Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sitting and Watching Stout

I'm just sitting here watching the Stout Auction online. Seems like there are some good deals, especially if you are looking for MTH Standard Gauge Boxcars.

Here's something I noticed though; MTH sets seem to be going much higher than I would have expected. The Olympian set just went for $2200 and that is without the buyers premium, shipping and so on.

Hey, don't get me wrong, buyers are getting something they want and I am glad the sellers are making a couple of bucks. I just can't figure out why these folks didn't buy these sets from MTH brand new when they had the chance. MTH gives plenty of warning and they even offer some of these sets from catalog to catalog. I do like the fact that MTH offers them because I tend to like running new gear vs. the older stuff. We won't go down that road again.

I also noticed another eBay anomaly; I just saw one of those compiliations of prewar catalogs from Greenberg go on ebay. Jumped from 91 bucks to 188 in the last few minutes. I haven't seen one of the Greenberg books go for less than 120 smackers. I've seen them on ranging from $145 to $250.

So maybe thorough books and reference materials do have a market? I've seen a few posts on the forums stating there is no market for standard gauge and books relating to prewar trains. Have you looked at your local train store book rack lately? How many books does there need to be on balasting track and building lichen trees? For a real train person, that was mastered long ago (I figured it out in 1976 without a book).


PS Current train books that are basically "coffee table books" by Roger Carp and price guides don't count.


Anonymous said...

No question there's a market, because not only do sellers of the old books ask three-figure prices for them, they get them. But the question is whether there is a large enough market for these types of reference works for Kalmbach to think it worthwhile. Greenberg was definitely willing to deal with smaller production runs than Kalmbach has been.

With print-on-demand becoming more and more practical every year, I think the time is right for those with the required knowledge to strike out on their own, self-publishing their own reference works, and finding out for themselves just how big the market is. If it flops, they'll probably still make as much as a big publisher would have been willing to give them as an advance anyway. If it soars, they get to keep more of the profits than a big publisher would have been able to give them. Everybody wins.

Standard Gauge Blogger said...

That's a great point. Publishing is no longer mired to a near-sighted giant publisher. All you need is a computer and maybe Adobe Acrobat.

Following your reasoning (which I think is brilliant), what books would everyone like to see?