Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The limiting nature of limited editions

by Suw on August 17, 2010

We live in a world of abundance, a fact which scares silly anyone whose business relies on scarcity. Predictably, we now frequently see attempts to recreate scarcity, many of which are absurd (cf. most newspaper efforts) and some of which are smart.

The use of limited editions to create a desirable object available for only a short period is, in my opinion, a smart move. When it comes to content, we are swamped by choice. Something needs to make objects like books, CDs and movies special enough for us to take a punt and buy them. It ceases to be simply about the story or the music or the film, but also about its form. So I’m totally up for limited editions. It is, in effect, what I’m doing with Argleton.

But limiting editions does not mean you have to limit access to the source material. Indeed, limiting access to the content, rather than just the object, is counterproductive as it prevents new fans from experiencing your work and reduces the number of people who eagerly await your next release.

UPDATE: What was going to be my case in point, Ted Chiang’s The Lifecycle of Software, has now instead become proof that if your shop design sucks, people will think things are sold out when they aren’t. The limited edition is sold out, the trade edition isn’t. *headdesk* So, er, slightly truncated blog post due to inability to comprehend Subterranean Press’s UX. Sorry about that.

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Interesting North & Eyjafjallajökull

by Suw on August 17, 2010

I’m going up to Sheffield in November to speak at Interesting North, a day-long conference where people talk about their passions (rather than their work). I, for one, will be going way off piste:

Suw is a writer, collaboration strategist and lapsed geologist.

Earlier this year she followed, in considerable detail, the exploits of Eyjafjallajökull, The Little Volcano Who Could (Close Airports Around Europe On A Whim). Part of a community of vulcanologists and lay enthusiasts, she watched for earthquake swarms, monitored live webcams, and attempted to interpret interesting yellow blobs on the volcano’s infrared cam.

For your delight and delectation, Suw will be attempting to pronounce Eyjafjallajökull live on stage, as well as pointing out some of the more interesting aspects of the eruption.

Sound like fun? Then get your tickets before they sell out!


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