Re: Interesting prices follow-up from Chip Taylor

Gary Handman (
Mon, 6 Dec 1999 13:26:08 -0800 (PST)

I appreciate your careful response, Chip. As for airing concerns on this
(or any other) listserv--positive or negative: it's interesting that this
recent round of discussions seems to be the first time in a great while
that I've seen distributors actively "sit up and bark," as it were...
Whether anything comes of this discussion is yet to be seen. My experience
is that single voices (even powerful voices) are very seldom heard or acted
upon by the sellers of library "product." Talking to sales manager or
customer service reps is--pardon my cynicism--like whispering to the void
in most cases, particularly if the whisperer has a fairly slim budget to
back up his/her words. On the other hand, I think there is strength in
union; and in my view, that's exactly what is going on here. My hope is
that the opinions and concerns aired on videolib in the last week have
served as a kind of group wake up call: there are obviously commonly-held
and strongly-held concerns about various pricing and marketing
practices--this listserv has allowed those concerns to be heard at a louder
volume than would otherwise be possible.

At 12:54 PM 12/06/1999 -0800, you wrote:
>I want to share the response I forwarded to Sally Wellman regarding her
>recent letter sent to the Videolib Listserv Subject: Re: Interesting
>This was her opening statement:
>"What really gets under our skin is companies, like Chip Taylor, that will
>try to sell you a program split up on 2 tapes when it can easily fit on one
>because they charge per tape."
>After reading this I was seriously concerned about the number of people who
>might read this and rush to a negative judgement about my company. When you
>visit my web site - - you will see that my company offers
>customers the OPTION to order longer programs on multiple tapes, if that is
>what the customer prefers; also, if possible, we often combine shorter
>programs onto longer tapes, if that is what the customer prefers.
>My sales staff and I go out of our way to listen to the needs and
>suggestions of our customers. In fact, the idea of dividing and combining
>tapes was suggested to me at a National Media Market seminar a number of
>years ago by several educators and librarians who said they would like to
>see this offered as a value-added service. Quite often it is educators who
>tell us they prefer tapes that can be shown within a 30-minute period; thus
>the Part 1, Part II plan works effectively for them. Others, who more often
>than not need to save shelf space, order "whole" or combined-multiple-part
>programs. It is important to note that the latter always receive an increase
>in their discount on the tape(s) they order.
>It is interesting that this issue has come up at this time because as this
>year ends CTC has been analyzing the significant costs involved to offer
>customers this option (to edit a master into parts, to inventory and package
>the videos; to keep sales and preview records of each). Also the fact that
>an Option my company offers primarily to assist customers might actually
>annoy some customers means my sales staff and I will have to address this
>issue from that angle.
>As many have commented, regarding utilizing the Internet to exchange
>information, it can be a very useful tool. However, it too can be damaging.
>Had one of my sales managers not have forwarded Sally's comments about CTC
>to me, I would not have been aware of her concerns. And instead of a
>possible problem being addressed, a negativity could linger - not just her
>with, but with many subscribers. Obviously, this is not what we are all
>I feel that expressing problems that can arise, whether to vent some steam
>or to seek suggestions for solutions, is certainly fine and useful; but
>believe too that it would be a good practice for subscribers to communicate
>with the company or organization where the complaint lies. I know I for one
>do my best to address any concern a customer may bring to my attention.
>I appreciate the opportunity to address the group and invite all to view my
>newly developed web site. FYI, the Home Page is from our "Opening Minds" tee
>shirt which we offer Free with every order. In the spirit of the season I'll
>be happy to include one extra shirt while supplies last for any subscriber
>during December.
>All my best,
>Chip Taylor, President
Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley 94720-6000

"Everything wants to become television" (James Ulmer -- Teletheory)