I think this person actually did LAP a favor. Little reverse marketing

  115. Sean Hynes says:

    Or they could just do what I do. Purchase PDFs when the books come out, print out the bits you need for reference in the workshop, and then put my favourite books on my birthday/Fathers Day/Christmas wishlist.

    If people are concerned about the availability of knowledge, lobby your local library to carry LAP books. That way they are available for free to anyone who can’t make the purchase.

  116. robimatt says:

    Maybe the disenchanted feelings of another paper back novelist who at one time dreamed of writing the great American novel only to languish in misery and despair of repeated failure,striking out at those who have gained the success he has so deeply desired. I duno but that is how it might be written as a movie character played by William Shatner. He might have said how do you value the effort you spend on web based writings such as free blog content vs the effort spent on printed and bound content which in his thoughts is very nicely presented in the wonderful but to him expensive books when the material could be presented in a pdf. form which some Lost Art Press books already are at a lower cost. The retort..OVERHEAD, it ain’t cheap researching roman benches dammit.
    Maybe it could have went like that……
    Yes I pay the $19.96 cause cats gotta eat…

  117. Blake says:

    Please don’t lower the quality of your books. I love to share my books and I’m glad they can read, studied and used vigorously. I wish they were soft leather bound, that would’ve so awesome.

  118. Lyn Baker says:

    If you don’t like the price, don’t buy the book. Don’t bitch about it, just go away and have a nice day! I deal with the same people. Frankly, I neither need nor want their business.

  119. I understand his plight, these books are expensive. So is gathering the information in these books. What LAP is doing is bringing back lost information, reintroducing us to hand tool woodworking. As long as these books interest me I will continue to dig deep and buy their books. I think the books are beautiful and I will be able to pass them on, keep up the good work LAP.

  120. Chris says:

    This person obviously has no clue. I’ve had to buy college text books in paper back for three times the price, and those books are not built to last. I buy these books because they are built like a tank and provide invaluable information to the hobby I enjoy. I hope these last for generations to come and I am able to pass them on. I also support Chris and his team for all of the hard work that they put into this line of business as it’s not always the most profitable. I buy his books, tools and his daughters products to support our craft. You can always buy the PDF versions of you prefer and highlight them in adobe, use a laptop in your shop etc. I completely appreciate the value that you receive buying his books, the work that went into creating them and the reward of what’s in them goes far beyond the small cost.

  121. John says:

    I think having the ebook copies helps a lot. The LAP catalogue IS expensive but is worth it. Being able to buy them as PDFs and printing a copy for personal use helps offset that by a lot.

    Hope you don’t mind. I’ve bought all of mine hardcover, except for hound and eye (so I could draw in my copies guilt-free). I think eventually I’ll buy a proper copy to cherish forever.

  122. Chris Decker says:

    If I actually read through all of the comments on this post, it would be the longest thing I’ve read since finishing The Anarchist’s Tool Chest for the 3rd or 4th time a few months ago. I like you guys, and I am more than happy to support you when my wife says I’m allowed to.

  123. richmondp says:

    I’ve just expressed my feelings on this matter by ordering Make a Joint Stool From a Tree. Just the nudge I needed.

  124. Don says:

    As my father use to say, “F*ck’em!”

  125. sugardoc says:

    In order to cater to the “paperback crowd” you could start Cheap Rag Art Press…

  126. manitario says:

    Quality costs money. Quality also tends to save money in the long run. I want to buy books that will last my lifetime and that can be enjoyed by others when I die. Same reason I save for quality tools. I’ve wasted more money in my life by buying cheap crap than I ever have buying quality.

  127. Hank Cohen says:

    My copy of The Anarchist’s Toolchest, spent many hours in the shop getting dirtied and dinged while I built the big box. Now it lives on a more civilized bookshelf where it will be there for my children or grandchildren when they are ready to read it. I’m glad it was built to last. So few things are these days.

  128. sirlurkcalot says:

    If I wanted a few hours light reading I would buy a cheap paperback. Read it. Then give/throw it away.
    I want a book I can read, re-read multiple times, refer back to in future and eventually pass it on to my grandchildren.
    That’s why I buy, and will continue to buy LAP books.
    The only possible reason I can come up with for this gentleman’s comments is ‘This bloke is an idiot’!
    You keep producing products you are proud to sell. I’ll keep working hard to save up to own books I know will outlast me.

  129. Sorry for the negative comments. I think they missed your point not once but a second time. I have “nice” books even signed by the author that I have marked up. I don’t feel a bit bad about it.

    Keep up the good work!

  130. Bruce Lee says:

    Illegitimi non carborundum 😉
    I’ve made a few comments above attached to other people’s comments. If you want a good laugh and insight on book publishing, see if you can find a copy of Ben Bova’s ‘Cyberbooks’. First published in 1989 it is also majorly prophetic of the rise of the e-book and self publishing – just strap your self into your seat so you don’t fall on the floor laughing.

  131. ericfromdayton says:

    I also find it interesting that few quality books are produced in the United States of America for woodworkers. LAP is showing the rest of the world how to do it right. Based on the comments above, I seriously doubt many would buy a paperback version if the hardbound were also available.

    I wonder if the original poster is reading all these comments and saying to themselves: All these idiots just don’t get it. Perhaps. But I hope to remain this way for the rest of my life.

  132. Craig Regan says:

    I feel for the guy. In my early days I used to buy loads of Dover books. They were cheap paper backs, covering all sorts of woodworking topics – from sculpture and carving to Art Neuvo furniture. For under $10.00, I could aways find something interesting and never had to worry about being abused in a workshop environment.

  133. Lou Robbio says:

    Books are books. Some better than others. LAP books are interesting and educational. I use the LAP books I have purchased from LAP frequently, unlike the books I had to purchase in law school- hundreds of dollars for a book and used one semester never to be revisited again. Education has a cost. If you do not like the price of a book, video or other materials that took a great deal of research and effort to produce do not purchase them. It is that simple. I would pay the price again for Roman Workbenches (my heritage), The Anarchist’s Tool Chest and The Woodworker: Volume I.

    I am sure that if LAP could produce a quality book or other item for woodworkers at a lower price point it would do so, so long as the price point allows them to stay in business and make a reasonable profit.

  134. Michael Tebalt says:

    I’m so amused by the length of this discussion. I just couldn’t be without commenting. LAP is a market endeavor. If they price the book wrong, make the book too high quality, make it too low quality, then they will fail to profit. The market, which are the consumers, make the decisions ultimately. Not sure what this guy “calls bullshit” on.
    Keep up the good work guys.

  135. smkindem says:

    Can’t wait to get my deluxe Roubo!!

  136. alexpacin says:

    While I disagree with the person’s argument, the piling-on in the comments seems a bit excessive. But, you know, it’s the internet, so… Only commenting here to say that I like how Chris presented the exchange. He let the writer have the last word, as it were. This blog continues to offer refreshing perspectives and a solid ethos.

  137. edfurlong says:

    Just wanted to make the point that one of the less obvious values of LAP books for me is pure esthetic and sensory pleasure, never mind the great information and quality production. I just like opening, holding, touching the good paper, smelling the fresh book scent, oh ok I am a wing nut but I have always loved books as books, the object themselves. The LAP books we use and enjoy are made to the highest quality standards of the best small presses for literature. That the LAP books are bringing me further into developing craft skills as woodworker is an essential, but not the only, pleasure in buying them.

    Oh, and by the way I am a tightwad; and if I think they are a good deal, they really are! Consider that a paperback edition of current poetry (typically ~100 or so pages) made on commercial (not archival quality) stock with a simple paper binding costs ~$20. Just one example.

  138. Craig Regan says:

    Public shaming and humiliation because the poor guy wanted a paperback version?

  139. Tobin says:

    I can’t pretend to have read all the comments, but my two thoughts:

    1. I think the sheer number and tone of comments here tells the story about who LAP’s audience and how we feel about LAP and their standards. Do your thing. There’s too much cheap garbage that’s worth exactly what you pay for it.

    2. The next time I’m in a high-end bespoke furniture gallery I’ll whip out this exchange as a reference for how to brow beat them into selling me an MDF and melamine knock-off of their original designs at a much more affordable price point in the interests of spreading their vision to the masses.

    I’m sorry you guys get hit with this so often, but so glad you don’t internalize it. Do your thing. It’s your thing we love. It’s the way you do your thing that we can’t get anywhere else.

  140. Spencer Stricklin says:

    I won’t take sides, but kudos for publishing this exchange and allowing comments on it.

    Also if it’s too early to start drinking, you’re wrong.

  141. alanws says:

    I disagree vehemently with the contention that books are to be consumed. I have many old books that have lasted longer than previous owners, and I expect will outlast me. They were and are much used. I have studied from many books without damaging them.

    Not every book is well suited to every use, and I know others use books differently from the way I do. To me, margin notes are fine, but I hate highlighting, bending, and other damage to books. The OP clearly feels strongly the other way, but does not seem to be making a persuasive argument for LAP, which has its own idiosyncracies.

    If you need to mark up a text substantially, it may be worth using an ereader that allows that with a pdf.

  142. Niels Cosman says:

    Please tell me more about publishing and selling books….
    (Holy f-ing hell)

  143. Brian Brazil says:

    To me, the philosophy of LAP is quality. The members and authors recommend and produce high quality tools and create high quality books. I enjoy using high quality tools and knowing that they will last for generations. Similarly, I enjoy having high quality books and knowing they will last for generations. I’ve bought enough crap quality softcover woodworking books in my lifetime, I don’t need any more.

  144. Jon the Choirboy says:

    Wow, a lot of comments. I just wanted to mention that, as an educator myself, I don’t have much extra cash laying around to buy overpriced books. Which is why I buy from LAP when I can (not as often as I’d like). I buy from LAP for two reasons:
    1. If something is worth buying (as opposed to just checking it out from the library and reading it once, or even twice) then I expect it to LAST. I don’t have enough money to continually re-buy books I have “consumed.”
    2. Because of my religious beliefs, I have a significant amount of emotional conflict about supporting the systems that enable the oppression and exploitation of underpaid or slave labor. I will gladly pay more to support manufacturing from countries that pay a living wage and do not have histories of human rights violations.
    If LAP cheapens their product or moves productions to cheaper, less ethical countries, I will no longer buy their products. I applaud your choice to produce a superior product; there is so much trash out there that your exceptionally high quality (both in content and production quality) is the only reason to buy your books.

  145. denvergeorge says:

    ATC started me on a road from power tools to hand tools. My woodworking is now a true joy. A further dividend is that my granddaughter got into woodworking. She hates the noise and danger of power tools, but has loved hand tools from the first time she picked up one of my planes. To me the price of LAP books is ridiculously low given the joy it has brought me and the true pleasure of having a shop buddy. Also, my LAP books will go to my granddaughter along with my tools when I’m no longer around. As with good tools that last generations, LAP books provide a heritage. You can’t put price on that.

  146. turdfighter says:

    Why would you publish this?

    You don’t seem to be the type that craves attention from the masses. You are quite intelligent and I am sure understand the comments will be nothing but praise for LAP.

    • Several reasons:

      1. We fight this attitude every day. It wears down the people who do customer service. Sometimes we wonder if we’re doing the right thing or if we are just pigheaded.

      2. The reader’s comment is very typical, and we sometimes wonder if we should open up a discussion and hear from others.

      3. So after bottling up the dissent for many years, we decided to post this very typical comment and see what the reaction was. If the overwhelming response had been: This guy is right; your hardback books are excess – then we would be forced to listen and think.

      So no, we actually didn’t expect a lot of affirmation. This is a tough business. Woodworkers are cheap.

      • turdfighter says:

        Thanks for the response. I figured 99% of the grief you get is on the crucible side (those dividers are well worth the price).

        If it helps, people don’t want to pay for working software either.

  147. Michael says:

    Behind you, Chris and John, 100%. Can’t believe you face this attitude everyday. I am so grateful for the work you do and the way you do it, and I happily back that up with my checkbook. I hope the positive comments here give you affirmation of your approach.

  148. jglen490 says:

    The original commenter, whoever he/she is, does have a point and one pounced upon almost immediately by the responders. There are some books that have an inordinately high price point, compared to the quantity sold – and perhaps the quality of content. The point is that, as any business person can tell you, certain products like books have a fixed per unit base cost plus provision for an appropriate return to the creator(s) of the content. The rest above that is profit. When a lot are sold, the profit per unit can be small and still have a large value as profit. The opposite is also true.

    Probably already been said, and certainly implied; LAP is on the small end of that equation. The quality of the content is also high – a have few LAP books – as is the joy of the writing style. I can’t afford some LAP products, so I don’t feel bad about not buying them. There are some that are on my to get list, and they will be gotten.

    To call BS on a small company like LAP for producing products that appeal to an audience having a variety of interests, and having a variety of pricing points is in fact BS.

    Thank you Chris for venting, and allowing an open conversation.

  149. OldJoe says:

    My son started reading my pristine copy of the Anarchist’s Tool Chest, without regard to it’s crispy state. Upon seeing it weeks later it had a comfortable lived in look. A paperback would have fallen apart. Now I can use the book without trepidation. I’d like to imagine my grandson using it.

  150. jdmetz says:

    I would simply tell anyone who thinks the Lost Art Books merch is expensive to check into what college textbooks and other required readings will set you back. I am an historian by training and many of the academic presses and small- batch printings will set you back a great deal more than LAP is charging.

  151. Josh says:

    Please keep doing what you are doing and point this misguided soul to any of the several other publishers that make educational woodworking texts. I understand his point; there should be a home depot of publishers (and there are many) but I for one appreciate my local hardware store where I can buy many specialty items not available elsewhere.

    Thanks for being woodworking’s local store with all the things people can’t find elsewhere. And please don’t ever let this kind of rant change what you are doing for the woodworking community.

  152. Kevin says:

    I think I’ll go buy two of your books after reading this. I happen to really like them. 😀 Thank you for what you do.

    Kevin

  153. Greg Mayhew says:

    Why doesn’t the customer print his own from the PDF…problem solved….or is that too simple of an answer?

  154. On the weekend I went into Carbatec to buy a reamer so I could build a campaign chair. While there I found the Lost Art book on campaign furniture. Tucked it under my arm and then got a discount going out that I had not asked for. I was excited and my wife was excited. What an excellent complete, researched book. If I want to know how to set up my lathe I wont buy a book i’ll just watch youtube. What this book provides is context, knowledge and research. Lucky I found it on the same day i started the build. Please keep up the good work.

  155. I stumbled on this post, but I think the original poster’s point was, “why don’t you publish in paperback to give readers a lower-cost choice?” I appreciate the candor in posting this, and the poster was not very clear, but neither was the response.

  156. Baffling.

    I have purchased the PDF versions of Anarchist Design Book, the Anarchist Tool Chest, and Robert Wearing’s book. They were a bargain at that cost. I also purchased the ATC and Wearing’s book in hardcover because I liked them so well. I’ve paid for the physical copies of Woodworking in Estonia, which is an absolute steal at $29, and Jim Tolpin’s book too. This guy is complaining because, well, I don’t know, it is America and it is his right, I guess. But it isn’t like these things come cheaply to publish and I doubt Chris is throwing hundred dollars bill on his bed and rolling on them because of it.

    The content alone is worth the printed price. If you go to the big internet book seller and look at most paperback woodworking books, they cost at least $20-25 from the good publishers. A decent New York Times #1 best seller hardbound book is at least $20-25 at the news stand. LAP offers Robert Wearing’s and Jim Tolpin’s books in all hardbound glory for $29 and this guy complains? Just wild. The Anarchist Tool Chest and Design books are easily worth the money you pay.

    I’m kind of glad Chris called this guy out. He offers an excellent made in the USA product that has sometimes been dug out from the depths of a foreign library, they edit it and painstakingly translated into a form that can be easily read and consumed in the United States, and then they processes your order and ship it for free. Aside from that alone, the LAP has amazing customer service. I’ve received my products in less than a week. I notice that LAP had some trouble with a Studley poster it sold earlier this year so they reprinted it and shipped it out again. Some people will never be happy, but this guy is a customer you do not want.

  157. While I don’t agree w/ the person being quoted (love books too much), did want to take this opportunity to ask when there would be a second/corrected reprinting of _Virtuoso_? In the meanwhile, could we at least get the excerpt at: https://lostartpress.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/virtuoso_excerpt.pdf fixed to have the right photo at the top of pg. 70? (pg. 16 in the PDF) Currently it shows a repeated photo of the flat pliers, but should be of “Two Pairs of Jeweler’s Pliers”.

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