Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

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Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by StanleyGibbonsUK »

Hi.

It's nearly a year since we released our digital archive of every Gibbons Stamp Monthly magazine article from 1890 to 2009 on 6 DVDs.

Have many of you guys bought it? If so, what are your thoughts?
Stanley Gibbons, England.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive -comments?

Post by prof2000 »

I'm interested, but how much is postage to Australia?
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive -comments?

Post by StanleyGibbonsUK »

Hi. Registered postage to Australia is £10.00.
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive -comments?

Post by Little Fred »

Bob Beeson wrote:
Hi.

It's nearly a year since we released our digital archive of every Gibbons Stamp Monthly magazine article from 1890 to 2009 on 6 DVDs.

Have many of you guys bought it? If so, what are your thoughts?

_________________
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I might consider it if you were to make it accessible to all computer platforms.
It is easy enough to do.


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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive -comments?

Post by traralgon3844 »

Stamp News (Australia) has the last few years available free on line.

Good for the advertisers and the owners. Owned by Kevin Morgan a member here.

https://stampnews.com.au/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=2

Image

An article or part thereof. It can go full screen and is quite readable.

Image

Articles are indexed and links are available to the advertisers web sites.

In the digital age it can pay to be bold.

I am off to have a look at a couple of Simon DUNKERLEY's articles.
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by COLIN »

I would love to purchase a copy but the relative cost in South Africa makes it quite an expensive item and will have to go on the back burner for now.
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by flip138 »

OK, I've just bought it, the incentive being the offer of a £20 reduction in price. Being in the UK, I was not burdened with international postage.

I installed all the files from the DVDs on the hard drive of my computer. Even with quite a fast machine, this took an hour or so, but the process went without any problems. Searching takes about 20-30 seconds for the first search, but subsequent ones are faster.

Each page appears to be scanned as an image. The resolution of the illustrations and text is satisfactory. Indexing seems to have been done very thoroughly.

Because each article is set up as a separate pdf file, you cannot browse an issue from one article to the next without closing the first file, then opening the second, but for me this is a relatively minor issue.

Phil

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by kerailija »

I've considered buying it, but it's simply too expensive of a price for a collection of PDF-files.
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by mozzerb »

kerailija wrote:I've considered buying it, but it's simply too expensive of a price for a collection of PDF-files.
Yes, it's a not a "casual purchase" price -- it's £150+ as I recall, a "have particular reason for buying" price. Also, from what I remember of older GSMs that I've had as paper copies, frankly there often wasn't that much content of the sort that has stood the test of time. As I recall there was a conscious effort in the 1980s to raise their game.

It's worthwhile if there's particular stuff you want or you're researching something historical (seeing what was printed during WW2 would be about my only reason for considering buying it at the current price), but is pitched high like many bits of philatelic literature. As with those I suspect profits would be higher at a lower price point, not just sales -- £50 say -- but that's up to the SG marketing team.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by warm »

kerailija wrote:I've considered buying it, but it's simply too expensive of a price for a collection of PDF-files.
If the decimal point moved 1 place to the left I would buy it and happily pay the £10 postage

A special offer for Stampboard members???????????

I would be content that I had good value.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by Lundy »

Hi there,

For me it is something I would like to have, but unfortunately with a young family the cost means I cannot.

For the equivalent I could buy a nice collection or several specialised catalogues/other literature and I think these would have to come first.

If the price comes down in future I may buy a copy.

Can I also ask, will information contained in more recent magaizines be available (2010-date) as a subsequent release or as a buyer of the earlier discs is there the incentive that these later copies can be downloaded free after a period of release?

Thanks

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by StanleyGibbonsUK »

Hi Lundy. Thanks for your feedback. DVDs covering the magazine issues after 2009 will be released so that the archive can be kept as up to date as possible.
Stanley Gibbons, England.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by jaywalker »

I requested a copy of the demo disc last year - but it never arrived.

I was sent an e-mail requesting feedback on the demo disc in Nov 2010 (from an Abigail Reddin), and I responded saying that I hadn't recveived the demo disc - but heard nothing back (other than another sales pitch a month later).

A bit disappointing, really.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by StanleyGibbonsUK »

Hi jimdotwalker. I'm very sorry to hear that the sample disc failed to arrive. Please message me with your address and I will send another one to you.
Stanley Gibbons, England.

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Post by jaywalker »

E-mail sent - thanks.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by StanleyGibbonsUK »

Thanks Jim, in the post today.
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by StanleyGibbonsUK »

Thanks to everybody who offered their feedback regarding the Gibbons Stamp Monthly archive, we're trying to gather the thoughts of collectors in an attempt to provide products and services that benefit collectors and your input is greatly valued.
Stanley Gibbons, England.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by Nick777VVV »

Rob

Would be interested to know how you came up with the price point.

It's good value when you consider how much information you can get at...but it's an expensive commitment for most stamp collectors.

The issue is that most collectors will probably want to focus on specific topics. Which means that although there's a ton of data, only 10% of it, say, will be of immediate interest.

For example, I have no interest in stamps produced after 1960. So there's 50 years worth of articles in the archive that will hold no interest for me.

Do you try and sell 500 copies at £200 a pop or 5000 copies at £50? The latter option would make you more money and give you a much larger user base if the feedback at this pricepoint was favourable...

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by warm »

kerailija wrote: I've considered buying it, but it's simply too expensive of a price for a collection of PDF-files.
warm wrote: If the decimal point moved 1 place to the left I would buy it and happily pay the £10 postage
A special offer for Stampboard members???????????
I would be content that I had good value.
Tony W
Nick777VVV wrote:Rob
Would be interested to know how you came up with the price point.
It's good value when you consider how much information you can get at...but it's an expensive commitment for most stamp collectors.

The issue is that most collectors will probably want to focus on specific topics. Which means that although there's a ton of data, only 10% of it, say, will be of immediate interest.

For example, I have no interest in stamps produced after 1960. So there's 50 years worth of articles in the archive that will hold no interest for me.

Do you try and sell 500 copies at £200 a pop or 5000 copies at £50? The latter option would make you more money and give you a much larger user base if the feedback at this pricepoint was favourable...
Nick
Valuable points Nick

I will usually have a browse at the newsagent. The magazine is glossy and attractive. However as has been suggested, there is only a small amount of reading that is pertinent to my actual collecting.

In a recent single issue there were 2 long articles that were of special interest to me. KG6 New Zealand and the Swedish Local issues of the post WW2 period. Both articles were great reading. Two articles in the one issue!!!!
I bought and will keep this magazine.

Lots of interesting current reading in the general Philatelic and Auction world. But of minimum interest over the last 100 years outside our collecting interests. So of the many .pdf files just what percentage of how many will, in fact, be pertinent ???
I guess there would be several general articles on NZ, of the period, but how many in-depth articles could I expect on the Swedish Locals ???

Readers here may remember that I had written some material on the Swedish Flaggan Dag Cinderella issues. I would indeed be surprised if there had been many articles in SG since their issue in 1916. We, all of us, have our little collecting pecularities. They may not have much exposure in the .pdf files.
Perhaps, in the future, SG would like an extended article on them.

I don't think my case is a one off.

I still think SG should consider 10000 copies at £25.

For the number of articles that would be of particular interest to me, some may think I was being generous for £25.

I wonder how many Stampboard readers would get their own copy at this price (£25). It would be an interesting question to put to the various Forums.

Tony W

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by Eric Casagrande »

I think the .pdf files are a great idea, but the price is waaay too high.

(BTW - It's £199.99)

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by kerailija »

Personally I'd be willing to pay around £60 max for this kind of product, but lower the price, the more likely I'd buy a copy.

But I agree with most about the number of "interesting/worth my money" content per magazine. The last time I bought SGM was because of entry about postally used North Korean stamps - and I think that was 4-5 months ago. :lol:
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by COLIN »

warm wrote:
kerailija wrote: I've considered buying it, but it's simply too expensive of a price for a collection of PDF-files.
warm wrote: If the decimal point moved 1 place to the left I would buy it and happily pay the £10 postage
A special offer for Stampboard members???????????
I would be content that I had good value.
Tony W
Nick777VVV wrote:Rob
Would be interested to know how you came up with the price point.
It's good value when you consider how much information you can get at...but it's an expensive commitment for most stamp collectors.

The issue is that most collectors will probably want to focus on specific topics. Which means that although there's a ton of data, only 10% of it, say, will be of immediate interest.

For example, I have no interest in stamps produced after 1960. So there's 50 years worth of articles in the archive that will hold no interest for me.

Do you try and sell 500 copies at £200 a pop or 5000 copies at £50? The latter option would make you more money and give you a much larger user base if the feedback at this pricepoint was favourable...
Nick
Valuable points Nick

I will usually have a browse at the newsagent. The magazine is glossy and attractive. However as has been suggested, there is only a small amount of reading that is pertinent to my actual collecting.

In a recent single issue there were 2 long articles that were of special interest to me. KG6 New Zealand and the Swedish Local issues of the post WW2 period. Both articles were great reading. Two articles in the one issue!!!!
I bought and will keep this magazine.

Lots of interesting current reading in the general Philatelic and Auction world. But of minimum interest over the last 100 years outside our collecting interests. So of the many .pdf files just what percentage of how many will, in fact, be pertinent ???

I guess there would be several general articles on NZ, of the period, but how many in-depth articles could I expect on the Swedish Locals ???

Readers here may remember that I had written some material on the Swedish Flaggan Dag Cinderella issues. I would indeed be surprised if there had been many articles in SG since their issue in 1916. We, all of us, have our little collecting pecularities. They may not have much exposure in the .pdf files.

Perhaps, in the future, SG would like an extended article on them.

I don't think my case is a one off.

I still think SG should consider 10000 copies at £25.

For the number of articles that would be of particular interest to me, some may think I was being generous for £25.

I wonder how many Stampboard readers would get their own copy at this price (£25). It would be an interesting question to put to the various Forums.

Tony W
At 25 pounds I would be in and so would many other collectors here in South Africa.

I brought this topic up at a meeting of my local stamp club and the consensus, with one exception, was that the price was way too expensive. The feeling is that Gibbons is trying to milk the collectors here.

As it is 99% of us can not afford the current Gibbons catalogues and are doomed to have to purchase used ones and keep them for many years.

This is a paper book and as such has a fair amount of input costs in the form of paper, printing, weight etc.

The same can not be said for the CD's of the archive as these have practically no costs past the initial scanning etc.

To produce the finished product can not cost more then a few Rands (blank discs, plastic box, paper insert etc) and as such the profit margin on this item is probably obscene.

Therefore, it is sad to say that SG are probably NOT going to sell more then a few copies of this into the local market.
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by jrg »

The takeup, at whatever price, would probably be more if there was a free online index available to the articles.

How many articles will I find relating to Australian official perfins?

How many articles will I find relating to Australian KGV heads?

How many articles will I find relating to NWPI?

Without knowing the answer to these questions, I'm unlikely to fork out 50 quid, and guaranteed not to fork out 200 quid.
John

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by Global Administrator »

jrg wrote:The takeup, at whatever price, would probably be more if there was a free online index available to the articles.

How many articles will I find relating to Australian official perfins?

How many articles will I find relating to Australian KGV heads?

How many articles will I find relating to NWPI?

Without knowing the answer to these questions, I'm unlikely to fork out 50 quid, and guaranteed not to fork out 200 quid.
I think SG use stampboards as a bit of a think tank.

And Yes a free INDEX would be a vast sales plus. It might well swing many a buyer.

Remember many of the products have been launched due to an idea in the Sales Department and probably not beta tested on anyone.

We offer that option for "My collection"and products such as this.

This was launched a year back and Rob knows how many were sold and I do not.

However with a background in sales and marketing and publishing, and the stamp world, I can take a pretty good guess at how many sold at 200 quid.

Pretty darn few!

So someone has decided to ask collectors for thier thoughts.

Smart marketing. Whatever number they sell now is all profit.

Sets such as this cost a few quid to make - tops. Plus postage on top.

Near all the cost of such a project is in the initial scanning and indexing. That sum has been spent, and whether they later sell 10 sets or 10,000 sets, it does not increase start-up costs a cent.

The INITIAL work is the mega project.

I know Brian Moore well, and this similar but smaller project took him many 100s of man hours - and at $A35 post free is highly recommended -

http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=19633

So SG have a product where every copy they sell from now on is pure profit, pretty much.

Sell 10 a year at £200 + post and they pocket £2,000

Sell 75 a year at £100 + post and they pocket £7,500

Sell 200 a year at £50 + post and they pocket £10,000

Sell 500 a year at £25 + post and they pocket £12,500


These are never going to sell well at £200 or £100 - and those options make the least bucks for SG anyway.

£200 was a totally insane price for a CD set of anything, and was a mistake by whomever set it.

The public are used to paying 25 quid for a boxed set of music CDs or TV Program DVD etc, and many WILL pay it for GSM.

Push 50 or 25 quid and unit sales will gain enormously. . but so will money in the bank - which I repeat again is near all PROFIT, no mater what they sell at.

Clearly you'll sell a lot more than twice as many at £25 than £50 as £25 is the market price for boxed sets.

At £25 Clubs will buy a set.

If I were SG I'd be re-marketing this at a far lower price.

Many 100s of sets of these out there is GOOD for SG money wise, and GOOD for future sales of GSM. And great PR. WIN-WIN.

Glen

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by norvic »

Thinking of the time it would take to scan the vast number of pages in the archive, ensuring that everything is legible, I can see why the COST of production would be very high in manpower alone.

Only in recent years will the magazine have been printed FROM pdf files. The cost of CD production ought to be relatively low - at least compared with the cost of the scanning.

Doubtless the accountants have looked at the costs and made several calculations as members here have. And the arguments would be:

- a number of people wouldn't have it at all, even if it was free, as they don't have computers (I assume these are not visible on DVD players using TV sets?)

- a number of libraries and organisations would buy at £250

- a smaller number of individuals would buy at £250

- a large number of people would buy if the price were as low as £25

.... and many levels in between on the break-even graph.

Perhaps they have chosen the wrong option. But I wonder how many individuals would make much use of the whole set of magazines?

I was given a CD set of Scott catalogues a couple of years ago: I've put a couple on my computer, to see examine the contents.

Since then I haven't found the need to use the catalogue. Would I buy the archive at £25 - probably, but I don't know how often I'd use it.

I'm assuming that it's usefulness includes the Adobe Reader search facility on all words including captions. One can't imagine the cost of actually compiling an index now, or even amalgamating the annual or other indexes which already exist.
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by Eric Casagrande »

Good points by Glen and Norvic (and others too) --

Perhaps Gibbons should have limited the 'start date' to 1960 or 1970. Prior to that, many of the articles may not even be relevant, and new information will probably have arisen that greatly outdates the earlier articles.

Having a century's worth of scanned magazines sounds great at the start -- until you stop and realize that maybe up to 75% of those magazines may be completely useless to any collectors nowadays.

Then of the remaining 25% - as mentioned previously - it's a crapshoot as to how many will have articles of interest to the individual collector's field.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by norvic »

Global Administrator wrote:Whatever number they sell now is all profit.

So SG have a product where every copy they sell from now on is pure profit, pretty much.
To the layman, yes. But everything depends on how the costs of creating the product have been accounted for.

If they were accounted for as pure current costs, revenue items, then they have been written off against the profits generated in the year the work was done.

If the costs have been accounted for as product developement, or R&D, and amortised over several years, then each year's income will be sent against that year's share of costs.

The IASC International Accounting Standards have undoubtedly changed since I was required to know their contents, but there was one on R&D costs, and the treatment of costs for such a product will be covered. (But it's not something I would expect Rob to know - much less want to know!)
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by europhil »

jrg wrote:The takeup, at whatever price, would probably be more if there was a free online index available to the articles.

How many articles will I find relating to Australian official perfins?

How many articles will I find relating to Australian KGV heads?

How many articles will I find relating to NWPI?

Without knowing the answer to these questions, I'm unlikely to fork out 50 quid, and guaranteed not to fork out 200 quid.
Check out http://www.gibbonsstampmonthly.com/archivesearch.asp

You can search the archives and get a list of citations. The
search facility is not particularly good, though. You cannot
read the articles unless you are a GSM subscriber. But at
about £15/year it's not that unreasonable (beats £200).

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by norvic »

europhil wrote:You can search the archives and get a list of citations. The
search facility is not particularly good, though. You cannot
read the articles unless you are a GSM subscriber. But at
about £15/year it's not that unreasonable (beats £200).
It will need to be a lot more up to date than it was when I last looked at it for me to even fork out £15!

I wanted to read the Machin and other GB columns, and find out what they had done regarding catalogue numbers for recent stamps. At one stage I couldn't even get a hit on 'Machin' for the months concerned!
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by mozzerb »

Eric Casagrande wrote:Having a century's worth of scanned magazines sounds great at the start -- until you stop and realize that maybe up to 75% of those magazines may be completely useless to any collectors nowadays.
Yes. I used to have a load of paper copies of 1960s and 1970s GSMs (and Stamp Collecting) that I was given in case they were of use. There were a few news pieces that I could use as background material to show how things were reported at the time, the occasional article that provided helpful information, and some interesting comment pieces. There were also a lot of filler articles and general one-country and theme surveys that would hardly have been worth the effort of reading at the time, let alone now.

The main uses of this archive are probably for looking at philatelic history itself, and the occasional case where specialists need to track particular items back to see what was originally said about them. Other than those limited markets, you're looking at casual-interest buyers, who aren't going to be interested at £200.

I can sort of see why SG might price it that way -- it would have been a big project to scan and catalogue all the information, and it probably feels like they have the crown jewels -- but for sales it's the value customers will actually pay that matters. Personally, add me to the list of those who would at least consider buying at £50, but would definitely buy at £25.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by 1stStamp »

When I first read of these CDs, I thought that they would be interesting and would not have minded a set to browse through on those cold and wintery evenings in Melbourne. But at £200 odd, this became an expensive indulgence when, rightly or wrongly, I thought of it as an innovative way for Gibbons to recoup costs against the maintaince or protection of their archives.

Like others above, I would have thought that sales would have been far greater at a much lower price point £15 - £25. As I see it at £200 the cost would preclude purchases by younger collectors, pensioners on a fixed income or anyone on a budget for that matter. A potentially large market that has gone untapped.
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by pelmen »

I have to say, I disagree with a number of posters. The initial scanning/creation of the PDFs is actually very minimal and not labour intensive. Just guillotine the edge of a magazine, pop the stack of pages into a scanner with a sheet feed and press a button.

Entire magazines are easily scanned in one go, OCR processed, optimised and published to a final PDF. It doesn't even take hours and doesn't need anybody to do anything other than start the process and flick through the final PDF.

Of course all the issues in recent years will already be in digital format for export to PDF at any time. So scanning time is irrelevant. Production of a magazine takes time and effort and it gets covered by the income it generates (advertisers mostly, and subscribers etc). If the monthly income doesn't cover the costs than the magazine goes bust.

SG to me has become another BMW brand...I'm sure a lot have you have seen the BMW ad picture that is merely a BMW badge sitting on dog dirt. That's the direction SG has gone...using the brand name to overprice everything.

Their USB microscope is a $20 Chinese product, readily available from computer markets and online from Hong Kong since before SG started selling it at 4-5 times the price. SG are in the business of making money plain and simple...building a brand name and customer loyalty and capitalising on it.

I've never been to the UK, not likely to ever go either, so here in Australia SG means nothing to me. It's just another:
  • producer of magazines (there are other stamp magazines on the market),
    producer of catalogues (there are plenty of alternate producers of catalogues on the market)

    sources of information (plenty of alternative sources of information for collectors)
    seller of accessories (tons of alternatives for buying the same products much cheaper)
    seller of stamps (tons of people and dealers around the world still selling stamps too!)
I like Gibbons Monthly, but at the newstands here we are at the mercy of exchange rates (often we pay more locally for foreign sourced magazines) and also out of date a couple of months (we can never hope to enter any competitions for example).

I also like the Gibbons catalogues generally, though its not always clear what catalogue covers an area of interest and to what level of detail and the lack of showing every stamp often makes it confusing for people to find. Gibbons catalogues are not alone in this though, but they aren't always perfect either.

So what really is the incentive to customers to pay so much for a disc that costs less than a dollar to produce containing out of date information that takes almost no human effort to put together? A product that's not in a format that's as easy to read as a physical magazine where you can read it in the loo, or sit it next to your album to compare stamps against a detailed article on an issue.

For me, for £200 I would expect it to come pre-installed on a top of the range iPad 2 and free updates for life. But trying to sell out of date issues with zero ongoing publication costs for an amount comparable to a paper issue is just as bad as asking the same (or more) for an ebook version of a book compared to the physical one.

The mantra of knowledge is power is commonplace here, but if the knowledge if unaffordable then nobody will know about it. If they don't know, they won't take interest and won't seek stamps with rare varieties etc.

Many magazines and even software producers have placed their older wares online free for all. It costs very little to do so and is more likely to build customer faith and loyalty in your brand than hitting them up front with a sledgehammer on everything you sell.

Of course SG may decide to scrap the whole idea completely, but there are plenty of people who have, and continue to, scan books and magazines and make them freely available as PDFs online anyway. Anyone can search google and find them, so again I ask...where is the incentive for people to pay £200 instead?

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by norvic »

pelmen wrote:I have to say, I disagree with a number of posters. The initial scanning/creation of the PDFs is actually very minimal and not labour intensive. Just guillotine the edge of a magazine, pop the stack of pages into a scanner with a sheet feed and press a button. Entire magazines are easily scanned in one go, OCR processed, optimised and published to a final PDF. It doesn't even take hours and doesn't need anybody to do anything other than start the process and flick through the final PDF.
Your points are well-made.

I would just say that it is unlikely that anybody would guillotine the 19th century (especially not the bound volumes) editions of GSM (or its earlier equivalent). Certainly if they are bound they are more difficult to scan. And good as OCR has become, I'm not sure that 'flick through the final PDF' would be adequate to ensure that all the OCR was accurate. And if you want a good product, the text needs to be accurate (for indexing/searching, if for nothing else).
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by Nick777VVV »

Gibbons may want to consider selling the archive at an affordable price sooner rather than later.

Filesharing software has enabled the free download of all sorts of electronic media and philatelic literature is no different.

I have the entire Scott catalogue on my computer. It didn't cost a penny. Just went to the appropriate website, pressed 'Download' and sat back for an hour while the file transferred.

If someone loads the Gibbons Archive onto a filesharing site then it'll get downloaded gratis by an eager audience.

Not strictly legal perhaps, but a reality of our digital age.

I'd get those £25 subscriptions in now before the cat gets out of the bag.
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by Eric Casagrande »

norvic wrote:
pelmen wrote:I have to say, I disagree with a number of posters. The initial scanning/creation of the PDFs is actually very minimal and not labour intensive. Just guillotine the edge of a magazine, pop the stack of pages into a scanner with a sheet feed and press a button. Entire magazines are easily scanned in one go, OCR processed, optimised and published to a final PDF. It doesn't even take hours and doesn't need anybody to do anything other than start the process and flick through the final PDF.
Your points are well-made.

I would just say that it is unlikely that anybody would guillotine the 19th century (especially not the bound volumes) editions of GSM (or its earlier equivalent). Certainly if they are bound they are more difficult to scan. And good as OCR has become, I'm not sure that 'flick through the final PDF' would be adequate to ensure that all the OCR was accurate. And if you want a good product, the text needs to be accurate (for indexing/searching, if for nothing else).
I would agree with Ian. My first thought was that unless they have a serious number of duplicates (unlikely), they wouldn't rip apart 19th century publications.

Additionally, given the probable thin quality of late 19th century and early 20th century paper, it also isn't likely to feed well, automatically.

Having said this ... I do agree with everyone that £25-40 would be about the limit you could expect to sell the set for and get strong interest.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by pelmen »

There are numerous ways of turning a physical book into a PDF. I've got a mate in the UK who started a home business based on turning old books, documents, manuscripts etc into PDFs, especially for those who live in stately homes. He would work on site using a camera based process and never damaging the old and valuable books. You should take a look at the Project Gutenburg site to see how they process through tens of thousands of out of copyright books to preserve them. I spent a few years in my spare time doing proofing for them (anyone could participate to ensure OCR and layout were accurate). I've also taken many stamp books that are freely available as scanned images online and turned them into PDFs. The OCR is spot on, even the close look I did with the Russian books came out perfect, allowing me to copy the text into google translate and get meaningful translations making these resources much more useful. If you have access to Acrobat Pro give it a try, you don't end up with something looking like a word document, you get a document that is visibly identical to the original but now the text can be selected and searched on.

Don't just think like a customer or collector, destroying old or valuable items in order to preserve them (especially books that were printed in significant numbers) isn't much of a problem for many people (have you watched the Pirates movies with Depp? the gun he has in that film is a genuine one, not a prop replica and pretty much worthless now to a gun collector...but valuable to a movie memorabilia collector). As I said though, there are non-damaging methods as well for turning old publications into documents with accurate layout and text.

Besides in the case of SG the point is moot...they already have their magazines in PDF format. Unless they are selling a product that doesn't yet exist?


Anyway...value for money and usefulness of this product. The National Geographic archive at least comes on a portable hard drive which goes some way to a feel of value for money but still its not exactly a huge seller. At least NatGeo though is a practical reference for libraries and educational establishments. SG magazines have a limited audience and prestige pricing isn't very appropriate. Once you take out all the ads and pricelists the magazine becomes pretty thin. The catalogue supplements are nice but not in their most practical form. The accuracy of the information provided in earlier issues may also be in doubt these days. Indexing across a collection of PDFs is easy but finding items is slow and linear.

What might be a better approach is to take all the content out of the magazines and into a database (keep the PDF magazines on the disc, after all storage is cheap and some people might find the PDFs useful to browse on an ebook reader device). That way all the content items can be easily tagged with metadata (published date, subject, keywords etc) and with a user friendly interface it would be easy for someone to pull out items of interest. For example, all the catalogue supplements could be pulled out ordered properly (eg so all the Australian stamps are now back together and in chronological order), or someone studying machins can pull out all the indepth articles on those, or postmark collectors can pull together all the study articles on postmarks...etc etc etc. Then it would be an easy download for people to grab free updates to keep the database current. Databases are just pools of information so only a front end needs to be developed to make the collection useful on any platform.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by huanga »

Just so That I have it clear. Is this what you have now put on DVD?

Image

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by norvic »

Just for clarification Gibbons magazines have only contained adverts for other companies in recent times; I hesitate to make a guess but it's probably less than 20 years, so >100 with no ads other than their own.
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by CMJ »

huanga wrote:Just so That I have it clear. Is this what you have now put on DVD?
I believe, and Rob will no doubt correct me if I am wrong, that the DVDs contains PDFs of the following:

Monthly Journal - Jul 1890 to Jun 1908
Stamp Weekly - Jan 1905 to Dec 1910
Monthly Journal - Jan 1911 to Jul 1914
Publication suspended for WWI
Monthly Circular - Sep 1919 to Sep 1923
Monthly Journal - Oct 1923 to Sep 1927
Stamp Monthly - Oct 1927 to Dec 2009

Also each article is a separate PDF, so if there are three articles on one page, there are three copies of the same page in three PDFs. With this duplication, there are more than 31,000 PDFs across the disks.

I suppose this makes sense if you use the inbuilt search front end, but a real pain for reading an entire magazine (as a single PDF) which you can't do. In my opinion, it would have made more sense to have each magazine as a single file and have the search facility open the PDF and then jump to the correct page. That way you could use an e-book reader as an alternative rather than being tied to the programme provided.

But I suppose that would also have made it easier to copy illegally.
Just for clarification Gibbons magazines have only contained adverts for other companies in recent times; I hesitate to make a guess but it's probably less than 20 years, so >100 with no ads other than their own.
For recent editions (1970s onwards) I don't think the archive contains adverts (not even SG's own) unless they happen to share a page with an article (or the catalogue supplement).

Chris.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by mozzerb »

cmj wrote:
Just for clarification Gibbons magazines have only contained adverts for other companies in recent times; I hesitate to make a guess but it's probably less than 20 years, so >100 with no ads other than their own.
For recent editions (1970s onwards) I don't think the archive contains adverts (not even SG's own) unless they happen to share a page with an article (or the catalogue supplement).
That actually makes it rather less useful if you want to track how material was priced/sold over the years ...

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by huanga »

I have the originals from 1922 to the early 60's. Most in bound year books. The index is in the front of each book, and I have in the past. Found them to be useful...at times.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by StanleyGibbonsUK »

Hi. I'd just like to respond to some of the feedback left and let you guys know that the cost of putting the archive together was quite substantial, over £50,000 before the units were even produced.

The price we charge was arrived at based upon a number of factors including the total cost of the project.

I can assure you that we are not trying to exploit collectors with the pricing of the product, the price simply reflects the amount of time and effort that went into its development.
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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by ozstamps »

Rob only SG could get royally reamed like that! An absurd figure. :lol: :idea: :idea:

Did the same Chi-Chi company have a bridge for sale by any chance? :D

A well known dealer spent $US300,000 recently on his website. Almost impossible to believe but I know it to be true. Looks pretty ordinary to me.

Spending a lot of money NEVER guarantees a better end product. (Look at Donald Trump's wig, or Stephen Fry's suits for perfect examples!)

You could have employed an 18 year Junior for a month to do nothing else but the scanning, and Voila! Under a 1000 quid real cost, all loaded up ready to go.

Whatever you paid is dead money now, and you need to move these.

If your cost was £500,000 are you seriously trying to say your price would be £2,000 a CD set? You are putting the cart before the horse.

Overpaying tenfold+ for the base product is someone's silly folly - hopefully long sacked. You need to claw it back somehow.

Anyway as per my post above, whether set-up cost was 500, 5000, or 50,000 quid it is moot if you sell near zero sets, and that essentially is the issue I'd guess. :D

Why? As 200 quid is Fantasyland. Cloud cuckooville. As all the responses above hopefully tell you. 8)

Make them £25 and promote the bum out of them, and they will sell like hotcakes. Classic impulse buy price point.

You'll do well on ebay, and do REAL well via GSM and your direct mail emails.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by mozzerb »

I'm cynically guessing that the £50K figure was the result of going to some high-end source for comfort's sake, but ... yeah, not the way to go if you want to control outlay. SG should know that as well as anyone. :)

As a comparison, the Royal Philatelic Society do an "archival edition" of The London Philatelist from 1892 to 2009, on 2 DVD's with full search facilities, for £90 post free to anywhere.

That's still on the high side, admittedly -- £50 would be more realistic, or £25 if they wanted to sell in volume, which I suspect they don't really care about -- but at least the LP is a major research publication with a solid back catalogue of significant articles in most editions.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by nolimitsstamps »

For recent editions (1970s onwards) I don't think the archive contains adverts (not even SG's own) unless they happen to share a page with an article (or the catalogue supplement).
I was willing to offer £25 for a set myself until I saw this. Clipping out the ads? There goes all the 'flavor' in the mix. Nice to have the information from the articles (where it's still relevant), but dry stuff without the spice ads can provide.

I'm also quite amazed by the figure SG quotes as the cost for this project. Didn't they ask for competitive bids?

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by dwhopper »

250 units at £200 recoups the initial cost, whether it was a good or bad cost.

Or 2,500 units at £20. Or 2,000 units at £25.

I have to think the last two are way more likely than the the current pricing strategy.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by pelmen »

Being ripped off in producing the PDFs isn't any excuse for ripping off customers in turn. Would you buy a fake stamp worth $10 for $10,000 just because a customer paid $8,000 for it on ebay?

Unfortunately its pretty commonplace to overpay because you think you're getting a better product. Government wastes millions (closer to billions) on products and services because they are the most expensive of the options, not because they are the best suited or cost efficient.

It seems SG runs things similarly where everything is a project and each project must be seen to make significant profits, rather than doing things properly and absorbing costs on some projects because they pay off elsewhere in the organisation (like Sony selling PS3 at a massive loss for several years to build a customer base which pays off in overall profits through game sales).

At the end of the day an item is worth what people are willing to pay for it. No doubt there are people happy to overpay for the SG PDFs, there are always idiots with more money than sense and elitists who just want things normal folk can't afford. SG is happy to oblige, not just with this product but with many others unfortunately.

So you go ahead and price the product according to your expenses, not according to the product worth. And as a result I'm not seeing too many people here climbing over themselves to throw £200 your way.

So perhaps SG are only interested in attracting and retaining customers who drop 5 figure amounts on stamps on a weekly basis and not interested in normal folk where the profit margins are less.

SG may have built up a good reputation in the past, but increasingly there is more reason for people to question that reputation. Stamp collecting is an increasingly expensive hobby, and your out of date products have little practical value today but if freely given are a great way to attract interest in the hobby and gain the confidence of people to become new customers.

I do respect you coming onto these forums and representing SG. Not a lot of organisations are willing to engage with the public. Whether the feedback provided will influence or change any decisions I doubt, it seems those who make approvals are only interested in profits and not maintaining a market.

I guess they assume everyone is willing to give them the same sort of profit margin they are reaping in China, but your customers everywhere else in the world will let their money do the talking. Excuses for price points are of zero interest to customers, when you overprice your products people just won't buy them.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by Eric Casagrande »

Agree with the above post.

I also appreciate Rob coming on here to take it on the chin as he is on this product.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by warm »

Eric Casagrande wrote:Agree with the above post.

I also appreciate Rob coming on here to take it on the chin as he is on this product.
Yes I agree, It is important to recognize that Rob has participated in this freely moving discussion.

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Re: Gibbons Stamp Monthly DVD Digital Archive - comments?

Post by StanleyGibbonsUK »

Don't worry about me, I've been selling on eBay for 10 years so I've developed a pretty thick skin!

We do genuinely appreciate all the comments that you guys make here and we are trying to take your points on board (and I'm not just saying that!).

We're trying to talk to collectors in order to improve our service and the quality and range of products we provide and your thoughts provide a valuable insight.

In terms of the GSM Archive, I understand we did receive quotes from several companies and we went with the company who gave us the most confidence and we are very happy with the end product.

I know the price is daunting but we arrived at it by taking into account what we thought it was worth as well as the development costs.
Stanley Gibbons, England.

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