Fear not, help has arrived. Wire away with reckless abandon but just
remember to wrap the inside and the outside of your dust collector's PVC
pipes with bare wire to avoid static buildup and the inevitable explosion
Do you pay doctor bills? There are many people that do not pay their bills
because they know the clinic will eventually absorb the charges and raise
their rates, insurance premiums go up and so on. The patients paying the
bills basically pay for those that don't. Same thing here except the
publisher is encouraging this practice by the attached letter to not pay or
return if you don't want to. Those that do buy the book from that
publisher partially pay for the book that they encouraged you to keep.
Well, actually, you're wrong on two counts.
First not paying doctors bills that are truly owed isn't even close to
paying for a book for which you do not owe. People who go to the
doctor are engaging a service for which they know a payment is
expected. They use the services, then willingly stiff the doctor.
These books are sent as a marketing enticement to encourage the
recipient to engage the service. Those who choose not to engage the
service (that is, receive more books) do not owe anything. That is why
the follow-up letters from WWJ are not invoices, not bills, and not
dunning letters. They fact that you interpret them to be so, does not
make them so. They are what they are: marketing offers.
Second, sending these books is a marketing campaign that has already
figured the cost of non-returns into the campaign itself. Books that
are not returned do not raise the price of the books that are later
sold. It's just the opposite -- books that are later sold eliminate
the (negligible) cost of the non-returns. These types of campaigns
make far more money than they lose. In other words, the fact that they
do MAKE money means that they -- the marketers of such items -- LOSE
nothing, and therefore do not have to pass on the costs of those loses
It's okay to use paper... It grows on trees.
Example. The mill we buy our newsprint from has a fixed harvest area in
northern Alberta. They harvest and pulp exactly zero trees per year.
Instead, they lease rights to sawmills and buy the chips, which they
then pulp and turn into what's recognized as the highest quality
newsprint in North America.
Now, if cutting trees for lumber and using the chips for pulp offends
thee, you're definitely in the wrong newsgroup.
~ Stay Calm... Be Brave... Wait for the Signs ~
Waste is factored into the price of EVERYTHING that EVERYBODY f'ing
markets. Do you buy tools? Waste is factored into the f'ing cost. Do
you buy wood? Waste is factored into the f'ing cost. Do you buy food?
Waste is factored into the f'ing cost. Do you buy clothes? Waste is
factored into the f'ing cost. Do you buy vehicles? Waste is factored
into the f'ing cost. Do you buy paint? Waste is factored into the f'ing
cost. Do you buy stain? Waste is factored into the f'ing cost. Do you
buy sandpaper? Waste is factored into the f'ing cost. Do you buy
toothpaste? Waste is factored into the f'ing cost. Do you buy anything
at all? Waste is factored into the f'ing cost!
Do you have a PayPal account? I'll send you a buck if you'll use it to
buy a clue about this subject.
~ Stay Calm... Be Brave... Wait for the Signs ~
I see your point, I think you are missing my point. There are hundreds of
cost factors that go in to determine the price of something you will buy.
THIS METHOD OF MARKETING however points out to the consumer one of those
"wasteful" cost factors and throws it in the consumers face. When the
buying public sees such an obvious fixable waste on an item that he may
consider buying he should be insulted to think that this type marketing has
picked him to be the dummy thinking that he will not not realise that he is
the one paying for those that do not pay.
I'll refrain from offering to sell you a clue.
Once again, you are assuming facts not in evidence. I am not saying
that you are wrong, just that I see no evidence that you are right.
Let's work a little example:
Assume that the fixed cost for the book writing, editing, graphic
design, setting up the presses, etc. is $200,000.
Assume that marginal printing cost is $5 per book (cost of paper, ink,
Assume they target 100,000 customers with their marketing campaign.
Scenario 1: wasteful (according to you) approach:
Print 100,000 books
Total cost: $200,000 + 100,000*$5 = $700,000
Hit rate from this approach 50%
Paying customers: 100,000 *.5 = 50,000
Cost per paid-for book: $14
Gross Profit if sold for $20 per book: 50,000*($20-$14)=$300,000
Scenario 2: more economical (according to you) approach:
100,000 letters sent
Hit rate from this approach 20%
20,000 books printed (NO WASTE!)
Cost: $200,000 + 20,000*$5 = $300,000
Cost per book: $15
Gross profit if sold for $25 per book: 20,000*($25-$15)=$200,000
So with the waste-free approach in this example, even if the publisher
raises the price by $5, he makes less money!
Note that I am NOT claiming that these scenarios are close to the real
thing--I am just pointing out that there is not enough info here to
accept your theory that their approach leads to higher costs for the
And I have a sneaky suspicion that if I were in the publishing
business, I WOULD know these costs and response rates, and would use
the approach that would generate the best return.
Alex -- Replace "nospam" with "mail" to reply by email. Checked infrequently.
Your estimates of the 'hit' percentages are high, for both methods.
The _relative_ difference is much larger than your estimates, however.
*Very* few people buy 'reference'-type books 'sight unseen', with the
exception of 'standard' works -- e.g. the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary.
Getting the sample into the prospect's hands increases the sale rate
by a factor of somewhere 25 to 40 times.
But they sure as hell look like an invoice. I don't have mine any more or
I'd scan it and post it to get other's (and your)opinions. Just like junk
mail that comes in plain brown official looking government envelopes, people
can get confused. If I get a third one, I'll post it and then we'll pick it
apart together. While perfectly legal, I see this sort of thing frequently
in the commercial sector too.
I'm sure if they lost, they stop the practice. We are just expressing our
opinions of it.
BTW, in case you missed my other post., I did hear from Woodworker's Journal
about the subscription rates. It was clearly explained (that is all I
asked) and I got a very fair deal. I'll probably renew again next time it
comes up. They did take the time to reply and that is appreciated. I've
had crow for dinner before and may have some more. Important thing is they
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