I've been thinking about how to handle selling or licensing the posters to other libertarian groups. I see two basic options:
Option #1 is that we would handle most of the process ourselves and keep control of the artwork, perhaps overlaying a .jpg file with some text such as "www.LPSF.org" and send it out with a message letting people know they can order the posters from us via our website with their own text and/or graphics. Upon receipt of payment, we would send the orders to the printer, either with the modified artwork, or instruct them on what text and/or graphics to add, and they would mail the finished order direct to the buyer.
If we did this, I would suggest perhaps a markup of 10%. Thus, if our cost to order 250 posters is $650, or $2.60 per poster (that's subtracting the artist's fee which was a one-time cost and assuming the same shipping rates, although shipping would presumably in fact be more if we went with UPS), then we would charge buyers $715 or $2.86 per poster. Per our agreement, Scott Bieser, as the artist is also free to sell posters or license use of the artwork and charge what he wishes for this; we might want to consult him about his plans if any for doing this, but then again it might not matter if we're both doing our thing independently. (I note that the meeting minutes of June 9, copied below, quote me as saying our agreement is to split the licensing proceeds with the artist. This is somewhat misleading, and probably my fault for stating it badly. Actually the arrangement is that both parties (Scott or the LPSF) would have full freedom to sell posters or license others to use the artwork, so in that way we would in a sense be splitting licensing proceeds, but not exactly as the minutes implied.
Option #2 is that we find a larger scale merchant or merchants to handle all this for us in exchange for a commission fee on each sale. Two likely sellers that come to mind are LPstuff.com, and ThinkLibertarian.com. The advantages of this method are that they'd probably do a better job getting the word out, and we wouldn't have to deal with processing orders. The disadvantages are that we'd probably have to trust them to pay us what we were owed on an ongoing basis, and the cost of the posters to other libertarians wanting to order them for outreach would be higher and/or we'd make less profits per unit, although at least the difference would still be going to sellers of libertarian merchandise. (The poster is a specialized enough item that I doubt it would sell very well via a non-libertarian outlet, barring Scott or myself becoming a celebrity or something).
There may be additional options, or variations on these options that I haven't thought of. Some other things to think about... Is 10% a reasonable markup? Should we offer discounted rates to certain groups, or for certain uses (for example charging less if a group was planning to give away the posters or put them up in public, and more if they were going to resell them for fundraising)? If we go the merchant route, what kind of a commission rate and structure should we seek?
Incidentally, Scott recently mailed me a CD with the artwork images at his expense, and I emailed Bryce the .jpg image to put on our website. On reflection, the image that goes on the site should probably have some kind of text overlaid on it, unless we don't care about people potentially downloading it and using it without paying us anything. Or perhaps the .jpg image is not high enough resolution to enable decent large-scale reproduction and thus it is not a concern? On the CD, Scott also included the artwork as a .pdf file and an .ai file, along with a couple draft versions. I'm guessing either the .pdf or the .ai file would be the one to send to the printer, although I have not asked Scott about this.
As we debate and move forward with these options, I see no reason not to also use the Cafe Press site to sell the artwork on other types of items (mugs, t-shirts, etc.), at least assuming we are not somehow giving them control or ownership of the artwork by doing so, and are free to withdraw the items from their site in the future if we choose (for example if we work out a deal with a merchant, or produce items on our own, that would yield us a greater profit than selling the same stuff via Cafe Press). I do wonder whether the artwork will reproduce OK on something as small as a mug however!
On the issue of distribution, I am still interested in going around to merchants and asking them to display the posters. I have a color printer and can print out an 8.5 x 11" image that we can walk around and show as a sample. Who is willing to accompany me, and when are you available to do it?
According to the minutes below, Phil was going to inquire about framing costs. Do you have any news on that Phil? I regularly get Valu-Pak coupons in the mail with coupons for significant discounts at framing places, but my experience is that even with such discounts framing still tends to be grossly expensive. However I can imagine that some merchants might be willing to display the poster if we provide a frame, but not if we don't. How much should we be willing to pay for frames that we'd be giving away with posters in order to get them up in commercial establishments?
Love & Liberty,
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