Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Taxes, a crashing computer monitor which needed quick replacement (PC kind, not the Mac stuff), filling some orders, and in general lots of itsy bitsy things to be done.

The games and notes for MODERN CHESS BRILLIANCIES HUSTLED are done. Now adding diagrams. Then will come the layout. Authored by George Gossip and Harry Nelson Pillsbury.

Working diligently on a 2-color version. Going to look into the idea of  a hardback (hardcover) too.

What can you say about yourself that only you truly own and do?

Walt Disney promised amazing theme park entertainment.
Cuban cigars promised the best smoke in the world.
Swiss watches promised unparalleled accuracy for a time piece on the wrist.
German engineering promised the best machines anywhere.
MacDonald's promised the quickest food delivery in the business.

Apple promised THE experience in electronic entertainment.
Mrs. Fields promised delectable cookies.
The US Government promises to break its promises, treaties, laws, etc.

What can we say about chess?
Soviet chess promised a new era of world championship titles and grandmasters.
Bobby Fischer promised to beat Spassky and the Soviet chess hierarchy.

What about Thinkers' Press, what does it promise?
I've been giving this a little thought and perhaps you can chime in too.
Since the 1980s TPi has promised the best in chess literature from content to design and entertainment value. Overall BEST!

Does that mean anything to anyone? I think it does when variety is at stake. When creativity is taken to task. When exploring topics in new ways adds to the culture.
There are some chess publishers out there who have some good content, but are weak in design (covers are horrible in too many instances), and not too jumping and shouting when it comes to new ideas.
There must be new things which can be said about chess but that is not a part of most chess publishing environments. I remember when R&D publishing from NJ came out with "slim" books with typesetting almost from the trimmed part of the top of the page to the bottom of the page! Awful. Not looking for THAT kind of innovation (i.e., cheapness).

As cowboys have such a thing at rodeos and the "best cowboy all rounder" chess needs something like that to wear a hat. TPi had the Chess Festival ideas and clinics, the Chess Gangs series, the FAT catalogs (128 pages and more), entertaining magazines (SQUARES, CHESS REPORTS, and SCORE), a novel chess club idea and tournaments such as "Chess Fight Club," the Gold Card for purchases, authors ranging from Korchnoi to Soltis, and a publisher who spent 11 years as a typographer/typesetting upon founding Thinkers' Press.

Bob Long, this maniac, has played chess, and by himself written more about chess than anyone since Purdy and probably more than he did, directed events, had in-house movie days, and something like a baker's dozen of chess publications. He's met Fischer, Spassky, Larsen, Karpov, and many others and sold and played from Nevada to Massachusetts. I've sold thousands and thousands of used chess literature and books. Gigantic lists and shelf after shelf of inventory and some of the bigger collections in the world.

Not trying to put my ass on a pedestal, just trying to think of a way to promote the business with A Promise Only I Can Make! If you have any ideas, send them on. We need succinctness here. Package all that into one promise. (My vote, the best damn chess books, overall, on the planet!)

Once I told someone, with TPi you ALWAYS get your money's worth or money back.

Rita, when she worked for me knew I put the Good Customer Ahead of the Wannabe Customer. We had few whiners, I wouldn't tolerate it.

Outselling the Competition
On those occasions when I was selling around other resellers I sold more than anyone else, every time. That was one reason I was so disappointed when I couldn't get a "promised" bid in edgewise at the HB Global event in Minnesota (2005?). I came up with a "complicated formula" to be the bidder to counterpoint the stupid requirements that Maurice Ashley's group came up with. Apparently the mental muscle wasn't there to evaluate it (this is nothing personal against Ashley who I find to be one of the most entertaining grandmasters in the business).

Years ago I sold magic at a one day magic event in Decatur, IL. Another fellow was there with probably a lot more experience and I outsold him 4 to 1 after he volunteered how he did! Another retailer who was from St. Louis wasn't there that day but we doubled what he he did in one day the previous year. What's so exasperating is that I thought I had a lousy Saturday! I still do!

I tried twice to be the seller of the USCF chess inventory and I would always get stymied by politics, insider trading, bids being exposed and in some cases not even being told as if I was somehow illegitimate. "I coulda been a contender" as Marlon might've said. I wouldn't have gyped the federation or sued them or done all kinds of things to show how I couldn't compete or make money (that is, blame it on everyone else). On the other hand I wouldn't let the the mental midgets on the Policy Board tell me how to make money for the USCF as time has shown they had no clue.

I've always felt I could tell you (customers) something worthwhile about every product I had. So maybe that fits in somewhere. But it's getting harder as some companies are pumping stuff out faster than I can keep up with them (such as Chess Stars and Mongoose Press).

I used to tell my employees I had more irons in the fire than a cattle rustler. I want to change that, slim down, be more specific, not do it all anymore. So I am looking for that ONE promise that keeps them on the trail to this door! If you own a Black Gold Card you have more access to me than does the guy who wants ONE book he has been looking for, for 15 minutes, and can't find on eBay! I do NOT believe Amazon.com, or eBay is the answer to chessplayers and their wants and needs about ANYTHING except the Wal-Mart mentality (I haven't been inside of a Wal-Mart for anything I have personally wanted in years).

If you have suggestions, send on to: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

Only qualification is, it has to be true. So saying something like Thinkers' Press promises that every car rental will be your best driving experience just doesn't cut it.

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