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BSA selling electronic docs for Kindle at the same price as paper copies

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  • BSA selling electronic docs for Kindle at the same price as paper copies

    BSA has had PDF copies of GTA and G2SS for years now. They have been a real blessing.

    Now, BSA wants us to use Kindle (or an app) and pay the same for electronic as for paper. $5.99 for the exact same G2SS ... which if I remember right used to only be $1 or $2 as a paper copy from the council. Merit badge books were around $2.50 as black and white copies a few years ago. Now they are $4.99 for both paper and electronic versions.

    IMHO, adult leader materials should be FREE on-line as PDFs. Perhaps $2 for an electronic merit badge book.
    Selected merit badge pamphlets, leader materials and the Fieldbook are now available on Kindle devices or via the Kindle app on phones and tablets.

  • #2
    It seems like BSA is still trying to herd boys towards print copies. If electronic copies were lower in price, books would be owned on an individual license and never handed down to troop libraries. The equal price keeps the playing field level for scouts wino can't afford an e-reader. Maybe?

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    • #3
      "wino". That's good. Just need to set those Hacker Scouts loose on Amazon DRM. . Charging full price for the Cub Leader books that are obsolete come June 1? That has to be a violation of the Scout Law. Same with GTA and GTSS. So when I pay $20 for a training class that includes the manuals do I get paper or digital?

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      • #4
        If they want me to follow the GTSS (Richard are you listening) then National better (swear words deleted) provide free PDF downloads. I see more troops doing scans and pdfs of merit badge books anyway...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by fred johnson View Post
          BSA has had PDF copies of GTA and G2SS for years now. They have been a real blessing.

          Now, BSA wants us to use Kindle (or an app) and pay the same for electronic as for paper. $5.99 for the exact same G2SS ... which if I remember right used to only be $1 or $2 as a paper copy from the council. Merit badge books were around $2.50 as black and white copies a few years ago. Now they are $4.99 for both paper and electronic versions.

          IMHO, adult leader materials should be FREE on-line as PDFs. Perhaps $2 for an electronic merit badge book.
          I think that's just a nod to eBooks, not a serious attempt. eMerit Badge books should be at the least, less than paper. The thing is, to some degree, MB books are what bring some of us into Scout shops.......

          $2 would be a reasonable price. I would buy them at $2, not at $4.99. I'd rather have paper for $4.99.

          Comment


          • #6
            You can stil get G2SS on pdf. PDFs can be downloaded onto Kindles.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by qwazse View Post
              The equal price keeps the playing field level for scouts wino can't afford an e-reader. Maybe?
              Level the playing field? That's what this administration is trying to do. Not BSAs job.
              According to their mission statement, BSA should be trying to reach as many boys as possible in any way they can.

              Doesn't this really pull the mask off all the glad talk about BSA not being a profit driven organization? Nook and Kindle are being sued for pricing eBooks so high.

              If BSA wanted to provide a real service, they would issue an annual troop license ($2 per boy?) that included passworded online access to ALL BSA material. They could provide a report that included how long each password (boy/leader) in the troop accessed all the different material. Oh, but that would give an indication of whether or not a scout read / met the requirements. Don't want hinder the paper Eagles.

              A permanent online copy of your own BSA advancement pages (from the handbook) and digital signoff capabilities would be useful.


              Sorry for the rant. Must be good coffee this morning. We all know that BSA has to charge a premium for eBooks because of the high delivery cost. Diesel fuel for those 18 wheelers is really getting high!

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              • #8
                Joe Bob, I think BSA uses more expensive electrons...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JoeBob View Post
                  ... Don't want hinder the paper Eagles. ...
                  Electronic Eagles

                  Let's figure 28 MBs per boy: 4 a year. That's a $20 per boy in the advancement stream. Times a million. BSA'd be crazy to not milk that cow!

                  But, if boys keep buying print -- with Patrols (and even Troops), sharing books, etc .... revenue stays at about what it is today.

                  I'd really like to build on Joe Bob's idea. License an massively multi-player online MB Midway that tracks your stats, and maybe allows users (counselors and youth) to submit reports (pics and vids, maybe) of what they did to meet requirements. Skip Troopmaster, boys advance in real time! Then, an electronic-ink sash that has MBs appear on it as the SM waives a ceremonial staff at CoH's. ... and sets off an alarm any time a boy hangs it over his belt!

                  JB, hope your coffee was as good as my espresso!

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                  • #10
                    Lets not leave out an interactive touch screen kiosk to handle all BORs and maybe SM conferences via Skype.

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                    • #11
                      I'm not sure what's motivating this. I will say Tampa brings up a very good point, key safety literature needs to made available in as many ways as possible at no charge.

                      I do understand the need to cover print costs no training materials, but not to make a profit, or cover other costs from a price that is above the items cost.

                      The electronic stuff is sometimes very convenient as a leader, doing planning wherever, and whenever I can. However, I don't like scout's using electronic resources at meetings, or on outings; our troop actually forbids electronics at meetings and on outings.

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                      • #12
                        When I first saw this I thought great, about time. It has frustrated me for a while that MB pamphlets weren't available electronically. Electronic publishing isn't even the future it's the present. My two high school age sons have only three paper text books between them, after the first semester that will be down to two, all their other texts are electronic. I am an avid reader, but other than going to a local independent bookstore when I'm on vacation all my other book purchases are electronic.

                        But this has to be one of the worst ways for BSA to choose to do MB pamphlets: they're overpriced, unlendable, and updates will mean a whole new purchase.

                        For those complaining about the lack of difference in price from paper books, that's not really the problem. I was in the publishing industry, and the actual cost of paper, printing, and binding -- once you hit economies of scale -- is a very small fraction of the cost of a book, so you really should't expect much, if any, discount just for that. But the other costs of publication don't really exist for BSA. They don't pay the authors, they don't really have marketing costs, they don't have to accept the risk that they'll pay for some flops of books while counting on others as best sellers.

                        I cannot imagine that MB pamphlets especially aren't a profit center for BSA. OK, money has to come from somewhere, but if that's the case build it into the cost of membership and let the scouts have the tools they need by putting these things up on the web as PDFs.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by T2Eagle View Post
                          ... I cannot imagine that MB pamphlets especially aren't a profit center for BSA. OK, money has to come from somewhere, but if that's the case build it into the cost of membership and let the scouts have the tools they need by putting these things up on the web as PDFs. ...
                          Building it into the cost of membership slights the boy who is content with being a 1st class scout. Boys on the advancement track should front some cost (it doesn't have to be free), but they should be able to pool resources to figure out how to work the program in an economical way.

                          Likewise, I don't see anything wrong with leaders sharing a G2SS. That's something I think a fella would be less likely to do if it means leaving his pricey reader unsecured.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm not sure what you mean by "slights the boy who is content with being a 1st class scout." There's no necessary relationship between what rank you are now, or that you'll be satisfied with attaining, and whether you earn merit badges. Any and every scout can work on merit badges. It's common in my troop for a scout to go to summer camp and earn a couple of merit badges before they've mastered the skills necessary for Tenderfoot let alone First Class.

                            My real point is that it seems to me the current and even proposed way that merit badge pamphlets are made available is often inefficient and cumbersome. And the driving force behind that system is the need to generate revenue above the costs. I would much rather have the tools more readily and efficiently available and find a different way of providing that needed excess revenue.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm okay with MB books being pay-per-book and electronic as long as they are cheaper. Maybe $1.50 or $2.00 per electronic book. Similar to the cost of one or two ipod songs.

                              But ....

                              My key point was that LEADER BOOKS should be FREE as PDFs.

                              How about this? Under MyScouting.org or My.Scouting.Org (old versus new), put a library of BSA leader material. If you are a registered leader, you can access all the rich library of leader materials ... SO THAT YOU CAN BE A BETTER LEADER. Allocate one dollar of the registration DUES to updating the books !!!!!

                              ---- Cub Scout Leader Book
                              ---- Cub Scout Leaders "How To Book"
                              ---- Scoutmaster Handbook
                              ---- Guide To Safe Scouting
                              ---- 2014 Boy Scout Requirements
                              ---- Troop committee guidebook
                              ---- Admin of Commissioner Service

                              These are all books we want leaders to easily have available so that they can learn and grow as quick as possible. Electronic PDF simplify the work for everyone. It's cheaper than publishing books. That's how all leader material should be available by default.

                              I'm willing to pay for a paper copy because BSA has significant costs to get that paper to me. And the paper copies are usually printed very nicely.

                              BSA earned $53 million in dues in 2013 for a "volunteer" organization. It's insulting to charge for electronic leader materials in a program we paid to volunteer.

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