Harry Scherman

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

That Bookspan—the amalgam of the old Book-of-the-Month and Literary Guild—was cited and fined for treating customers badly is a shame. It’s true that the negative option book club is—without question—the most complex of direct marketing business models. It operates under a crushing schedule of 15 mailing cycles a year. Ten to 15 different kinds of communications between the member and the club could be in the mail at any given time: packages of books, returned books, announcements of new books, rejection (do-not-ship) slips, bills, statements, dunning efforts, payments, bonus book orders and bonus books shipped. All of these transactions are date sensitive. If a rejection

The Heavy Airbus and The Wall Street Journal Lite Nov. 29, 2005: Vol. 1, Issue No. 51 IN THE NEWS Change in Rules Needed for Wake of Big New Jet Airliners may have to fly twice the normal distance behind the new Airbus A380 superjumbo jet to avoid potential hazards from its unusually powerful wake, according to preliminary safety guidelines. --Andy Pasztor and Daniel Michaels, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 22, 2005 Picture this. For you, it's been a solid week of nasty, contentious meetings and sleepless nights in London, Brussels and Paris. Finally, very early Friday morning you take a taxi

By Denny Hatch Before the Internet, a book club was a wonderful business model. When Maxwell Sackheim and Harry Scherman dreamed up Book-of-the-Month Club and launched it in 1926, it was revolutionary. They invented the negative option whereby the member would receive the monthly selection unless a rejection slip was returned saying it was not wanted. This was marketing by inertia. Customers liked it, because decisions were being made for them on how they could enrich their lives. The business model spawned a slew of book clubs, from the Literary Guild to a series of niche clubs for niche audiences. Back then—and up into

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