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Old October 7th 05, 01:14 AM
Taylor Kingston
 
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Default Book sales, Schiller, and USCF


The recent discussion about ChessCafe, the USCF, Eric Schiller etc.
has shown a surfeit of disinformation and biased or uninformed opinion,
and a serious paucity of facts. While I have given up arguing with
rgcp's resident mud-slingers, I post here a few things here in hopes
of providing some relevant information:

1. The claim that ChessCafe carries nothing by authors Keene, Evans
and Schiller, or the publisher Cardoza, is false. Several books by
Evans, and at least two by Keene ("Aron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal"
and "A Complete Defence for Black") are now or have recently been
on the catalog. Several books by Schiller that came with USCF's B&E
inventory were carried. Schiller's CD "The Ultimate Tarrasch" was
reviewed favorably by Carsten Hansen at ChessCafe in February 2002, and
was carried until it went out of print. Books by Cardoza are on the
catalog, and just last week, "202 Checkmates for Children" by Alberston
and Wilson, published by Cardoza, was highly praised by Steve Goldberg
in the weekly featured ChessCafe review.

2. Concerning the claim that books by Schiller are good sellers, no
one here seems to have presented any actual sales figures. The fact
that Schiller books appear in many mainstream bookstores (Borders,
Barnes & Noble, etc.) does not necessarily indicate good sales.
Mainstream bookstores rarely order specific titles in such
special-interest subjects. They usually lack the expertise to stock a
chess section, or any section requiring specialized knowledge (e.g.
science, history, psychology, computers etc.) They generally work with
several large distributors. The distributor meets with a buyer and
suggests that he can provide a selection of books on a topic. So, one
or more Schiller books would be included with perhaps another dozen or
so chess titles provided by that distributor.
However, these big bookstores have the ability to return books if
they do not sell. That means their being offered on the shelf may be
more *_a function of the distributor putting together assortments of
chess books_* than of any particular book being a good seller, let
alone being requested by a store.
Cardoza books are distributed by the big firm Simon & Schuster. This
explains why they appear in many bookstores. The big question is: how
many actually sell? If 100 books are sent to bookstores and 98 are
eventually returned to the distributor, the author is paid for only
two. So the mere fact that a book appears on the shelves of a B&N or
Borders is not proof of good sales.
Without some valid sales data, the claims of Schiller partisans must
be viewed skeptically.

3. None of the Schiller apologists have mentioned it, but he owes the
USCF approximately $20,000 for the U.S. Open fiasco he ran in Hawaii
about seven years ago. He badmouths the USCF, in print and on his
website. The generally dismal quality of his work aside, should the
USCF support and promote such an individual?

I leave it to rgcp/rgcm readers to make up their own minds on the
above points. I have lost all interest in mud-wrestling with our
resident liars, distortionists, sleaze-mongers and loonies, not to
mention their pseudonymous sycophants, and so will be arguing little or
no further on this matter.

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Old October 7th 05, 01:50 AM
Chess One
 
Posts: n/a
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"Taylor Kingston" wrote in message
oups.com...

The recent discussion about ChessCafe, the USCF, Eric Schiller etc.
has shown a surfeit of disinformation and biased or uninformed opinion,
and a serious paucity of facts. While I have given up arguing with
rgcp's resident mud-slingers, I post here a few things here in hopes
of providing some relevant information:

1. The claim that ChessCafe carries nothing by authors Keene, Evans
and Schiller, or the publisher Cardoza, is false. Several books by
Evans, and at least two by Keene ("Aron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal"
and "A Complete Defence for Black") are now or have recently been
on the catalog. Several books by Schiller that came with USCF's B&E
inventory were carried. Schiller's CD "The Ultimate Tarrasch" was
reviewed favorably by Carsten Hansen at ChessCafe in February 2002, and
was carried until it went out of print. Books by Cardoza are on the
catalog, and just last week, "202 Checkmates for Children" by Alberston
and Wilson, published by Cardoza, was highly praised by Steve Goldberg
in the weekly featured ChessCafe review.


FACT: Chessville books by Schiller = 20, USCF/Chesscafe books by Schiller =
ZERO
FACT: Chessville books by Keene = 9, USCF/Chesscafe books by Keene = 1

2. Concerning the claim that books by Schiller are good sellers, no
one here seems to have presented any actual sales figures. The fact
that Schiller books appear in many mainstream bookstores (Borders,
Barnes & Noble, etc.) does not necessarily indicate good sales.


Laugh - are we to assume that B&N and Borders are naive about their stock?

Mainstream bookstores rarely order specific titles in such
special-interest subjects. They usually lack the expertise to stock a
chess section, or any section requiring specialized knowledge (e.g.
science, history, psychology, computers etc.) They generally work with
several large distributors. The distributor meets with a buyer and
suggests that he can provide a selection of books on a topic. So, one
or more Schiller books would be included with perhaps another dozen or
so chess titles provided by that distributor.
However, these big bookstores have the ability to return books if
they do not sell. That means their being offered on the shelf may be
more *_a function of the distributor putting together assortments of
chess books_* than of any particular book being a good seller, let
alone being requested by a store.


This would be a sufficent /experiemtn/ but if these two mass retailers
continue to represent the titles /at all/ can this mean that there is merit
[profit] in doing so? I think so.

Cardoza books are distributed by the big firm Simon & Schuster. This
explains why they appear in many bookstores. The big question is: how
many actually sell? If 100 books are sent to bookstores and 98 are
eventually returned to the distributor, the author is paid for only
two. So the mere fact that a book appears on the shelves of a B&N or
Borders is not proof of good sales.
Without some valid sales data, the claims of Schiller partisans must
be viewed skeptically.


Without some elbow-grease from book-banners, suggestions that major
retailers don't know their books from their elbows might also be viewed
sceptically.

3. None of the Schiller apologists have mentioned it, but he owes the
USCF approximately $20,000 for the U.S. Open fiasco he ran in Hawaii
about seven years ago.


Can this be the real reason why his books are banned? I would have thought
that any adequate contract would have been enforced by normal means - but
apparently not! A mere $20 grand is not worth collecting!

He badmouths the USCF,


USCF policies - did he ever suggest the organisation itself should be
trashed?

in print and on his
website. The generally dismal quality of his work aside, should the
USCF support and promote such an individual?


What makes USCF so able to distinguish dismal from the publishers and the
public's confidence in continuing to publish and purchase the books?

I leave it to rgcp/rgcm readers to make up their own minds on the
above points. I have lost all interest in mud-wrestling with our
resident liars, distortionists, sleaze-mongers and loonies, not to
mention their pseudonymous sycophants, and so will be arguing little or
no further on this matter.


What nonsense - if you had lost interest you wouldn't continue to back up
chesscafe's policy and effectively ban 2 popular authors, Schiller and
Keene.

The facts of actual representation by chesscafe compared with chessville are
given above, the rest are words unrelated to business decisions, but
seemingly about a political decision by chess politicians to not represent 2
popular writers because they do not brown-nose to the politicos, disagree
over policy details or major aspects, and speak their minds [right or
wrong], like this was still a country in which you could do that.

Phil Innes
Business Manager,
Chessville.


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Old October 7th 05, 01:52 AM
Mike Murray
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 6 Oct 2005 17:14:06 -0700, "Taylor Kingston"
wrote:


2. Concerning the claim that books by Schiller are good sellers, no
one here seems to have presented any actual sales figures.


Barnes and Noble provides sales ranking for new books they sell. For
some of the Schiller books:

Standard Chess Openings: 147,194
Gambit Chess Openings 122,936
Learn From Bobby Fischer's Greatest Games: 192,450

Other Schiller titles that I checked (I quit after about 12) ranged
from about 360,000 to 614,000.

Some books that Louis Blair mentioned in a related thread:

Basic Chess Endings (Fine) 191,984
Pandolfini's Endgame Course: 103,781
Excelling at Technical Chess: 362,624
Fundamental Chess Endings 534,697
Survival Guide to Rook Endings 520,818
Chess Endgame Training 555,099

(other books mentioned by Blair were out of stock and had no sales
ranking associated with them, although they were available from
affiliated used book sellers.)

I checked a couple extra:

My Great Predecessors (Kasparov on Fischer): 25,788 -- A veritable
best-seller!
Winning Chess Brilliancies (by Seirawan): 193,458

So, it appears that sales of Schiller's books are in the quantitative
neighborhood of many titles stocked by Chess Cafe. Unfortunately,
chess books don't seem much of a threat to, say, Ann Rice.

It would be legitimate to ask how closely sales at B&N might map to
potential sales at Chess Cafe, and I have no idea how to answer this.

3. None of the Schiller apologists have mentioned it, but he owes the
USCF approximately $20,000 for the U.S. Open fiasco he ran in Hawaii
about seven years ago. He badmouths the USCF, in print and on his
website. The generally dismal quality of his work aside, should the
USCF support and promote such an individual?


Don't sell books by one who owes you money? A lot of well-known
authors would have been rejected by that criterion. What has the USCF
done to collect?

Support and promote? Selling books is primarily a service to the
*members*, isn't it? Surely we wouldn't stock books merely as a favor
to the author?

I leave it to rgcp/rgcm readers to make up their own minds on the
above points. I have lost all interest in mud-wrestling with our
resident liars, distortionists, sleaze-mongers and loonies, not to
mention their pseudonymous sycophants,


Hmmm. So what's my category, Tayor, and what's the career path? I'm
making some T-shirts.
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Old October 7th 05, 02:58 AM
Taylor Kingston
 
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Default


Mike Murray wrote:
Hmmm. So what's my category, Tayor, and what's the career path? I'm
making some T-shirts.


That is entirely up to you.

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Old October 7th 05, 03:31 AM
 
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Chess One wrote:
snip, snip
FACT: Chessville books by Schiller = 20, USCF/Chesscafe books by Schiller =
ZERO
FACT: Chessville books by Keene = 9, USCF/Chesscafe books by Keene = 1
snip, snip

Phil Innes
Business Manager,
Chessville.


I did a little poking around the Chessville site. Mr. Innes, who has
identified himself as the business manager of Chessville, apparently
fails to tell us that Chessville really has no stock at all. It seems
they do not actually carry anything. The Chessville "shop" is run by
"Chess4Less," Malcolm Pein's West Palm Beach, Florida corporation
(along with "Classical Games") that has very quietly become the "online
store" for a few chess web sites (e.g., the ICC, at chessclub.com).
This is the same Malcolm Pein who did such a horrendous job for the
immediate year or two before the USCF B&E had to be outsourced, because
of the bad job by... Malcolm Pein.

While I was there, I did a little price comparing. Amazon.com may be a
threat to book dealers everywhere, chess and non-chess alike. But
Pein's pricing seems to be to give ZERO off the suggested retail price.
Nada. Rien. (This no-discount pricing is the same at every site he
runs, including his London Chess Centre) With one notable exception...

As for Pein's view of Schiller's books, anyone who gets his magazine
CHESS out of London cannot but help to have noted that Schiller's books
have been figured prominently over the past 6, 8 or 12 months - as
giveaways and heavily discounted offerings. So I guess he does discount
some books. g

ChessCafe's pricing cannot match Amazon's (so whose does?). But the
pricing is not only virtually uniformly lower than the Chessville/Pein
prices, but it also pays 13.5% (?) to the USCF.

My point is that I think it is a little unfair to proclaim what an
equal-opportunity bookstore you are when you are really not a bookstore
at all.

Parker Rose



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Old October 7th 05, 03:42 AM
 
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At the risk of repeating my opinion one (or more?) too many times,
quality is a legitimate issue and one which would justify the USCF,
Chess Cafe, or any other seller who cares about their customers not
carrying Mr. Schiller's books.

I don't have any strong opinions on chess politics or any significant
knowledge of Mr. Schiller's role in the same, and I have nothing
against Mr. Schiller personally; I know him only through his chess
books. But I do think there is a perfectly good reason for the USCF or
Chess Cafe not to carry the vast majority of his books: namely, that
most of them are of poor quality.

So I wonder at Mr. Innes' conclusion that all critics of Mr. Schiller's
books are motivated by political or personal animus. I must take issue
with this statement. It is a practice too frequently employed in our
uncivil times: to cast aspersions on the motives of those who disagree
with us, as if not sharing our opinions is evidence of malice or some
nefarious purpose. It is a taint now infecting virtually all political
struggles in our country, and I fear the taint is spreading to other
realms of discourse. IMO, the recognition that reasonable men and women
may disagree with one's own strongly held opinions is one sign of
emotional maturity.

- Geof Strayer

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Old October 7th 05, 03:48 AM
Matt Nemmers
 
Posts: n/a
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wrote in message
oups.com...

As for Pein's view of Schiller's books, anyone who gets his magazine
CHESS out of London cannot but help to have noted that Schiller's books
have been figured prominently over the past 6, 8 or 12 months - as
giveaways and heavily discounted offerings. So I guess he does discount
some books. g


LOL! So I guess it's not so much a discount as a marketing ploy. They need
to offer a few worthless trinkets a la Chuck E. Cheese's to make their
subscriptions a little more attractive.

Maybe ol' Schiller should start writing his books under the pen-name
"Charles E. Chess."

Ba-dump-bum....


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Old October 7th 05, 03:51 AM
Matt Nemmers
 
Posts: n/a
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wrote in message
oups.com...
At the risk of repeating my opinion one (or more?) too many times,
quality is a legitimate issue and one which would justify the USCF,
Chess Cafe, or any other seller who cares about their customers not
carrying Mr. Schiller's books.

I don't have any strong opinions on chess politics or any significant
knowledge of Mr. Schiller's role in the same, and I have nothing
against Mr. Schiller personally; I know him only through his chess
books. But I do think there is a perfectly good reason for the USCF or
Chess Cafe not to carry the vast majority of his books: namely, that
most of them are of poor quality.

So I wonder at Mr. Innes' conclusion that all critics of Mr. Schiller's
books are motivated by political or personal animus. I must take issue
with this statement. It is a practice too frequently employed in our
uncivil times: to cast aspersions on the motives of those who disagree
with us, as if not sharing our opinions is evidence of malice or some
nefarious purpose. It is a taint now infecting virtually all political
struggles in our country, and I fear the taint is spreading to other
realms of discourse.


LOL. He said 'taint.' Reminds me of a joke....

emotional maturity.


What's that?


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Old October 7th 05, 04:05 AM
Mike Murray
 
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On Fri, 07 Oct 2005 02:48:07 GMT, "Matt Nemmers"
wrote:

Maybe ol' Schiller should start writing his books under the pen-name
"Charles E. Chess."


Or "Chester Nements". Oh.... that's been taken.

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Old October 7th 05, 04:09 AM
Mike Murray
 
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On 6 Oct 2005 18:58:06 -0700, "Taylor Kingston"
wrote:


Mike Murray wrote:
Hmmm. So what's my category, Tayor, and what's the career path? I'm
making some T-shirts.


That is entirely up to you.


Shucks. Lacking guidance, I guess I'll have to stick with "Inveterate
Troll".
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