TFPD_02: ICC can only make money by high priced publications and hard protected copyrights – part 2 of 2
As promised I continue with part two of the Trade Finance Paradigm: ICC can only make money by high priced publications and hard protected copyrights.
Example 3: The URDG 758 example
When the URDG 758 came into force – I was planning to market them in my local market as much and wide as I possible could. A new brochure was being written – seminars arranged – websites updated. In addition I would have liked to have copies of the URDG 758 printed with the bank logo – and spread to the trade finance customers in the market – just as we had done with the UCP 600. We were planning to buy 1000+ copies for the purpose. But – then the pricing structure became known. As it turned out only one version of the URDG 758 was available. Nicely printed – and including the newly drafted model forms – which most likely is why it does not fit the leaflet version.
What we had hoped of course – was that (like was the case with UCP 600) a leaflet version would be available. Note the prices mentioned in part 1 of this blog post: For the book version of the UCP 600: EUR 25. For the leaflet version of the UCP 600: EUR 4!
And the starting price for the URDG 758 was 30 EUR – of course decreasing with the number of copies bought. However – the total cost level could (of course) not be approved – so instead only the absolutely necessary number of URDG 758 books was purchased. As far as I recall 100-150 copies! i.e. approx. 10 per cent of the planned number of copies. I am confident the maths will show that the total earning to 1000 is more than for 150 – even if the earnings per copy is lower for the leaflet version…
In other words: the pricing structure for the URDG 758 decreased the total income – AND limited its reach in the market!
Example 4: The eBook example
The last example is about the eBooks published by the ICC. Personally I am a huge fan of eBooks. I prefer them at any time! I just bought the Danish translation of the Tyler Hamilton book “The Secret Race” in the Apple iBook store for my iPad!
A great number of the ICC books are available as eBooks (some are ONLY available that way) – just as the ICC newsletter DCInsight is available as an eBook. So that surely is great! However – when buying them you really must have strong faith! Because it is not easy – sometimes it is even impossible.
First of all – the price: The UCP 600 is EUR 25 for the paper version – and EUR 22,50 for the eBook version; so no significant difference; i.e. not much to save by buying the eBook version. The Tyler Hamilton eBook mentioned earlier was DKK 99 (EUR 13). The printed version (on sale) is DKK 193 (EUR 25) – i.e. quite a difference!
Secondly – there is the measures to protect the copyright. On the ICC website – when choosing an eBook you get the following “warning:”
If you Select^ the eBook format:
You need the free Adobe Digital Editions software, version 1.7.1 or higher which can be downloaded at http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/
You will be able to quickly find topics / keywords of interest to you, using the Adobe search function
The Adobe download function will be supplied to you at the same time as your eBook is delivered.
This is all very well. There is however one challenge: Although the “Adobe Digital Editions software” can be downloaded free of charge – it must still be downloaded and installed onto to the computer from where the eBook is to be read. When using a company computer (especially in banks) you are NOT allowed to download and install anything! Software to be installed on the company computer must be carefully checked and approved by the IT department – and that (at least in banks) usually is something that can be time consuming – and challenging.
Thirdly – and also related to the copyright issue, the downloaded eBook is “locked” to one computer (I am not even sure it this is one “device”??). I.e. it can only be opened and read from one computer.
Naturally this makes it very inflexible. For example with the before mentioned “Guide to ICC Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees (URDG 758)” by Dr. Georges Affaki, Sir Roy Goode – it would be natural for a trade finance department to buy one or two copies and keep them in their library – so that the guarantee officers can consult them whenever they need it. If it is downloaded to a computer and can only be read from this computer then the person how uses this computer better not get sick (or fired) – and must be willing to hand over the computer to the colleagues when they need to check anything regarding the URDG 758.
In other words: The ICC eBook model means mostly disadvantages for the users – with the consequence that the natural successor of the printed book is not the first choice for trade finance publications.
So just to wrap up the challenges:
1. Due to the pricing model the ICC rules do not reach as far as they “should.” The word “should” in this context means that the ICC rules ideally should reach all the actual and potential users of the rules.
2. It is the corporate customers that would have the biggest value from translated ICC rules – but often they do not get the translated rules (even if available) because of the pricing model.
3. The pricing structure for the URDG 758 decreased the total income – AND limited its reach in the market!
4. The ICC eBook model means mostly disadvantages for the users – with the consequence that the natural successor of the printed book is not the first choice for trade finance publications.
So what to do about it? As said – it is important that the ICC grows – i.e. they must make a profit – and their copyright must be protected!
There are in fact many ways to go. Here are some (free of charge) suggestions – and of course the list is not exhaustive:
1: Differentiated pricing for books. E.g. one price for a book bought in Denmark and another price for the same book bought in India. This would make sense especially if the book for the India market is printed in India.
2: Find a better model for eBooks. For example when downloading music at iTunes the song is available at a fixed number of devices. The purchasing of eBooks should be hassle-free – and somehow usable for a (fixed) number of readers.
3: Differentiated levels in access to trade finance information. Today you only have the DC-Pro with one option: One Year: EUR 2500 (i.e. one half years salary for my friend in India).
- You could have subscriptions for 1 month, 6 months, 9
months or one year.
- You could have different levels of subscriptions – so that
some are (almost) free of charge – but limited. E.g. that the documents can
only be read on the screen – or there are commercials on the page.
- You could even have the Spotify model where you pay a
fixed fee each month – and then have access (depending on your membership
level). This would even allow that the works of others e.g. textbooks, guides
and training material to be included – and the authors (if not the ICC) could
be paid a fee per view. That would increase the number of monthly subscribers.
This could – as an example – include the publications by the IIBLP.
4: More flexible guidelines in terms of translations – so that the ICC National Committee can produce and sell the translations at the same price as the English version.
In fact it seems that a few translations (French and Spanish) are official – i.e. can be bought from www.iccbooks.com. Why not include all the translations there.
See also point 5
5: The ICC books could be sold via the “print on demand” model. I.e. all the books are set and ready – but are only printed when and where purchased. In that case for example translations for small countries (like my own) need not be published in many copies.
In other words: There are many challenges – but also lot’s to do about it!
Look out for the next paradigm " ICC rule making – it takes the time it takes " .... coming soon ....
Take care of each other – and the LC!
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