The Banknote Book: Product Development Roadmap

by Patrick Ian Perez

Published on June 25, 2021

The Banknote Book Roadmap: Infographic
The Banknote Book Roadmap: Infographic


The future of The Banknote Book is really exciting and we'd like to share our ideas with you. Feedback welcome!


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Now that CDN’s acquisition of The Banknote Book (BNB) is widely known, there has been much discussion and anticipation by legacy subscribers. We would like to lay out the “roadmap” of our future plans and goals so subscribers can get understand the concrete steps we are taking. This discussion is open to feedback so we can publicly discuss the future of BNB and make this the world's greatest "living" catalog of world paper money.   


DATABASE CONVERSION

Our first and primary goal is the conversion of all the data contained in the hundreds of individual PDF chapters into a single database format. What will that allow us to do for subscribers?

Enhanced search capabilities via an online pricing and identification tool: When all information is digitized, users will have a powerful online search tool that unlocks vast possibilities. With a standard browser, users can look up notes by catalog number, country, issuer, date, denomination, and variety in any combination. Thus, if one wants to see all 100 francs issues of Switzerland, the search terms would simply be “Switzerland 100 francs”. If the user only wanted to see the 100 francs of 1964 the search would be “Switzerland 100 francs 1964”. If the user already knew the catalog number and just wanted to quickly check the price the search would be “Switzerland B334f”. The search will return the note listings and images, and clicking through to the individual note will show all relevant description information and pricing. The online tool will also allow a “breadcrumb” style of search, by clicking through the menus by country, then issuer, then to the note. This is helpful for those who wish to see all notes from a given issuer or time period.


MOBILE APP

We are planning a dedicated mobile app to access the content in the same way as the online pricing tool. The database format will allow users to search and lookup all notes using a fast, easy to use mobile app. The app will also feature a robust search function and will make looking up note prices faster than scrolling through chapters online. Subscribers can currently use the Greysheet mobile (and tablet) app to access BNB chapters, which works particular well on the tablet version.

>> Download the FREE Greysheet app here


PDF DOWNLOADS

Some legacy subscribers have lamented the inability to download chapters. While this can still be done through July 1, 2021, via Content Shelf, legacy subscribers can also request this feature on the Greysheet.com web site (email banknotebook@greysheet.com ). Requests must be approved by CDN Publishing administrators and may be denied in the future if we suspect PDF’s are being shared or used unscrupulously. This is not a long-term solution, nor will it automatically be granted, or extended in perpetuity. We are, however, working on a solution.

Many users have stated they print the BNB pages for keeping inventory. We are developing a way to offer this functionality without allowing the unauthorized sharing of valuable BNB PDF chapters. In the future, catalog contents will be available to download in a modified format: the file will contain all information needed to identify and catalog notes, such as the BNB number and all variety information as it appears now. It will also include the signature tables and introductory and issuer text. It will not contain note images or pricing. This way, collectors will always have a handy printed reference.


SINGLE CHAPTER SUBSCRIPTIONS

We are focused on selling subscriptions to the entire catalog, but we understand some collectors only collect individual countries. While we are not setup to allow purchases of single chapters at the moment our long-term solution is a print-on-demand solution (see below).We will work with our printing partners to allow collectors to order single physical copies of a chapter in either high-quality book or magazine format.


BNB CATALOG NUMBER ADOPTION

Having the BNB content in a database gives us the ability to deliver it to major auction houses and third-party grading services and be compatible with their internal systems. Our experience in this area is vast, and we fully plan to work tenaciously with these firms to adopt BNB catalog numbers for attribution in their auction catalogs, grading slabs, etc. to ensure The Banknote Book becomes the new standard reference for the hobby.


REVISIONS

Some have asked how they will know when a chapter is updated; the answer is they will be continually updated. Owen has kept a very accurate and amazing log of changes for each chapter, but PDFs are static, and the database is dynamic. Going forward any and all new issues and varieties will still be posted at www.banknotenews.com, a site all users should be familiar with. When a new variety or issue is added to a chapter, a new PDF will be uploaded, and these additions will simultaneously show in the online tool and the mobile app. Everything will be in sync without the need for tedious downloads.


BANKNOTE PRICING

CDN has built its reputation of providing accurate numismatic pricing, and we plan to begin a wholesale review of pricing in The Banknote Book once the database is complete. Prices will be provided in additional grades, down to the variety level, for issued notes as well as specimens and replacements.


PRICE FREEZE FOR LEGACY SUBSCRIBERS

As a show of loyalty to Owen's original supporters, CDN will guarantee a price freeze for annual subscriptions for legacy subscribers at the same rate paid at the time of the acquisition (May 1, 2021) for at least 5 years. Note: the subscription must be uninterrupted and offered at the rate of one per subscriber. Not valid for single-chapter buyers.


PRINT ON DEMAND

We are currently looking into affordable print-on-demand options where users could specify one, or more, chapters for high quality printing via a professional third party. Early research is proving to be extremely expensive (>$50 per chapter) so we continue to seek more affordable options and will present them when/if possible. We are confident that over time, technology and pricing will catch up.


ADVERTISING & SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

In order to defray costs, we will add a select number of targeted advertisements (no more than 3 at a time) to the first online viewing pages. These would appear in the back of print-on-demand editions. Note, the success of this program will allow us to keep subscription prices low, and also introduces collectors to firms that offer notes and services of interest.


We are very excited and dedicated to The Banknote Book and ask the collector community for the time to implement our plans. Our timeline is already moving more quickly than planned, which gives us great anticipation to share these improvements with all world paper money collectors. We realize that there will be an adjustment period as users transition from static PDF files and embrace an interactive online/app-based catalog. We are confident, however, that users will ultimately find the experience more efficient and effective.



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Comments (4)

  • avatar image
    Jake Gutman Reply

    Thank you for this helpful roadmap and for being open to feedback and community input. As a contributor, I am hopeful that this acquisition will only improve the BNB and its reputation and serve to ensure its longevity. In general, given the lack of experience it seems with the Greysheet database among many banknote collectors, myself included, I would highly suggest testing the getting feedback on the database before rolling it out full scale as there may be fields or certain ways of presenting information that would be more or less helpful. Just building out Afghanistan or China as they seem to be the test cases could be good rather than having to make database-wide changes later if certain things are not well liked. I share the questions already discussed below and appreciate the answers. A few further ones: 1. Revisions are very important such as the discovery of a new variety or a renumbering. Is there a way to provide a weekly list of revisions or something akin to what Owen has helpfully done in the past as a news item in “Banknote News Weekly” email we all got this week? Some clear way to make such changes known other than having to regularly check the website I think would be very helpful. 2. As a collector I often am traveling internationally without internet access and want to consult BNB on the fly. The PDFs therefore have been very helpful. What would be very helpful if PDFs go away would be the ability to temporarily download countries in the database for offline access. For example, if I am in Greece and know I won’t have cellular service or Internet, it would be great to be able to download just the Greece chapter in the database for offline use. 3. A very useful part of the BNB has been the short descriptions of the different series of notes within a chapter or close up comparisons between two different notes to show the differences. How will these addendums that are not just information on one note appear or be incorporated into the database? Additionally how will information like references, introductions to chapters etc be included in the database? 5. Will each different variety of note have its own pictures? One of the seeming benefits of the database is no limits on page numbers or space. As a result, a major innovation the database could offer would be pictures of every single variety of note (a, b, specimens etc) not just one picture for all the varieties of a note. This would go far beyond SCWPM and allow much greater information and comparisons between different varieties of notes than just descriptions. 6. One suggestion would be to have links to other chapters. For instance, like Owen has currently in the catalogue to have a link at the beginning of the Myanmar chapter to have a link to “for earlier notes, see Burma” but this be actually hyperlinked.

    Wednesday, June 30, 2021 3:43 AM EST

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    • avatar image
      Patrick Ian Perez

      Jake, thanks for the feedback. We have added a "Date Revised" column to the chapter listings so users can see when a chapter has been updated, and it is sortable. We are working on an alternative to the full PDF downloads that collectors can use offline, but I can't lay out the full details here. Yes every note variety, specimen, etc. will have its own images in the database. I know collectors are impatient as to us releasing the database, but we are working as fast as we can to complete it, and I think people will like it once they see it. Thanks.

      Monday, July 26, 2021 9:57 PM EST
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    Marco Zocchi Reply

    Banknotes pricing Revisions: how we will know when a chapter has a pricing revisions to enable to update our collection databae?

    Sunday, June 27, 2021 1:57 PM EST

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      Patrick Ian Perez

      Marco, pricing will be updated on an ongoing basis. I know this will be different that what banknote collectors are used to, first with the SCWPM coming out every few years and then BNB Chapters with comprehensive pricing revision dates. Now, the best way to update your collection will be to create a pattern that works for you, for example checking your notes' prices twice a year or quarterly to update changes. Thank you.

      Monday, June 28, 2021 2:20 PM EST
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    William Girimonti Reply

    The roadmap looks great but it is missing indicative timeframes for each step on that journey. What are the target dates for each stage?

    Saturday, June 26, 2021 5:09 PM EST

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    • avatar image
      William Girimonti

      If dates are not yet known, could you at least say how close to completion each step currently is?

      Saturday, June 26, 2021 5:16 PM EST
    • avatar image
      Patrick Ian Perez

      William, we chose not to put specific dates because we want to avoid putting ourselves in a position of potentially missing them and rushing, therefore compromising the work. The conversion is proceeding faster than we anticipated already. I would say we are looking at three to four months. Thank you.

      Monday, June 28, 2021 2:15 PM EST
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    Nico Ribbens Reply

    It looks very well, goodluck from the Netherlands.

    Saturday, June 26, 2021 9:12 AM EST

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