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Bison Books Ltd. - The Sequel

· Fine Book Collecting,Bison Books Limited,Taschen,Samurai,Armour

When I finished last week’s musing, I had no thoughts about writing a sequel. But it is so. If you read last week’s musing, you will recall that I was taken by the fact that the first 3 books, that I identified as Bison Books, were all the same size and shape, (1990 – 1992). Only later to discover, I had a Bison Book from 1988 that was smaller in size – Arms & Armour of the Samurai.

And here is the last paragraph from last week’s effort

“And now I have this 2020 purchasing pattern – a Bison book in August, September, October and November. I wonder what Bison book I will find in December and I wonder what price I will put on it?”

Well, it took until December 1, for me to get the answer. I found and bought a copy of their book
Arms & Armour of the Medieval Knight, 1988. This was a sister production to the Samurai book, and I cannot find another, on-line, in that mode from the same year - so, likely just the two of them. Not only were they the same size, in identical bindings, but they both had exactly the same number of pages – 192.

Why is this significant, you may well ask? In the 1990s, I was the CFO of two printing companies while living in Illinois, so I know the printing business. A significant cost in producing a book is the set-up process. It takes a while to get a press configured for the print job, so there is labour cost, print running time and cost to get the ink right and so on, before you can produce high quality finished product. The longer the print run, the less significant the set-up costs. So, if you were producing hundreds of thousands copies of a best seller not a big issue. But if you were just producing a few thousand copies of a book, the set-up costs are significant. So here we have Bison Books, running two identical books with no set up costs for the second book. Just change the plates. And the same goes for printing the dust jackets and binding the books. Which is why Bison can produce high quality books in smaller print runs, than normally would be the case.

Printers, like every manufacturer, look for every cost advantage. As I mentioned last week, Taschen does it, as well. Start to look at the books on your shelves, and you may start to see similarities in books, especially those printed for the same author by the same printer. Print shops save print configurations.

And yes - Arms & Armour of the Medieval Knight – is priced at $50.

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