Thursday, August 9, 2012

Yams! The Game

I am pleased to announce that my company, Westcott Books and Games has released its first product: "Yams! A Game of Glory and Power in the South Pacific," a strategy card game for two to four players.  Yams! is based upon the writings of 19th century anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski; in it, players take up the roles of rival claimants to the position of Paramount Chief of the Trobriand Islands.  The gain power through gathering followers, hosting grand feasts, undermining their enemies using magic and deception, and pursuing the legendary "kula" objects that made this region of the Pacific famous.

In order to raise funds for the first printing, I have launched a campaign on where supporters can preorder games.  I will also soon have a website-- --up and running where orders can be taken.  The Kickstarter campaign is only up for the next 14 days (until August 23rd, 2012), then orders can be taken from the site.

Here is a sneak peek at one of the cards, "Poison Curse":

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Seven Good Reasons to NOT sell your old textbooks on Bookscouter

So I received an interesting email the other day from the good folks over at suggesting their recent post "7 Good Reasons to keep your Old Textbooks."  While I talk quite a bit on this blog about techniques for selling old books in general and textbooks in particular, this is a bit of cover for the fact that I keep a vast quantity of books for myself, including a large number of textbooks in my chosen field of Anthropology.

Looking through's reasons, I find a few of them resonate.  In particular the importance of old books for reference; in anthropology we rely upon extensive texts called "ethnographies" over articles and for much of what I do, a book is a necessary and good thing.  My medical doctor friend says the same about his anatomy books.  I also lend many of my books to colleagues (always put your name in them!), one of ODP's other ideas.

Their idea of visuals is a neat one: obsolete books could be scavenged for their images for collages, wrapping paper, etc.  The use of books for decoration I find amusing, though I do have a few nice leather books in my living room, most of my useful textbooks are far too beat up to be decorative.

This leaves two of their uses: donation to homeschoolers and to charity.  I've actually found that obsolete textbooks are not appreciated at most charities, in particular library book sales that look askance upon such things.  The relevance of most college-level texts to homeschoolers seems a bit of a stretch, you'd have to find just the right student I suppose.  Moreover, if a book is still relevant enough for a homeschooler, it's still probably relevant enough for me!

I find that obsolete textbooks, if they're not cut up for pretty pictures are, unfortunately, often only bound for the recycling, but I do appreciate ODP's enthusiasm.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Shipping as Customer Service- a confirmation

About a week ago, I shipped out a lovely copy of Japanese Wood-Block Prints, a pretty standard order.  But, as I explained in my post "Packing Books for Shipping", I was careful to give the shipment a professional look.  I added a company bookmark, wrapped the book in paper, then packed it tightly in foam, then added a personal thank you to the packing slip.  The goal here is to present an aura of professionalism and care, since this is the only interaction we have with our customers and we desire for repeat orders.

This approach was largely philosophical, without direct evidence, until I received a message today that read:
Thank you, so much, for my book.  I am delighted with the edition of "Japanese Wood-block Prints."    I had received a copy as a gift and wanted another to give as a gift.  I was particularly impressed with your packaging.  I will look for your company in the future when I am shopping for books.  Thanks Again, [Name Erased]
Thus, I re-emphasize the point that your shipping is your primary face to the customer, your one chance to impress.