WJ Book

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The Woodworker's Journal book
It is disturbing for me to read the thread about the Woodworker's Journal book. I can assure you that there was no intention of causing aggravation and for that I apologize.
Most of the people getting the book offer in the mail are on (or have been on) our subscriber list. The book project was created for a couple of reasons. First off, we have 29 years of woodworking content, the majority of which is now out of print. We get hundreds of queries asking for these plans every year. Our only recourse at this time is to photocopy the plans, which is not a great solution for our customers or for us. After thinking about it for a while, we thought a good way to put those projects back in print would be to put them into a book series. The problem was that, while we know how to make and sell magazines we don't know much about selling books. (And as pedestrian as it sounds, we are a "for profit" organization. That is the second reason.) So we hired a marketing company to help us do that. Their suggestion was a continuity series sent through the mail. We tested the concept (10,000 books on the first mailing), and got a favorable response. The first book in a series like this always contains a "no strings attached" offer. If you like it, and would like to see more, you can buy it. If you don't like it, there are two choices. You can return it, at our expense (return label is included), or simply consider it a free gift and do with it as you will. That's all clearly stated in the letter that comes with the book. As a side point, we have recently added a good-sized "bubble" on the outside of the book packaging that says "No obligation opportunity. Please read enclosed letter" just to be very clear. Again, I apologize for the aggravation.
Rob Johnstone, Editor, Woodworker's Journal
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Once again, this topic comes up. I thought we laid this to rest a couple of weeks ago when it was my magazine under attack. At the time, I explained as carefully as I could that *NO OBLIGATION* is the name of the game with these kinds of offers. There is no reason under the sun for anyone who gets an offer of this type to get all upset and feel guilty. If you like the offer and want more, sign up. If you don't, send it back. If you don't like the offer, and don't want to send it back, then don't. Just keep it as a gift. Give it to someone else as a gift. Toss it out. Whatever.
A couple of weeks back when it was Woodcraft Magazine under attack, I not only attempted to explain all of this, but also stood up for Rob and WWJ's book promotions because the situations were so similar. (I seem to recall that I was criticized for that by a couple of posters.) But it's the same thing. There's nothing sleazy here, nothing underhanded. Rob's a great guy and edits a fine publication. He has better things to do than scam woodworkers. If you get a promotional offer from his publication, or mine, or anyone else's (I got a free cookbook last week from BH&G, with the exact same kind of offer), there's nothing to get upset or guilty about. It's just plain old simple marketing of an offer that we publishing folks hope you'll like. If you like it, buy it. If you don't, ignore it. You won't hurt our feelings, and we won't come yell at you.
As Rob says, "Read the enclosed letter." Everything you need to know is in there.
A.J.
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I stand firmly behind both you and Rob on this issue, and say 'Bravo!' to your willingness to address the naysayers and critics in this public forum. This newsgroup is becoming less and less about woodworking and more about a few people with too much time on their hands sitting at their computers throwing stones at whatever topic-de-jour catches their interest. Both of you publish fine magazines that provide a valuable resource to the woodworking community. Anyone who believes that you would stoop to underhanded marketing techniques at the risk of your good names has been brainwashed by the spam police into mistrusting everyone and everything. Thank you and keep up the good work.
A.J. Hamler wrote:

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wrote:

...and what does any of THIS have to do with woodworking, Jonah? Did the plight of the publishing industry catch your interest? Did you have too much time on your hands? Were you sitting at your computer when you had all that time on your hands? You weren't throwing stones at all of us, were you, Jonah?
Jonah?
*tap, tap, tap*
"Is this thing on???"
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Thanks for helping me make my point. What little free time I have to read this group has become more of a chore than an enjoyment because of all the off-topic babble and sniping I have to wade through. Here are a couple of stand-up guys apologizing for not dumbing down their mailing enough to suit the masses, and all they get is more abuse! Sorry I didn't answer your post immediately...I was making sawdust.

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Hi, AJ
Yes, it's me again! Please see my reply to Rob. Stand up guy that he is, I'm sure he will answer my question about variable subscription rates. Maybe it is just me, but I'm getting this distrust of the magazine publishing industry. Perhaps there is nothing sleazy and underhanded about asking for more money in April than in May for the same product. Pissed me off though. You really should stop and find out the facts before defending someone that has questionable billing policies. Do all you guys in the business do that? How about an insider tip as to the best time to renew subscriptions to get the best deal? Most all of us on this newsgroup subscribe to a couple of magazines and can use your insight to wind around the path of multi billings to the best value. Does Woodcraft Magazine to the same?
Your friend always, Ed
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Your questions are better addressed to those who control those aspect of the publications, and that person is NOT the editor. Check under such titles as Publisher, Circulation Director and so on. The editor works with magazine content and layout. You really should stop and find out the facts before you criticize those who do not deal with the subject you're objecting to.
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Good point BUT why did not the Circulation Director make his comments here about the shipping of this no obligation book instead of the Publisher? ;~)
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Leon wrote:

Why did your grandmother have children? I don't know the answer to that, either.
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LOL.. Just yankin you chain Charlie...
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[snipperized]

Then it should be the Publisher, Circulation Director and so on to have this little fire-side chat with us here, eh?
The out-sourcing of marketing approaches (Publisher's Clearing House etc. (You MAY already be a wiener")) brings with it tried and true methods of shaking the bushes for subscribers at the lowest possible level...i.e. people who really don't want the magazines.
The 'negative billing' style of promotions are becoming more and more misleading as the digging for subscribers goes deeper. (Driven by the lure of higher circulation numbers in order to fetch bigger bucks for advertising.) Those schemes most certainly count on the basic instinct for humans to want to be decent. A book shows up. They hold in their hands something that isn't theirs. Do they send it back and feel bad, or keep it and feel bad? The only option left is to pay. It's a dirty ploy to bilk nice people. NOT cool.
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EXactly
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******
And if you're not, we're going to make you one! :o)
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It was the editor that decided to come to a public forum under the Woodworker's Journal banner about the books. If he is willing to take responsibity for that aspect, he should be able to use his influence to get the answer to other practices by the same publication. If not, he had no business being here defending WJ in the first place.

I have tha facts. The fact were stated plainly. I have the invoice in front of me. If Rob is not the person to ask, if AJ is not to back him up, they should not make statements about their publications in a public form. I did just that. You decided to answer me. That is your choice, that is the chance I took. Since Woodcraft is not involved in the practice here, AJ should either sit back and be quiet or be willing to answer for his comments also. Just as you should. You have been involved in the publishing industry and seem to want to be involved in this discussion. What do you think of the practice of offering the same renewal at differing prices? Sleazy? Good business? I'm sure it is perfectly legal, but that does not mean it is received well in the eyes of the consumer.
I saw the mail last night and yes, it did tick me off to see that I could have saved five bucks by waiting. I was really not sure if it was worth bothering with, writing a letter, tell others about it, or just forget about it. Wow, to my surprise there is a full blown bona fide representative from Woodworker's Journal making public commentary. Why not ask the professional? The President of the United States takes all sorts of questions. Why would these guys want to shy away when they have the stage, front and center, to explain their position. That is what honest journalism is about, open information, not a bunch of industry insiders patting each other's backs. What do you, as a journalist, think?
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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<<The fact were stated plainly. I have the invoice in front of me. If Rob is not the person to ask, if AJ is not to back him up, they should not make statements about their publications in a public form. I did just that. You decided to answer me. That is your choice, that is the chance I took. Since Woodcraft is not involved in the practice here, AJ should either sit back and be quiet or be willing to answer for his comments also. >>
We (educated consumers) know that unsolicited merchandise can legally be considered a "gift" and may be kept without obligation to either return it or pay for it. And in that repect, I can completely sympathize with your annoyance at being billed for the book you recieved.
However, what I cannot sympathize with is for someone to come in here and speak his mind about the topic du jour and at the same time tell another participant that he should "sit back and be quiet." You have the right to grouse to your heart's content about what you perceive as shoddy marketing practices. It is, after all, a public forum. So by the same token, I think telling AJ to pipe down is out of line. (Note: I have no business telling you not to express your opinion; I'm just letting you know that I disagree.)
Lee
--
To e-mail, replace "bucketofspam" with "dleegordon"



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Re=read what I wrote. He is able to make any comment he want, but must be willing to take the heat for them also. Just like I did, just like you are. If he wants to be an apologist for the publishing industry, he is a full blown participant and subject to other's comments about his.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

First, I'd be glad that prices have gone down on something these days. To my certain knowledge, lowering prices has been a time-tested way of increasing sales. It bugs you? Life's like that.
Second, you didn't really ask questions. You sniped.
George Bush takes all sorts of questions? Pardon me while I wait for my the laugh pains in my sides to subside.
Journalism is not about answering questions on an internet forum. I read one guy supporting another who felt the first person was unfairly castigated. You read a conspiracy, or something, of industry insiders patting each other on the back.
We disagree.
Oh, if I were you, I'd toss the invoices.
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On 26 May 2005 01:17:52 -0700, the inscrutable "Charlie Self"
--megasnip--

Let me add a caveat to that advice, Charlie. If they have some sort of auto invoicing system, it might trigger a collection agency tactic next. Getting it handled in person might be a smarter idea. Nobody needs their credit ruined over a stupid marketing stunt.
--
REMEMBER: First you pillage, then you burn.
---
  Click to see the full signature.
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...............DAMN!!!
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Well, Charlie, you told me to get facts. Can I assume that you know ofr a fact that prices did go down for everyone all the time? That is my question. Is there stages of pricing depending on when and how you renew? When is the best time to renew? Are you speaking for WJ or for yourself with your statement above?

One man's question is another man's snipe.

That was my first inclination. On later thought (Rob opened the door) I decided that bringing this practice to the attention of others is important. I can possibly save a few bucks for others that choose to buy the magazine. I probably won't take the time to cancel, but I will definitely has second thought at renewal time next year. This situation also determines what I do with other discretionary spending. The Rockler family is involved with this publication. Once the association is made, you have to wonder about other things.
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