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Kalmbach should produce all of their MR back issues in PDF format Locked

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Kalmbach should produce all of their MR back issues in PDF format
Posted by obermeyern on Sunday, December 31, 2006 2:39 PM

In this day and age, I feel that Kalmbach should produce their Model Railroader back issues starting the the orginal issue as a PDF file.  Say one year at a time.  I know I'd buy every year if the cost was right.  Keep the PDF a few years behind the current year so that they can still sell the magazine.  It sure would save space in my home, make searching easier, plus the magazines would not wear or be destroyed.  Now if you want a back issue and it's out of stock you are out of luck.  I know someone will mention the pirating issue and that's a drawback I understand.  Plus some people would rather wait to buy the PDF entire year instead of subscribing to the magazine.  I feel Kambach could have a market offering this service.  They are already doing certain articles and other items in PDF.  I currently have every Model Railroader issue from 1979 and it takes up so much room.  Just and idea.  What do you all think?

 

Nate 

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, December 31, 2006 2:55 PM

Not to put a damper on it, but Kalmbach impresses me as operating pretty close to the bone. I'd be REAL surprised if the publishers are getting rich off of it. Therefore, it's doubtful they have staff or equipment for such an undertaking.

However, your idea has much merit, and I'd be among the first to sign up for a pdf subscription at, as you said, the right price. I'd imagine Kalmbach would be tickled for the revenue opportunity if enough readers were willing to presubscribe, thus defraying Kalmbach's investment. There are numerous archival companies with whom Kalmbach might contract for the effort. If they take bids on the work, they can easily calculate number of subscriptions necessary to break even on the project.

Lynda

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Posted by jfugate on Sunday, December 31, 2006 2:55 PM

I've spoken with Kalmbach about this when I've met with them about my articles and video PDF project that I'm doing for them and they tell me it isn't likely to happen.

The market for MR on PDF (several thousand copies) is just not very large compared to the cost and labor issues. Plus just a scan of the pages would not be enough, you would need someone to go through all the pages and mark words to index ... the manual labor would be extensive.

Then there's the issue of payment ... years ago it was not unusual for magazines to buy an original article with "first time North American publication" rights, so now producing the material in PDF form could be considered a second time global publication, which is in violation of the original contract. Just tracking down all the contractual agreements and sorting out the legal issues, determining if the author should be paid more for the second publication, yada, yada ... it could be huge.

Unfortunately, much of that material was originally produced with no idea that digitial redistribution might be a future option so the original contract when the work was purchased doesn't allow for that.

Long story short -- no market and the production is fraught with technical and legal issues.

You can get back issues for a song on eBay and Kalmbach provides an excellent online index ... which is almost as good. Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg] 

Joe Fugate Modeling the 1980s SP Siskiyou Line in southern Oregon

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Posted by tgindy on Sunday, December 31, 2006 3:06 PM

To have quick access to PDFs like this is a valid suggestion.

My first thought was who would be the lucky individual to have the job title:  Page Scanner (for life).  This would be a labor-intensive task.

I know what it takes just to scan and covert my own personal projects into PDFs, even when using a great tools like Irfanview & OmniPage for scanning, Serif PagePlus & DrawPlus for publishing, and Adobe Acrobat Professional for PDF fine-tuning.

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Posted by orsonroy on Sunday, December 31, 2006 4:53 PM

I think that having an online, digitized record of ever MR (and just about every other model RR mag) would be a GREAT idea, especially for the older mags (30+ years, say). The older mags are chock full of good prototype data that's unavailable anywhere else (plans, histories, etc), and having the issues in digiatl form will make them more easily accessable to a lot more people.

Scanning and indexing the issues isn't a big deal. Most are already indexed, and PDFs are VERY easy to word search. It would probably take less than a year for one person to scan and catalog EVERY magazing Kalmbach's ever published (heck, I can digitize 100 prints at 4 meg apiece in about two hours).

Several RR historical societies are starting to digitize everything they've ever published, and it's a boon to people researcing the line. If people and organizations DON'T step up to the plate and start digitizing their material NOW, it'll soon be lost forever.

Want to generate more interest in any given subject? Make the data available online...

Ray Breyer

Modeling the NKP's Peoria Division, circa 1943

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Posted by Milwhiawatha on Sunday, December 31, 2006 6:07 PM
IT would be nice but like everyone is statting what I was thinking. I myself have scanned certain articles and reviews from MR magazines for my own good so i could pack up the magazines in a bin and have the articles I want at hand without taking up the space in the train room.
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Posted by betamax on Sunday, December 31, 2006 8:24 PM

It would be nice if they offered a PDF version of the magazine.  Takes up a lot less space.

I can understand that "rights" can be a tricky issue.  Plus the work required to do the conversion for older issues too.

But it shouldn't be too hard to offer a disc of PDFs for the more recent issues. Again it's a matter of cost, and demand for the product. 

 

 

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Posted by CNJ831 on Sunday, December 31, 2006 9:00 PM

This same question appears over and over at intervals. Early in this forum's history a magazine  rep (I can't recall just who it was any more) postered a reply clearly stating that MR had considered the project but had no intention of doing anything about it in the foreseeable future.

Incidentally, the first few times this question surfaced here, numerous posters indicated what they'd be willing to pay for such a product and, to say the least, their figures would have never made it worthwhile for Kalmbach to consider anyway. Wink [;)]

CNJ831

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Posted by Soo Line fan on Sunday, December 31, 2006 9:17 PM

Model Railroading magazine is already selling PDF versions of its now former magazine. Here is a link: http://www.modelrailroadingmag.com/2005_cd.htm Check out the free sample issue.

Jim

Jim

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Posted by Master of Big Sky Blue on Monday, January 1, 2007 5:08 AM

Why am I the only person that wants this in a Star Trek viewing display userformat????  Oh thats right. Star Trek is my "other" obsess- er hobby.

LOL

James

"Well, I've sort of commited my self here, so you pop that clowns neck, I will shoot his buddy, and I will probably have to shoot the bartender too." ----- William Adama upon meeting Saul Tigh Building an All Steam Roster from Old Tyco-Mantua, and Bowser kits. Free Drinks in the Dome Car
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Posted by jackn2mpu on Monday, January 1, 2007 8:46 AM
 jfugate wrote:

I've spoken with Kalmbach about this when I've met with them about my articles and video PDF project that I'm doing for them and they tell me it isn't likely to happen.

The market for MR on PDF (several thousand copies) is just not very large compared to the cost and labor issues. Plus just a scan of the pages would not be enough, you would need someone to go through all the pages and mark words to index ... the manual labor would be extensive.

Then there's the issue of payment ... years ago it was not unusual for magazines to buy an original article with "first time North American publication" rights, so now producing the material in PDF form could be considered a second time global publication, which is in violation of the original contract. Just tracking down all the contractual agreements and sorting out the legal issues, determining if the author should be paid more for the second publication, yada, yada ... it could be huge.

Unfortunately, much of that material was originally produced with no idea that digitial redistribution might be a future option so the original contract when the work was purchased doesn't allow for that.

Long story short -- no market and the production is fraught with technical and legal issues.

You can get back issues for a song on eBay and Kalmbach provides an excellent online index ... which is almost as good. Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg] 

Sorry, I don't quite buy the old "we're too small to do this" bit. The ARRL (amateur radio organization in the USA) years ago started selling ALL their back issues of QST, QEX, and some other magazines on CD rom. Nobody seemed to get in a tizzy about royalty payments or original contract language; heck some of the articles go back to the early 20th century (1934, IIRC). 

The League doesn't have a huge in-house staff to do this, they just chugged away at it and got it done. And, you don't have to index every word - the ARRL didn't. Acrobat allows one to do searches in a document, so indexing isn't needed. Trains - hobby; amateur radio - hobby.

There doesn't seem to be a market because MR doesn't push it in the magazine. If they wanted to do it, they'd find a way. Like was said in Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come". Make people aware of it and it WILL be purchased.

de N2MPU Jack

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Posted by Midnight Railroader on Monday, January 1, 2007 8:51 AM
 jackn2mpu wrote:
Like was said in Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come".
Forgive me for going off topic for a moment, but this is a personal pet peeve of mine: NO ONE said "if you build it, they will come" in Field of Dreams.

The quote is, "if you build it, HE will come."

Also, Kirk never said, "Beam me up, Scotty," and the line "Play it again, Sam" does not appear anywhere in Casablanca.

Thanks for letting me vent.

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Posted by jackn2mpu on Monday, January 1, 2007 9:02 AM
 Midnight Railroader wrote:
 jackn2mpu wrote:
Like was said in Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come".
Forgive me for going off topic for a moment, but this is a personal pet peeve of mine: NO ONE said "if you build it, they will come" in Field of Dreams.

The quote is, "if you build it, HE will come."

He/they - who cares. One is singular, the other is plural. Maybe I should have said that I paraphased the line. Whatever. But the whole point I was trying to make is: if it gets done as a pdf and distributed on cd-rom and the public is made aware of it, then it will get purchased. If MR doesn't make mention of it, asking if modelers would want this, then how will they know whether or not to do it. And, as far as I can remember, it's never been mentioned in MR. Look at it this way - it's another revenue stream for them.

de N2MPU Jack

Proud NRA Life Member and supporter of the 2nd. Amendment

God, guns, and rock and roll!

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Posted by Midnight Railroader on Monday, January 1, 2007 9:09 AM
 jackn2mpu wrote:
Look at it this way - it's another revenue stream for them.

If they thought they could make money doing it, wouldn't they be producing them now? After publishing MR since 1934--and watching competition come and go--I'd imagine they know how to generate revenue, no?
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Posted by Railphotog on Monday, January 1, 2007 9:12 AM

I think I read somewhere that PDF files can be setup so they cannot be copied or altered.  Maybe it was something different, but there are certain things that originators can do to prevent some actions with the files.   Anyone know for sure?   If this is correct, then if Kalmbach did do them, copying might not be a problem.

As to the problem of past article being able to be used, I dug out an old copy of one of MR's acceptance forms, and it did not include "one time use" material.  It said "I agree that Kalmbach has the exclusive rights of the manuscript".  This was from 1988, so things could have been changed since then, but my article would be available.   If they paid me it would be great, but it's not something that I would expect.

 

 

Bob Boudreau

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 1, 2007 9:19 AM

 Railphotog wrote:
I think I read somewhere that PDF files can be setup so they cannot be copied or altered.  Maybe it was something different, but there are certain things that originators can do to prevent some actions with the files. Anyone know for sure? 

The Adobe Acrobat Professional edition does provide copy/print protection.

Haven't several people already mentioned that Kalmback is not interested in doing this for several reasons besides the expense and logistics? Kind of surprised this thread still has legs.

Lynda

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, January 1, 2007 9:27 AM
Guys,I have mixed feeling about this subject..There are some back issues I would love to have again..On the other side there was many I read and enjoyed but,found nothing useful for me and would not want another copy of..

Larry

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Summerset Ry.


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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 1, 2007 9:37 AM

Just because a company has been around does not mean they are doing all the things TODAY that they should be.  Many a company that is 50 + years old has failed to adapt to the times, no?

 

 Midnight Railroader wrote:
 jackn2mpu wrote:
Look at it this way - it's another revenue stream for them.
If they thought they could make money doing it, wouldn't they be producing them now? After publishing MR since 1934--and watching competition come and go--I'd imagine they know how to generate revenue, no?

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Posted by jecorbett on Monday, January 1, 2007 9:40 AM
This seems like it would be a job for a third party company that specializes in that sort of thing. The question really comes down to whether there is enough of a market to make this a profitable venture. Sure it would be interesting to see issues of MR from the 1940s and 1950s, but after the novelty wore off, how much value would most of those how-to articles be worth today. How impressed would we be by those old layouts compared with what we see today. Modelers in those days did not have the advantages we have today. They did great work with what they had available but I think we would find what they were able to produce, with few exceptions, would pale in comparison with what we have now.
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 1, 2007 9:41 AM

There is a scene in the movie where he says something like that to Sam who is playing the piano and singing does he say something similar to play it again?  I know something like that is said about a song.

 Midnight Railroader wrote:
 jackn2mpu wrote:
Like was said in Field of Dreams: "If you build it, they will come".
Forgive me for going off topic for a moment, but this is a personal pet peeve of mine: NO ONE said "if you build it, they will come" in Field of Dreams.

The quote is, "if you build it, HE will come."

Also, Kirk never said, "Beam me up, Scotty," and the line "Play it again, Sam" does not appear anywhere in Casablanca.

Thanks for letting me vent.

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Posted by Midnight Railroader on Monday, January 1, 2007 9:44 AM
 CurtMc wrote:

Just because a company has been around does not mean they are doing all the things TODAY that they should be.  Many a company that is 50 + years old has failed to adapt to the times, no?

 

 Midnight Railroader wrote:
 jackn2mpu wrote:
Look at it this way - it's another revenue stream for them.
If they thought they could make money doing it, wouldn't they be producing them now? After publishing MR since 1934--and watching competition come and go--I'd imagine they know how to generate revenue, no?

Look at the MR website. It's not the internet presence of a company that doesn't understand current technology.

They already publish articles in PDF format. In fact, some of their PDFs include video.

They clearly "get it."

It might just be that Kalmbach knows a little bit more about the pros and cons of doing this than the posters on this board and have based their decision on that.

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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 1, 2007 9:59 AM

And therefore there should be no discussion of anything if they are not doing it?

There is certainly the tone of your postings.

Personally I don't think it is a good idea but it is worth chatting about.

 

 Midnight Railroader wrote:
 CurtMc wrote:

Just because a company has been around does not mean they are doing all the things TODAY that they should be.  Many a company that is 50 + years old has failed to adapt to the times, no?

 

 Midnight Railroader wrote:
 jackn2mpu wrote:
Look at it this way - it's another revenue stream for them.
If they thought they could make money doing it, wouldn't they be producing them now? After publishing MR since 1934--and watching competition come and go--I'd imagine they know how to generate revenue, no?

Look at the MR website. It's not the internet presence of a company that doesn't understand current technology.

They already publish articles in PDF format. In fact, some of their PDFs include video.

They clearly "get it."

It might just be that Kalmbach knows a little bit more about the pros and cons of doing this than the posters on this board and have based their decision on that.

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Posted by Kurt_Laughlin on Monday, January 1, 2007 10:42 AM
 CurtMc wrote:

And therefore there should be no discussion of anything if they are not doing it?

There is certainly the tone of your postings.

Personally I don't think it is a good idea but it is worth chatting about.

No one is saying there shouldn't be a discussion.

People are saying that, given Kalmbach's position on the matter, there's really no point in discussing it.

KL

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Posted by cacole on Monday, January 1, 2007 11:33 AM

Several years ago, National Geographic released all of their issues on a set of CDs.  The problem with them is, all you can do is view them on your computer.  There's no search function, and you can't print anything, as near as I recall.

The very earliest issues are practically illegible because the printing quality back then was not very good and scanning made the print even blurrier.

Older issues had absolutely no advertising in them, and I imagine that the early issues of Model Railroader also had minimum advertising.  Today's issues are almost 50% advertising.  Would you really want to pay for a set of CDs that were half advertising, and the companies or products advertised no longer available?

Our club recently threw away hundreds of issues of Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, NMRA Bulletins, and other publications that were over 10 years old because it was our opinion that anything appearing in them was no longer available or there were better products and techniques available today.  We tried and tried but couldn't even give them away.  Several people offered to take them, but expected us to pay the postage.

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Posted by R. T. POTEET on Monday, January 1, 2007 12:42 PM

On the surface this sounds like a very good idea but it raises a few issues in my mind>

Kalmbach Publishing is in their 71st(?) year of business and the key to their survival over those seven decades has been to make decisions which enhances their ability to making enough money to stay in business.  That is not easy; I bailed out of my first business venture while I could still see over the tall grass; I went that proverbial "One Bridge Too Far" and wound up flat on my back in bankruptcy on the second.  I am rebuilding my assets at this time and I'm going to try a hobby related business in the future.

The thing about this is that I am sure that Kalmbach has probably weighed this issue carefully and, as Joe Fugate stated, they ain't gonna do it - at least not at this time.  There are distinct legal issues involved and, I am sure, some financial ones also.    I have full year MRs going back as far as 1947 - there are some gaps between that year and 1959 which I hope to close in the future - and RMCs that go back to 1959.  If you have ever seen the pre-WWII issues, they are interesting but they are not profoundly useful.

Magazines take up a lot of room but I get physically sick every time I contemplate getting rid of them - so I'll hang onto them; they are an invaluable reference source.

obermeyern;

You said "
I know I'd buy every year if the cost was right
".  Just what is the "right cost"?  I have related a couple of times in responses on this forum about how, in 1972 I was waiting for some brass diesels to hit the market and anticipated that they would come in at ten-year old prices; they didn't and they were as out of reach at $79.95 in 1972 as they had been out of reach at $29.95 in 1962  A"right cost" of $39.95 to you might be outlandishly expensive to someone else's budget.

I have seen several bellyaches in this forum about "prices are just too danged high" and wanting to know why the manufacturers don't do something to reduce costs.  Quality retention is, of course, still a prerequisite but don't you dare raise prices!!!  Now (here and on some other forums) there are bellyaches about the quality of Katos going downhill - "they ain't the Katos of ten years ago" - admittedly, for economic reasons, I haven't bought any new locomotives in the past few years but I seem to recall that Katos are not appreciably more expensive today than they were ten years ago. 

I would like to see them come out with this - but I'm not holding my breath waiting for it.

From the far, far reaches of the wild, wild west I am: rtpoteet

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Posted by jfugate on Monday, January 1, 2007 12:45 PM

 cacole wrote:
Our club recently threw away hundreds of issues of Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, NMRA Bulletins, and other publications that were over 10 years old because it was our opinion that anything appearing in them was no longer available or there were better products and techniques available today.  We tried and tried but couldn't even give them away.  Several people offered to take them, but expected us to pay the postage.

Other than some prototype information in them, any Model Railroader content over about 25 years old would be merely of historical interest about the hobby itself -- not especially useful, to be sure.

I have a complete collection of MR's back to 1960, with a select few issues all the way back to the 1940s -- and other than an occassional prototype piece or wanting to see what the hobby was doing then, I almost never refer to those older issues.

However, for archive purposes, Kalmbach should make good quality digital scans of older Model Railroaders, even if they never intend to sell them to the public. Paper does not last forever and a digital copy could be a handy in-house reference as well as preserve the older issues before they are lost forever.

If back issues sell today for a song, why would digitizing them suddenly make them more valuable? I just don't see how there's any real market for more than a few thousand digital copies of back issues -- and that's only if they were dirt cheap. 

Joe Fugate Modeling the 1980s SP Siskiyou Line in southern Oregon

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, January 1, 2007 1:35 PM
Actually a lot of those older techniques is just as valuable today as they was back then.Nothing has changed all that much over the years.

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 1, 2007 1:46 PM

Scenery is completely new.  So is track wiring.

 

 BRAKIE wrote:
Actually a lot of those older techniques is just as valuable today as they was back then.Nothing has changed all that much over the years.

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, January 1, 2007 2:58 PM
Kalmbach should not have a legal issue over publication of most of their back issues, you should read their contracts from the eighties and other things can be copied if copyrights were not applied for, for items  before sometime in the  70's. However some mags like the gazzett have only one time print contracts. Hay Mad mag. put all their old ones on cd and it sold, some people just gotta own. Got a pal that bought the compleat Combat series but dosn't watch them but I am working my way though the collection (cost him about 300.00 bucks). 
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Posted by CNJ831 on Monday, January 1, 2007 6:23 PM
 jfugate wrote:

Other than some prototype information in them, any Model Railroader content over about 25 years old would be merely of historical interest about the hobby itself -- not especially useful, to be sure.

I have a complete collection of MR's back to 1960, with a select few issues all the way back to the 1940s -- and other than an occassional prototype piece or wanting to see what the hobby was doing then, I almost never refer to those older issues.

Like Brakie, I have to disagree with that position. I have MR back to the 1940's and if I was forced to truncate my collection at one end or the other, I'd definitely choose dropping the last 25 years of the magazine, rather than those earlier issues. I find them a treasuretove of ideas and useful material. Very little in the way of advancing modeling skills has surfaced in the last dozen or so years and you'll find ten times the true modeling content in those older magazines than can be found in the latest ones. In fact, I've won a number of NMRA modeling competitions building models based directly on articles, designs and concepts from the 1950's and 1960's that appeared in MR. No such similarly fruitful material has appeared therein in a long time in my opinion.

CNJ831 

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