For years, since the ‘seventies, inflation wasn’t really a thing. In fact, for a while, economists worried about its opposite – deflation.
The economy in Japan, for instance, never seemed to grow like those in other first world economies because inflation was negative. Citizens expected prices to go down, rather than up.
Sounds like a nice problem to have, right?
But apparently, the result was that people put off major purchases, such as buying a shiny new Japanese automobile, or upsizing to a slightly less tiny Tokyo apartment.
Because if they bought today – well they might end up paying more than if they were to wait a few months, or a couple of years, so feel silly.
Deflation is bad for business for that reason. Conversely, inflation is bad for savers, and anyone on a fixed salary (like me) or pension.
If you have money in the bank, you might have noticed that in the last couple of years (basically since the Russians invaded Ukraine and caused a surge in energy prices – Russian trolls, please don’t bother to write to me to explain it was all the fault of Ukrainian nazis) you’ve been getting more interest on your savings!
My Italian bank, for instance, offers 4% (wow, thanks guys), though only on ‘new money’, and with various strings attached. The cash I had put by in my account with them would still be getting zero interest (so of course, I moved it.)
Banks are sneaky like that, especially in Italy. Savers have to pay attention, though no matter how hard they try, interest paid on savings accounts is never going to be as much as what the banks can earn by lending out savers’ money to the government, or to mortgage holders.
The house always wins, as wiser gamblers know. I’m not a financial advisor, blah blah, but if I had the cash, I’d buy shares in banks!
As regards state-pensioners (‘social security’ in the USA), the British have for years been promised that their retirement incomes won’t suffer from inflation, unlike their savings. The state is much more generous than the banks because pensioners vote more reliably than the feckless young.
The infamous British ‘triple lock‘ delivered an in-line-with inflation 10% rise in 2023, unlike the paltry sums awarded to nurses, train drivers and the like. Lucky British pensioners! Poor British workers and taxpayers, especially the young, who are more likely to be both.
Insomma, unless you’re rich enough to have your own ‘wealth manager’ or ‘private office’ – whose job it is to ensure that billionaires earn more than inflation on their savings – or benefit from a political party’s desperate need for your vote , in order to stay in power and pander to said billionaires, then you’re probably suffering. Most of us are.
Be thankful you’re not Japanese, at least. Or Ukrainian.
This is to reflect inflation-related increases in the various costs associated with running websites, mailings systems, and so on. As well as the bureaucracy – so accountants and bookkeepers – and the British government’s 2023 tax increase for businesses.
We’re aware that putting up prices will likely impact our sales – if ebooks and online lessons cost more, perhaps fewer people will be able to afford them, which sucks.
But my conscience is clear-ish, given that the club website is totally free (despite the increased cost of running it), as are the thrice-weekly bulletins of ‘easy’ Italian news published by EasyItalianNews.com.
Also because I set ebook prices at £7.99 and £15.99 when I first started publishing and selling them, which must be about ten years back. And haven’t modified them since. People used to moan that there were much cheaper options on Amazon. Perhaps that’s still true, but no one has told me so for a number of years.
(And hey, Amazon! Burn it down, grow soy on it, feed it to beef cattle, and make burgers, that’s what I say. To hell with climate change.)
As regards online lessons – one-to-one with a native speaker teacher – well, we’ve been finding it increasingly hard to hire teachers, and keep them. Especially teachers of languages which are associated with more robust economies than Italy’s (basically everywhere except the UK, but particularly German and French.)
Ironically, our best online teachers seem to stay loyal whatever happens. They write polite emails – starting with ‘Dear Sir’ – to ask for a rise, then go quiet when I explain that without putting up the prices to their students, there’s no cash to pay extra.
Seems a shame, really. I’m a teacher myself, or was until recently, and haven’t had a raise since I came to Italy in 1998.
So the plan is this – we’ll wait and see how big a hit the coming price increase delivers to our sales figures. And then – if it’s not too bad – we might introduce a better rate of pay for the teachers that our teaching admin team and students really appreciate.
So how much will prices increase, and when?
We have our seasonal Summer Sale coming up. We do a sale every season. The last one was – go on, guess – in the spring! And the next one will be – you got it – in the autumn (‘fall’ in the USA).
The Summer Sale will be from July 3rd to July 9th. Regular students already know to save 20% with the coupon code we publish four times each year. I expect they’re on the edge of their seats, given that lessons have been getting more and more affordable compared to pensions…
But it would be sneaky to put up lesson prices now, then smooth it over with the usual 20% discount, hoping that people wouldn’t notice.
For a start, students probably would notice and, in any case, that’s not the way we do things around here.
Therefore, lesson prices will remain the same until AFTER the Summer Sale, and only then go up, so giving people time to get used to the new, higher rates before the Autumn/Fall Sale at the end of September (and anyway, you’ll be able to save 20% so the higher price isn’t as bad as it looks!)
Regular students, stock up in July! And don’t forget to use the coupon code to save 20% (someone always does…)
What about ebooks?
The ‘easy reader’ price of £7.99 will become £9.99 immediately after the Summer Sale, so from July 10th. Half-price ‘eBook of the Week’ offers will therefore be £4.99 instead of £3.99.
Will that put people off? As I wrote, there’s plenty of free stuff, if it does.
The 25%-discounted price on NEW ‘easy readers’ (like this week’s, see below) will be £7.49 instead of £5.99.
Workbooks, which have cost £15.99 since we published them back in the dark ages, will retail for £19.99, which is still much less than the cost of the course books we use in our Italian school in Bologna.
Così. Publishing ebooks is a hobby, but it needs to be an affordable one.
And inflation. Online teachers have rent to pay and dogs to feed. They are deserving, at least the good, loyal ones are. At some point, I’d like to pay them more.
Remember, nothing changes until AFTER the Summer Sale.
Regular students will get the coupon code (to save 20%) in advance, as usual, so next Thursday. Watch out for an email from the teaching admin team that day. If you don’t see it, check your spam.
Everyone else – at least the ones who read emails -will get the coupon code on July 3rd or 4th.
Tutto chiaro? Bene.
A lunedì, allora
P.S. ‘A Cagliari ci sono i fenicotteri’ (A1-A2), offer ends Sunday!
Don’t forget that the 25% discounted price offer on this week’s new Italian ‘easy reader’ ebook, A Cagliari ci sono i fenicotteri, ends Sunday 25th June 2023.
Until then it costs just £5.99, from Monday the price will be £7.99, like the other ‘easy reader’ ebooks (but only for a few more weeks…)
Twelve-year-old Gianna wakes up in Sardinia’s beautiful seaside capital for the last time. Today her family is moving to Milan, where her mum will take an important new job. They’ll live in a larger flat! Gianna will go to a new school! She’ll make new friends! But she’s leaving behind the city she loves, where she’s lived her whole life…
- .pdf e-book (+ audio available free online)
- .mobi (Kindle-compatible) and .epub (other ebook readers) available on request at no extra charge – just add a note to the order form or email us
- 8 chapters to read and listen to
- 5 grammar/comprehension exercises
- brief Italian/English glossaries of ‘difficult’ terms
- Suitable for students at any level
- Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
Check the FREE sample chapter to verify that the level is appropriate for you, and that the format is suitable for the device you wish to use it on. The sample chapter contains a link to the online audio FOR THE WHOLE STORY. Too easy? Check out our Catalog to find materials which are better suited to your current level.
How do I access my ebooks?
When your order is ‘completed’ (normally immediately after your payment), a download link will be automatically emailed to you. It’s valid for 7 days and 3 download attempts so please save a copy of the .pdf ebook in a safe place. Other versions of the ebook, where available, cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them. There’s a space to do that on the order form – where it says Additional information, Order notes (optional). If you forget, or if you have problems downloading the .pdf, don’t worry! Email us at the address on the website and we’ll help. Also, why not check out our FAQ?
And of course, don’t forget to read/listen to Thursday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news, which is FREE!
Subscribers get each thrice-weekly bulletin emailed directly to them, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Subscribing is FREE, too. It’s a fantastic way to improve your Italian, and/or to keep what you’ve already learned fresh in your mind!