It didnt take even a day before we received negative feedback about our institutional pricing. Heres an explanation of where were coming from and what were up to.
The bottom line, is that both our John W. Campbell program and the Literature of Science Fiction Film Series were created primarily with educational users in mind, with only the barest hope of making a profit. These programs just arent for general audiences, and dont you prefer it that way? We know weve painted ourselves into a corner because even if our programs are purchased by every English department offering SF related classes, throughout the US, we still wont break even.
So why are we doing this foolhardy thing? We dont really want to lose money, but we are also concerned about demonstrating our credibility. Credibility that we may point to when we are selling our broadcast documentary (you may read about elsewhere on this site) to funders and distributors. And credibility inside the SF community from which we hope to draw significantly in creating that show.
Once we had committed to these projects, we planned only for institutional sales (to avoid cannibalizing these sales by a lower-priced version) and then arrived at a price that we felt was as much as we could fairly ask. Eventually I was convinced that it served the public interest to make an individual edition available, despite the inevitability of a smaller return.
How does one decide whats fair? Tough call, but twenty years ago, these films sold for about $3,000.00. But if you bought them then, now theyve turned pink and are ratty with bad splices. Thats exactly what we had to work with, but we painstakingly restored them, then lovingly compressed them, and will be burning them into a medium that should last a hundred years. If we hadnt done it, theres a strong chance that these films would have been lost or at best, be unavailable.
These pieces are not only history programs, but collections of primary source materials. Check out Campbell and I think youll agree, not only is it beautifully produced, but it implements a unique and elegant approach to educational media. But our commitment is deeper than that. This is the fifth year that our small (but ambitious) production company is underwriting our own campaign to create a living history of science fiction. No one else is doing it yet time keeps marching on. We cant wait for the bucks to roll in; weve got to plow ahead
One last point. We will not sell the individual version to purchasers who clearly represent institutions, but beyond that, we will be trusting to the honor system. We hope you understand and appreciate our concerns.