A Brief Introduction to this Page's Purpose

Not Another Dime! is dedicated to documenting the assorted, and sometimes wild, details of Mr. Ken Whitman's business dealings within the Role Playing Game (RPG) industry. This place is NOT intended to be a medium of discussion about Mr. Whitman, pro or con, but instead be a "jumping off" point to enable the reader to make their own informed decision about Mr. Whitman's history and business character.

Whenever possible, links to the original source material will be provided, but in many cases that information may have been deleted or secured behind restricted-access (like a private Facebook page) accounts.

Anything posted here is the opinion of the retrospective author and any content shown is to be considered "fair use" and posted for educational purposes only.

Note to authors: Please begin each post with the original date of creation in the format of YYYY.MM.DD (i.e. 2015.08.08) so readers can use the Chronology page to find specific information. Please use appropriate tags when possible for the same reason.

Note to contributors: If you have some valid data to send, screenshots, links to other Ken Whitman stories, etc., please feel free to send a gmail to notanotherdimeblog. We'll look into it and post if appropriate.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

2015.04.05 d20 Entertainment Storefront KoDT Book Irregularities

2015.04.05 d20 Entertainment Storefront KoDT Book Irregularities
This is a print-off of the "d20 Entertainment Store" from April 5th, 2015.

The significance of this screenshot is two-fold. 1st it shows that Ken Whitman is selling Hardcover editions of the KODT: 20 Years of Covers book.

Why is this significant?

2015.04.05 d20 Store ScreenshotWell, as part of the original Knights of the Dinner Table: Live Action Series Kickstarter, Ken Whitman offered (after we pledged $450) "Any backer purchasing a $200 or more reward package, will receive a FREE copy of the Hardback Limited Edition Book!!!" The accompanying graphic for that offer, still visible as of today, clearly states that this book.....the book, not a specific version of the book, is "only available on Kickstarter, Not available after February 5th!"

Original "promise" regarding the books
This Kickstarter funded on February 5th, 2014, but even then I think everyone can agree that April 5th occurs after February 5th....in any given year. Only the hardcover and softcover are even mentioned in the Kickstarter. Ken Whitman added the "limited edition" leather-bound hardcover for $250 at some later date.

2015.04.05 Barb's Selling her books on eBayIt is important to note that the Kickstarter specifically mentions that production of the hardcover is "limited to 250 copies".  This fails to take into account the 25 copies also printed as part of the payment to the author of the book, Barbara Blackburn. She put her books up on eBay and noted that there were at least 275 copies printed.

So at this point we presumably have more copies of the book printed than promised and sold well after the promised cut-off date AND we have an additional book format in that "premium" edition.

But wait!!!!! There's more!

2014.10.08 d20 Store Screenshot
Thanks to something called the Internet Archive Wayback Machine we can take another peek or two at the d20 Entertainment store. This is where things get even better! According to his website as it was on October 8, 2014 Ken had 50 (!) of those "premium" books for sale. According to the text, only 40 copies are for sale because the first 10 are being reserved for "Jolly Blackburn and the D-Team"

Hmm....let me see if I get this right.....in October 2014 there are 32 of 40 available copies of the premium book available because 10 are being reserved. This means you sold 8 for a sum of $2,000 (8 x $250 = $2,000). Fast forward to April 5th of 2015 and it seems that there aren't any books being held back for the D-Team (Jolly & the D-Team is redundant) and you've got 29 left, meaning you've sold 21 books for a sum of $5250.

2015.08.08 d20 Store Screenshot
I wonder how many are left now? Easy enough to check....wait a second....now the books are limited to a print-run of 25 and you only have 2 left? Ken Whitman put on his website earlier that he had 50 of these books, was saving 10, and then removed all mention of those 10. Since he only has two left now I have to assume that means he has sold all 48 of the other copies. You cannot unmake 25 books, so I have to just assume that Ken Whitman is lying about the number of books printed. Since he's already lied about the number of hardcovers made I don't think it is a stretch to assume he's made and sold at least 48 of these premium books for an income of  $12,000 (!)

As far as I know Ken Whitman has has absolutely no oversight on these books, so the numbers could actually be higher, but just with what we've seen here today we are talking about roughly $38, 627 in books. To break that down we have 23 softcovers (although who knows how many were already printed and sold) for $1127, 250 hardcovers (I'm not counting Barb's 25 copies) for $25,000 and the 48 "premium" Hardcovers for $12,500.

Holy crap! That is a lot of book money! Now I cannot fathom the costs for these books, but just looking at the hardcover for an example and looking at the closest comparison at Lulu.com I get a unit price (with a volume purchase of 300) to come out to $62.75. Now I also think it is safe to assume that since the quality was poor (that was my opinion) and the fact that Ken worked in the POD industry (maybe even still has his setup?) that his costs would be below this unit price.* At this price his margin was 37.25% Yet another assumption is that the margin would be less for the paperback and more for the "premium", but for the sake of simplicity this means Ken Whitman should have at least profited roughly $10,000 off of the sale of these books AFTER accounting for the free books sent out to those backing KoDT:LAS at $200+ AND the 25 books he sent out to Barb.




*2015.08.10 UPDATE According to a Kickstarter comment made by Ken Whitman on August 7, 2015, the hardcover books cost less than $40 each to make: "25 hardcovers that cost d20e almost 1000". That changes the number significantly because that means his margin on the hardcovers is over 60%!