Video pricing

Mary Gontarek --- Owatonna Public Library (
Tue, 3 Nov 1998 11:08:58 -0600

I know next to nothing about marketing and I'm sure my thinking on this topic
leaves out all kinds of extraneous costs such as advertising, packaging, etc.
but if you sell, say, 1000 copies at $50.00 vs 100 copies at $250.00, don't you
still make a hefty profit? What am I missing here? One of the common
misperceptions may be what filmmakers think about library film and video
collections. I'm the media librarian at a medium-sized public library and our
collection is app. 6,000 videos and expanding to the point where we're adding
new video shelving. Many of the non-fiction titles in our collection are how-to,exercise, etc. but there are also many that deal with social issues and
we also have a nice collection of theater, art and dance videos. I guess one
of my pet peeves is the attitude that many filmmakers have on what they believe
libraries will want to purchase. We probably have the most diverse video
collections around so don't sell us short (no pun intended)! I'd love the
opportunity to add titles to our collection such as P.O.V. documentaries,
more business related videos, safety and health topics - my "want" list is
long. Unfortunately there are far too many that we can't afford to purchase.
I've become a master at searching for the "good deal" but that takes valuable
time away from other important tasks. One of the most helpful tools available
for the harried video librarian is Randy Pittman's excellent publication
"Video Librarian" - but unfortunately some of the titles he reviews are still
too expensive for us.
So, that's where I'm coming from - and I know it probably won't make any
difference to the distributors and filmmakers out there who just don't get it
but, every once in awhile, I just have to vent! One distributor comes to mind
who has had a long history of contempt for librarians - and that's Direct
Cinema. They have a great collection of titles which many people are missing theoportunity to see because of their hard-assed attitude. I ask you, how much
can you love film if you want to deprive people of the opportunity to see your
product? They're one of the distributors who use two-tier pricing and refuse to
sell their "home-use only" videos to libraries on the assumption, I guess, that
we'll automatically violate copyright laws. Nothing seems to get through to
these people and if someone donated a large sum for video purchase, I'd avoid
Direct Cinema on principle! Don't get me wrong, I know that most filmmakers
and distributors don't set out to irritate us -sometimes it just seems that way. Mary Gontarek
Owatonna Public Library
Owatonna, MN