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Old 02-25-2009, 12:21 AM   #1
globetrotter
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Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

There has been a lot of buzz recently surrounding the e-book co-written by Tri "Slowhabit" Nguyen and Cole "CTS" South. While the reputation of these players is outstanding, the hefty price tag of $1850 has many players wondering whether the content is worth the investment. Hopefully this review will make that decision a little easier.

So what are you getting for your money? Let's start with the basics:

Title: Let There Be Range

Authors: Tri Nguyen and Cole South (Approximately 46 pages from Tri and 35 pages from CTS)

Published: Late 2008 with ocassional updates ( I have received two as of this writing, and a third update is expected soon).

Content: Eighty-one page e-book featuring advanced poker strategy and hand history discussion (A printable version is on the way). You will also receive a LockLizard Secure PDF viewer and a license to access the e-book.

Special Features: Charts, graphs, four "homework" exercises, a few equity tables, and numerous example hand histories. With your purchase you also receive access to the DailyVariance private forums. Unfortunately, CTS does not participate in the forums and there is not a ton of traffic in general, although Tri does reply regularly to questions and hand histories with helpful comments.

Purpose: The author's stated purpose is to provide readers with the necessary knowledge to accurately estimate and adjust to opponents' hand ranges, which will help them to develop into winning high-stakes players.

Summary: A table of contents (and purchase information) can be found here. The book covers a variety of topics including combinatorics, hand ranges, equity, bluffing and bluff-raising (particularly on the river), card removal, common low / mid-stakes leaks, barreling, three-bet pots, and some final psychological advice.

Discussion: This book is not a magic pill that will turn you into a winning player, and the consensus seems to be that there isn't anything groundbreaking in it either (although it is certainly not common knowledge in the low / mid stakes games). However Let There Be Range is an excellent treatment of online 6max NLHE written by a very successful high-stakes player in collaboration with one of, if not the strongest and most creative player in the game today.
As a small-stakes player, the information contained in this book transformed the way I think about the game. It will not automatically turn you into a winning mid / high-stakes player, but it is an invaluable resource that will help you on your way if you put in the time and effort. While a lot of the information in this book could be found elsewhere with some hard research, it is nice to have it laid out in one place, and the knowledge that the information presented is accurate is invaluable as well. And like I said earlier, a lot of the topics discussed are not common knowledge.
I'm not sure if I would consider this e-book as my favorite poker book of all time, but it is certainly in the top three, and if it isn't number one it is close.

Criticism: There are numerous grammatical and spelling errors, and while I'm not really bothered by them, they do give the book an unprofessional feel. As I mentioned earlier, the forum is a bit of a disappointment simply because there is not a ton of discussion. Because of the security features I have had a few problems getting the updated versions to open (although the support was very helpful in these instances, and it is nice to know that they are taking measures to prevent the book from being pirated). Finally, to the best of my knowledge, instead of receiving a print version of the book in the mail we will be able to print out one copy ourselves, which is a bit of a disappointment.

Audience: Basically, the book is written towards winning low / mid-stakes players who are looking to improve their overall results. In order to benefit from this book you should already have a solid grasp of the fundamentals and a lot of experience at the tables.
Beginners and losing players would be better served by spending their time, energy, and money getting a solid grasp of the fundamentals, which they won't find in this book.

Economics: This is where the real debate comes in. Is the book worth the price? That's something that you'll have to decide for yourself, but here are a few arguments for both sides:

Reasons to purchase the book:
1 - The book will pay for itself. An NL200 player who earns an extra 1 ptbb/100 because of this book will pay off the book in ~46,000 hands (one to two months depending on how much you play). An NL400 player would do the same in half the time (feel free to check my math on this).
2 - The book costs about the same amount as 4-5 hours of coaching from a high-level coach, and it contains more information than you could cover during those sessions.
3 - The long-term benefits are far greater than the cost if this book helps you to develop into a successful high-stakes player.

Reasons not to purchase the book:
1 - For the same price you could purchase Harrington on Hold'em 1-3, Professional No-Limit Hold'em, Super/System 1-2, Harrington on Cash 1-2, The Theory of Poker, No-limit Hold'em Theory and Practice, Secrets of Short-Handed No-Limit Hold'em, The Poker Tournament Formula 1-2, The Mathematics of Poker, and about 35 other books. You get the idea.
2 - For the Same price you could get about a years worth of memberships to all of the major poker training sites.
3 - If the purchase represents a significant % of your bankroll, you will have to drop down in levels which will lower your hourly rate until you rebuild your roll.

My Recommendation: This book is definitely worth having in your poker library, and if it cost $35 I'd tell you to go out and buy a copy right now. If you put in the time and effort, this book will make you a better player. The access to Tri you get in the forums and the occasional updates also add value to the purchase (and Tri has asked for ideas / suggestions for future topics). I recommend looking into other resources first, especially if you are a beginning or break-even player, but if you have a solid grasp of the fundamentals and the bankroll this book could be the right investment for you.

You can read the table of contents and two sample chapters (the basic stuff - later chapters cover more complex concepts) as well as some testimonials and additional reviews at the DailyVariance web site.

Hope this was useful to you

Last edited by twoplustwostore; 02-25-2009 at 01:29 AM. Reason: removed link
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:21 AM   #2
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

Sorry for the repost. i was told I I needed to post the review here instead of linking to another site, so here it is.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:35 PM   #3
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

Thanks for the information. Im curious what name Cole plays under at the tables? Is it just CTS or something else?
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Old 02-25-2009, 04:55 PM   #4
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

Cole South on Full Tilt.
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Old 02-25-2009, 09:29 PM   #5
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

First-rate review, Globe. I wonder if this is sort of what 2+2 had in mind with the Winning In Tough NL Games book they had planned. I think if a major publisher would come up with something like what you've described, very advanced, high-level NL material, it could be a very popular book. For someone like myself, who loves the theory of the game, loves to study the game, but doesn't play poker for income, there is no way I'd ever buy a book for 1800 dollars. Not even for a tenth of that. Anyway, thanks again for the review.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:26 AM   #6
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

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Originally Posted by PokerHorse View Post
Thanks for the information. Im curious what name Cole plays under at the tables? Is it just CTS or something else?
A lot of his sample hands have are muckemsayahh so I'm assuming that is his name on stars or some other site.
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Old 02-26-2009, 12:27 AM   #7
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

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Originally Posted by larrondo View Post
First-rate review, Globe. I wonder if this is sort of what 2+2 had in mind with the Winning In Tough NL Games book they had planned. I think if a major publisher would come up with something like what you've described, very advanced, high-level NL material, it could be a very popular book. For someone like myself, who loves the theory of the game, loves to study the game, but doesn't play poker for income, there is no way I'd ever buy a book for 1800 dollars. Not even for a tenth of that. Anyway, thanks again for the review.
Thank you. Glad you liked it. Hopefully the price will come down eventually and then you will get a chance to check it out. Until then try some CR vids.
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Old 02-26-2009, 01:08 AM   #8
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

can someone provide a link to where to purchase/see info about the book?
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Old 02-26-2009, 01:53 AM   #9
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

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Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post
A lot of his sample hands have are muckemsayahh so I'm assuming that is his name on stars or some other site.
He was muckemsayuhh on FTP before he got his sponsorship, now he's just Cole South. I think he's cts (or maybe with a number at the end) on Stars.
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can someone provide a link to where to purchase/see info about the book?
http://dailyvariance.com/
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Old 02-26-2009, 05:04 AM   #10
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

He did have another screenname that was cts w/ some numbers that i can't remember and am too lazy to look up atm, but if anyone really wants to know i can find the sn later.
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Old 02-26-2009, 01:10 PM   #11
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

thanks guys for the info on the names.
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Old 03-02-2009, 03:21 AM   #12
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

cts687
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:17 PM   #13
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

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Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post
3 - The long-term benefits are far greater than the cost if this book helps you to develop into a successful high-stakes player.
Unfortunately that's a huge if. It would only be worth it if there was a reasonably high chance. Unfortunately for the vast majority of readers this won't happen - to think an 81 page e-book can transform someone from a mediocre player to a winner at the rapidly evolving world of high stakes poker is naive.

This book is selling the dream, for most that's all it will be.
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:42 PM   #14
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

Leopard's comments are reasonably accurate. If a person cannot handily win at say 100 or 200 nl, and it's entirely subjective regarding how to define "handily", then perhaps nothing will help the mediocre person take a big step in improvement. However, for those motivated and who recognize enhancements to their games and winrate via other sources (2+2, video instruction sites, etc, etc), then the Tri-CTS book can have a significant positive impact.

I also like the fact regardless of whether "the vast majority of readers" were to own this book or not, they will not be transformed and consequently, the games will remain good.
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Old 03-02-2009, 09:53 PM   #15
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post
There has been a lot of buzz recently surrounding the e-book co-written by Tri "Slowhabit" Nguyen and Cole "CTS" South. While the reputation of these players is outstanding, the hefty price tag of $1850 has many players wondering whether the content is worth the investment. Hopefully this review will make that decision a little easier.

So what are you getting for your money? Let's start with the basics:

Title: Let There Be Range

Authors: Tri Nguyen and Cole South (Approximately 46 pages from Tri and 35 pages from CTS)

Published: Late 2008 with ocassional updates ( I have received two as of this writing, and a third update is expected soon).

Content: Eighty-one page e-book featuring advanced poker strategy and hand history discussion (A printable version is on the way). You will also receive a LockLizard Secure PDF viewer and a license to access the e-book.

Special Features: Charts, graphs, four "homework" exercises, a few equity tables, and numerous example hand histories. With your purchase you also receive access to the DailyVariance private forums. Unfortunately, CTS does not participate in the forums and there is not a ton of traffic in general, although Tri does reply regularly to questions and hand histories with helpful comments.

Purpose: The author's stated purpose is to provide readers with the necessary knowledge to accurately estimate and adjust to opponents' hand ranges, which will help them to develop into winning high-stakes players.

Summary: A table of contents (and purchase information) can be found here. The book covers a variety of topics including combinatorics, hand ranges, equity, bluffing and bluff-raising (particularly on the river), card removal, common low / mid-stakes leaks, barreling, three-bet pots, and some final psychological advice.

Discussion: This book is not a magic pill that will turn you into a winning player, and the consensus seems to be that there isn't anything groundbreaking in it either (although it is certainly not common knowledge in the low / mid stakes games). However Let There Be Range is an excellent treatment of online 6max NLHE written by a very successful high-stakes player in collaboration with one of, if not the strongest and most creative player in the game today.
As a small-stakes player, the information contained in this book transformed the way I think about the game. It will not automatically turn you into a winning mid / high-stakes player, but it is an invaluable resource that will help you on your way if you put in the time and effort. While a lot of the information in this book could be found elsewhere with some hard research, it is nice to have it laid out in one place, and the knowledge that the information presented is accurate is invaluable as well. And like I said earlier, a lot of the topics discussed are not common knowledge.
I'm not sure if I would consider this e-book as my favorite poker book of all time, but it is certainly in the top three, and if it isn't number one it is close.

Criticism: There are numerous grammatical and spelling errors, and while I'm not really bothered by them, they do give the book an unprofessional feel. As I mentioned earlier, the forum is a bit of a disappointment simply because there is not a ton of discussion. Because of the security features I have had a few problems getting the updated versions to open (although the support was very helpful in these instances, and it is nice to know that they are taking measures to prevent the book from being pirated). Finally, to the best of my knowledge, instead of receiving a print version of the book in the mail we will be able to print out one copy ourselves, which is a bit of a disappointment.

Audience: Basically, the book is written towards winning low / mid-stakes players who are looking to improve their overall results. In order to benefit from this book you should already have a solid grasp of the fundamentals and a lot of experience at the tables.
Beginners and losing players would be better served by spending their time, energy, and money getting a solid grasp of the fundamentals, which they won't find in this book.

Economics: This is where the real debate comes in. Is the book worth the price? That's something that you'll have to decide for yourself, but here are a few arguments for both sides:

Reasons to purchase the book:
1 - The book will pay for itself. An NL200 player who earns an extra 1 ptbb/100 because of this book will pay off the book in ~46,000 hands (one to two months depending on how much you play). An NL400 player would do the same in half the time (feel free to check my math on this).
2 - The book costs about the same amount as 4-5 hours of coaching from a high-level coach, and it contains more information than you could cover during those sessions.
3 - The long-term benefits are far greater than the cost if this book helps you to develop into a successful high-stakes player.

Reasons not to purchase the book:
1 - For the same price you could purchase Harrington on Hold'em 1-3, Professional No-Limit Hold'em, Super/System 1-2, Harrington on Cash 1-2, The Theory of Poker, No-limit Hold'em Theory and Practice, Secrets of Short-Handed No-Limit Hold'em, The Poker Tournament Formula 1-2, The Mathematics of Poker, and about 35 other books. You get the idea.
2 - For the Same price you could get about a years worth of memberships to all of the major poker training sites.
3 - If the purchase represents a significant % of your bankroll, you will have to drop down in levels which will lower your hourly rate until you rebuild your roll.

My Recommendation: This book is definitely worth having in your poker library, and if it cost $35 I'd tell you to go out and buy a copy right now. If you put in the time and effort, this book will make you a better player. The access to Tri you get in the forums and the occasional updates also add value to the purchase (and Tri has asked for ideas / suggestions for future topics). I recommend looking into other resources first, especially if you are a beginning or break-even player, but if you have a solid grasp of the fundamentals and the bankroll this book could be the right investment for you.

You can read the table of contents and two sample chapters (the basic stuff - later chapters cover more complex concepts) as well as some testimonials and additional reviews at the DailyVariance web site.

Hope this was useful to you
Even though I haven't read a word of this book, I can almost guarantee that it isn't worth its price. The reasoning is very simle.

If you have a terrific poker book, and sell it through the standard mass marketing publishing, sales can be terrific. For instance, three of our books have sales of a quarter of a million copies (or more), four of our other books have sold over 100,000 copies, and one of our more recent publications, Harrington on Cash: Volume I, which has now been out for almost a year, has just over 48,000 in sales and is still selling well.

So my point is that if this book is as good as claimed where it is actually worth the price, the authors would make far more by selling it through conventional means (and if they went with us as a publisher, assuming we would be interested in doing it, their royalties would be substantial). In addition, we would also offer the book to our foreign language publishers, where additional royalties would be received by the author. So it is difficult for me to believe that it can be worth the price.

MM
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:25 PM   #16
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

the reason it won't be mass published is because the book has such a small target audience(SSNL/MSNL grinders), and is completely useless to 98% of the poker community.

That said, i was disappointed with the book, as pretty much all the information(except some of the stuff from CTS) in it is common knowledge to the better midstakes players. I still feel it would be worth the money to struggling 200-600NL players, but there are so many better ways for them to invest their money. Spending 1.8k on private coaching would be a much more +EV option.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:26 PM   #17
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

also if the book was made available through 2p2 for $20 for every SSNL TAGfish to read, i think it would nearly kill the games.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:33 PM   #18
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

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the reason it won't be mass published is because the book has such a small target audience(SSNL/MSNL grinders), and is completely useless to 98% of the poker community.

That said, i was disappointed with the book, as pretty much all the information(except some of the stuff from CTS) in it is common knowledge to the better midstakes players. I still feel it would be worth the money to struggling 200-600NL players, but there are so many better ways for them to invest their money. Spending 1.8k on private coaching would be a much more +EV option.
No. If you have a book that has the potential to make someone who studies it and really works on understanding its material a lot of money, it will sell well. This will be the case even if only a small percentage of those who purchase it can take advantage of the information it contains.

MM
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:35 PM   #19
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

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also if the book was made available through 2p2 for $20 for every SSNL TAGfish to read, i think it would nearly kill the games.
I've heard this sort of stuff for years. Again, I haven't read the book so perhaps you are right, but it's my opinion that you are wrong.

MM
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:15 AM   #20
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

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Even though I haven't read a word of this book, I can almost guarantee that it isn't worth its price. The reasoning is very simle.

If you have a terrific poker book, and sell it through the standard mass marketing publishing, sales can be terrific. For instance, three of our books have sales of a quarter of a million copies (or more), four of our other books have sold over 100,000 copies, and one of our more recent publications, Harrington on Cash: Volume I, which has now been out for almost a year, has just over 48,000 in sales and is still selling well.

So my point is that if this book is as good as claimed where it is actually worth the price, the authors would make far more by selling it through conventional means (and if they went with us as a publisher, assuming we would be interested in doing it, their royalties would be substantial). In addition, we would also offer the book to our foreign language publishers, where additional royalties would be received by the author. So it is difficult for me to believe that it can be worth the price.

MM
I think that that's a very weak argument for the book not being worth its price. It's simple math... if reading this book allows you to up your winrate by x, then after y hands you've payed off the book's price.

Do you think video training sites aren't worth the price either? They can cost up to hundreds of dollars a year.
Quote:
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also if the book was made available through 2p2 for $20 for every SSNL TAGfish to read, i think it would nearly kill the games.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
I've heard this sort of stuff for years. Again, I haven't read the book so perhaps you are right, but it's my opinion that you are wrong.

MM
Depends on the definition of "killing" the game. I do agree that if every "SSNL TAGfish" read this book, it really wouldn't hurt the games too much. I think the people who buy this book are going to be people who are very dedicated to improving their game, and so many "SSNL TAGfish" aren't those types of people.

But there's absolutely no denying that in the past few years, games (at least online) have gotten MUCH tougher, and maximum potential winrates are much lower than they were a few years ago. And this is very much the doing of video training sites, book availabilities, and discussion forums such as this 2+2 website.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:42 AM   #21
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

you're probably right that the book won't kill the games, but i think it will easily turn a rakeback grinder/marginal winner(which is what i was referring to by TAGfish, not some 18/8 moron) into a 4ptBB winner at small stakes with a bit of work on their part, which is something that i don't think cardrunners can do for you unless you watch hundreds of hours of videos.
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:03 AM   #22
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

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Do you think video training sites aren't worth the price either? They can cost up to hundreds of dollars a year.
If you purchase a number of our books, that can also cost hundreds of dollars. So if the video site supplies you with information that is not only accurate, but dense in its presentation, then paying the amount you quote can be well worth it.

I think your problem is that you are confusing the buyer and seller. The reason we price our books at the amount we price them, and this varies some from book to book, is simply that we believe this is the price which maximizes our profits. And when I say "maximizes our profits," this includes what the author(s) will make in royalties.

So in this case, assuming the e-book in question is worth this extremely high price, I believe if it was expanded into a full sized book, the authors could make much more, and I'm talking millions of dollare in royalties over the life of the book. So either the authors don't understand this, or the book isn't worth the asking price. It's that simple.

MM
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Old 03-03-2009, 02:18 AM   #23
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

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Originally Posted by ITSOVER9000 View Post
unless you watch hundreds of hours of videos.
even watching videos is worth nothing if u dont keep analyzing your hands and different situations. Reading is far better and there are some really valueable concepts and keys in this book. If you see the impact that this book MIGTH HAVE (depends on how hard u use it) on your game it is worth the money.

On the other hand i think you can get a lot of the concepts and thoughts much cheaper.
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:01 AM   #24
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

1850 for a book...5k for audio tapes....watch vids alot of stuff is htere that will make u a winner. I know 2 players who bought the cts tri bookand have lost alot trying to implement stuff into there games and it didnt work. its 1850 cause of cole souths name..cmon now
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Old 03-03-2009, 03:21 AM   #25
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Re: Book Review: Tri Nguyen / CTS E-book

Just a guess, but I think Mason's also hinting that prices would be lower for book buyers in addition to the publisher and author making more money. And the product itself being better.

All in exchange for the authors being subjected to the rigors of 2+2 and co.
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