reply to Pathfinder critics

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Mon Oct 30 15:20:43 MST 2000

Jose posted prices from Pathfinder and then a series of other publishers.
like Monthly Review, Ocean Press, South End Press.

Of course, a key difference here is that these other publishers either
don't have their own in-house press or, if they do, they pay actual wages.
Also, these other publishers have to pay distributors, whereas Pathfinder
gets a great deal of free distribution via the Barnesite branches.

Thus Pathfinder's production and distribution costs are massively lower
than these other presses.   So, even if they charged the same for their
books, there is a substantial profit being made.

As for Jose's comments about a campus bookstore in NZ engaging in
price-gouging and this explaining the high cost of Pathfinder there.  This
is clearly not so.  There are loads of books cheaper than Pathfinder in the
campus bookstore.  Pathfinder prices compare to the most expensive academic
texts, and these prices are set by *publishers* not a mere campus bookshop.

I would assume that university presses, who are the main people producing
academic texts, make money.  So, with much smaller costs, Pathfinder, by
charging the same prices, must be making a fair bit.

I think Jose should be a bit more cautious in making a big moral defense of
Barnes.  When the cult comes apart, he might end up getting some shocks he
wasn't prepared for, just like the people who wouldn't believe a bad word
about Stalin,  Mao or, closer to home, Healy.

I've seen plenty enough - and I left 16 years ago! - to not be surprised by
anything with the Barnes cult.

Philip Ferguson

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