Some time ago, I think it was this year 2014, I had announced I was beginning work on a trilogy book. It was to be about 3 famous American authors, a sort of triumvirate consisting of Irving Chernev, Fred Reinfeld, and Al Horowitz.
I have no illusion that it will be a big success but like other “fools” before me, I thought these guys deserved to not be forgotten. In fact GM Arnold Denker (who should also not be forgotten!) wrote about these guys in his book The Bobby Fischer I knew. I had temporarily forgotten that I was a big distributor for this book, selling a huge number of copies to Borders for US Master James Eade (the publisher at Hypermodern Press). Thinkers’ Press was the “Go-To” guy to get Denker’s work into the stores when he couldn’t get attention from anyone. (A real shame since the book was quite good, in fact, better than most. The book was written in descriptive notation, a “flaw” which probably killed it as if that should be a reason.)
Back to the ranch.
What I wanted (and needed) was a complete set of “Chess Reviews,” and perhaps “Chess Lifes.” Especially Horowitz’s CRs because those featured some of our three main guys: CRH. Chess Life Editor Dan Lucas even gave me a small forum by announcing this and I heard from two right off the bat: GM Andy Soltis and Chernev’s son Mel Chernev. Andy gave me a contact for the address of Reuben Fine’s son. In fact Andy even gave me permission to update the book we did for him, Confessions of a Grandmaster. I wonder if anyone in “Crowdfunding” would care to see this done?
At any rate someone told me that the USCF had a set of CDs (DVDs?) which photographed ALL the pages for those two magazines. Wow, what a find until I found out who made them; same guy who was going around ripping off DVDs and CDs from such companies as ChessBase. So I had little or no hope of doing business with him. But friend Glenn Peterson told me that the USCF owned them.
So I did what any idiot would do, hope against hope, and order a set of them at $48 from the relatively new “vendor” at the USCF. They might have been available from Amazon, I can’t remember. I waited, and waited, and waited. I ordered them “online” which was the same as ordering them by Pony Express. I don’t know who was at fault, but if I remember right, it took 12-15 days to get them.
I didn’t like it, but, finally they arrived.
That’s When The Second and Bigger Horror Began!
The discs were crapola! The “photography” ran “edge-to-edge” of the pages. Of course that meant sometimes letters were cut off. I am sure it had something to do with the software, the copying process, something. Did ANYONE even bother to look at this? There will be times when I might need to look at the original pages to determine what I am missing. Now here’s my POINT.
If I made a DVD of these pages, assuming I could get hold of them, the price would probably be $200, OR more. Maybe $500 or $1000. I know, right now, I would get screaming, bitching and moaning, from the cheap-assed peanut gallery. But you know that buyers would get useful and readable copies of each page. You see, doing it right take TIME, a lot of TIME but buyers often have NO concept of what time is worth or how it shortens one’s life span! They “charge” according to what their tiny brain would be willing to pay for it.
We have to assume, so the critics will say, that if I dropped the price to $100 (or so), I would sell “thousands” (that’s exactly the word that has been used by those writing to me) of discs. First of all, are there thousands of people out there who would CARE? Seriously? I DOUBT IT.
Hence pricing is all about a FINE line. Where is the boundary? Answer: NO ONE KNOWS.
Yes, there might be 50-100 people who are deep into history (chess) but no doubt many of them would already OWN these magazines.
And yet, this collection of pages is not even SEARCHABLE. I might want to look at all stories on REINFELD or HOROWITZ for example and have NO WAY to search them without actually reading all those screwed up pages.
After the migraine has finally gone away, the reader is still frustrated. The product is close to useless BUTTTTTT it is only $48!!! Between you and me the “money” aspect (possible $100,000) doesn’t impress me. In a recent letter a “complainer” informed me about the subject of “scalability.” You can’t “scale” numbers of customers, the population, big though it may be has lots of limitations. I have no idea WHY these people even contact me except one. They are hoping that after insulting me I will have pity on them. Ignorant or what? At the end of his letter (September issue of BNL) he tells me he hopes to buy copies of my Purdy books at a USED (should be called ABUSED) bookstore.
I have some of these CR issues here at the MUSEUM but I am missing too many. That’s why some time back I was looking for donations (but was also pretty sure I wouldn’t receive much though I did get some years from Bob Lynch–thanks Bob.) I didn’t KNOW for sure, so I asked.
Kudos also to Bob Woodworth for loaning me something I made! A CD of all the issues of THE CHESS REPORTS! I have no idea what I did with my “master” CD, I may have mistakenly sold it (sound of sobbing). I could recreate it from my hard disks but it won’t be as easy as you may think. I am not supposed to do stupid things like this (reinforces “humility” I will tell you that). But, I did.
I would’ve enjoyed “reading” those discs of CHESS REVIEW but… now I do not and I am sure it has slowed down the project to some considerable degree.
BY THE WAY
Theoretically I should be getting the book AMONG THESE MATES soon but I have yet to hear from the printer (under my breath: “Why me?”).
I do want to tell those who have yet to subscribe to Bob’s News Letter ($20 per year) that the upcoming September letter is chock full of goodies and publishing info, collecting autographs and where you might find them. Also info on the new books coming out. Data on the recent phenomenon in St. Louis and how I think Aronian is burning himself out (see the picture on the ChessBase website about Bilbao), doesn’t he look tired? I mean, tired? Another QUIZ item too as we get near #9 of 12 and what this means for the contest of awarding Ca$h and Prizes.
And how to fight, or not fight, SECRECY concerning new products coming up and what you can expect as well as some more “hints” concerning Membership in the Chess Butler/Thinkers’ Press Society. I am jazzed about this (another word for “jacked” James Pratt). Also, more about BENEFITS OF CHESS.
If you are wondering how to pay me, PayPal is good (go to the PayPal website, type in my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org), the amount and send. If you don’t have an account it isn’t hard to set one up. Their “terms” are total H.S. but the onerous part is only in the time wasted in reading them (which, I did). Say it is $20, they can deduct it from your credit card, etc. Or you can send a personal check or an impersonal one (Postal Money Order). I take credit cards such as Visa, MC, or Discover. Call me at 563-271-6657 for quick details.
That’s it for the weekend. I probably will let this run on Monday too.
P.S. — BENEFITS!
I get a tad side-tracked sometimes!
The shark eats the whale. The person handling the vending position at USCF is not one of my favorites. How does he and House of Staunton (same person) get away with all those pages of advertising (and by the way, bad advertising)? Does he pay anything for them? Is it in lieu of salary, FREE, or what? This has gone for year after year. Just like Lev Alburt always having the back page of CL&R. You do know that is super expensive to ordinary mortals don’t you?
There is a monster advantage, “shark monster” of doing BIDNESS with the Chess Butler don’t you? Quick, competent, and understands the value of a dollar! My experience in the business part of 40 years is only exceeded by a couple people. Dale Brandreth and possibly crusty old Fred Wilson (remember, Jim Eade called me “grumpy.”)
If you’ve been a customer you probably know, to your own satisfaction, what the benefits are in dealing with Bob Long and the Chess Butler when it comes to you: competent (most never mention this as a benefit), honest (but then everybody says that), super-experienced, have TDed and organized many events, published over 160 books, most on chess. And then there is about 13 or so publications I have edited which means I have some idea of what you like or want. Like Al Horowitz, I answer my own mail and emails. I am an inventor, a former chess rated expert and now just a plain old ordinary “specialist,” and I will talk to people on the phone.
Now there is something new and extraordinary coming. Membership in an extraordinarily limited organization with many tangible benefits. Definitely not for the squeamish or cheap. More details in upcoming issues of Bob’s News Letter ($20.00, subscribe today). I am definitely excited as well as confounded about the time, the cost, and just “little” things like that! But, hop on board. Your subscription gives me a “BASE” or a “PLATFORM” for planning on how all this can work out. Twenty dollars is cheap for some new insights, announced gifts and “gimmicks,” and innovation. TODAY, subscribe today! Hey, Thank you.