This is worth discussing. When I was a scouting the 70's we had 3 fold advancement cards instead of using the handbooks. I imagine that changed in the 80s because loosing cards was so easy. But, as a SM, I collected more lost books than any other item except for hats. And, since more scouts quit in their first year of a troop than any other year, that is a lot of books there that are wasted. because the advancement part is partially signed off. I would be willing to go back to advancement cards again so the handbooks could be reused. Of course that doesn't help funding.
It might be good if the reorganization gets scouting out of the merchandizing and printing business.
I think there is still some value in having a paper record of sign offs for those that like that, but then it could simply be a sign off booklet and not a hefty four color handbook.
If you didn't have to pay to print merit badge booklets, then it would make sense to keep niche interest merit badges like stamp collecting around for the small numbers of scouts who still want to do them.
@MattR, most scouts probably have already earned one in each of the "outdoor" categories in summer camp. The Public Health MB is probably the toughest to earn right now. The best counselors for it are currently swamped. My pandemic guy is busy figuring out where to send each shipment of vaccine. On the other hand, Son #2 is building and testing a wastewater prototype for communities, and his company is small enough that I bet we could arrange a walk-through, then go camping someplace nearby.
If the PLC okay's it, we can find the people to make this interesting. It's just a matter of getting them their shots.
Agreed...point is, they have to mark up all the other merchandise to help cover the costs of the stuff that doesn't sell.
If they move to a smarter model of on-line publications, the cost savings could be translated into lower costs for other Scout Stuff...but you and I know that would never happen