For seven years, we have produced our annual Prospect Guide, with information on every prospect in the Pirates’ system. This was a key source of revenue for the site before we went subscription, and it remains a big boost for us after the switch. We plan on producing a new book every year, although due to some industry changes, we will be adjusting the way we do things this year.
The biggest adjustment has been the rise in sales for the eBook, and the drop in sales for the actual book. More and more people are purchasing the eBook copy over the paperback version year after year. The paperback version becomes more expensive to produce when we’re making fewer copies. Add to this a growing problem with shipping becoming unreliable via USPS, and expensive with other services, and the paperback version has become more of a hassle than it is worth.
This year, the Prospect Guide will be eBook only, with a slight twist.
We will have a limited amount of paperback books available for those die-hard readers who love getting the book each year. There will be a limit of 300 books sold, and those will go on a first come, first serve basis. That’s much lower than our paperback sales in previous years, so I’m expecting that full amount of books to sell out and be shipped by the time the book is released in February. You can pre-order your copy today to guarantee that you get the book.
And now for the benefits of primarily going with an eBook.
Last year we made a change with the release date of the Prospect Guide. When we started producing the book, it was released in late-January or early-February. Then we switched it to right after the winter meetings, for a pre-Christmas release. We switched it back to right before Spring Training last year, allowing us to get the most up-to-date information in the book.
Going primarily with an eBook allows us the best of both worlds. We will be releasing the first edition of the book after the winter meetings, with our initial top 50 rankings and reports. The full release will be prior to Spring Training, with profiles on every player in the system, plus our finalized top 50 rankings. This way you get updates at the key times in the offseason, rather than waiting until February to get the full book.
The eBook is also available for pre-sales. When the latest update to the book is released, you will be the first to be able to download that update, with instructions sent to you after your purchase.
There will be discounts for Top Prospect subscribers this year, using the code TOPPROSPECT18.
We will have more information on the book, including the main article and the cover, at a later date.