There are people in the world that read instructions, manuals, and the small print. For instance, me.
And there are those who don’t, like my wife, wonderful though she is in all other respects.
For the former, I usually write a FAQ, an acronym which stands for ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, and is pronounced like ‘back’, and ‘quack’.
The club has one. You’ll find it here.
Ditto for EasyItalianNews.com (here), the ebooks store (here), the online lessons business (here), and of course our Italian school in Bologna (here).
FAQing hell, you might be thinking, five FAQs! That’s a lot of Frequently Asked Questions!
Indeed it is, though it tends to be the same things, over and over. Hence the F.
For instance with EasyItalianNews.com (read the FAQ here), people subscribe – which is free – then moan that they don’t get the thrice-weekly bulletins.
The fault is ALWAYS with their email account – there are a few email providers around the world that routinely block ‘bulk’ email, even stuff you’ve chosen to see.
Unfortunately they have tens or hundreds of millions of loyal clients, who’ve had their email addresses since prehistoric times and so are reluctant to change to something that ACTUALLY WORKS. Despite my entreaties.
Then there’s the famous ‘I’ve waited three weeks but the easy reader I purchased still hasn’t been delived to my address in Australia.’
Sigh. That would be because it’s an EBOOK, delivered by download link, which you received immediately after your payment. That one can be found right at the beginning of the ebooks store FAQ (go check), where I wrote:
“We don’t sell books made from dead trees.”
But as I said, lots of people don’t read the FAQ. So in EVERY SINGLE MARKETING MESSAGE (scroll down to check), there’s a text that begins like this:
How do I access my ebook?
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.
What could be clearer?
But some people don’t read the FAQ, preferring to be disappointed, frustrated, or angry instead.
Like a lot of things in the world, I’ve come to accept that people’s choices are, sadly, out of my hands.
A hundred years from now?
I’ll be just dust.
And the paper version of our ‘easy reader’ will still not have arrived at the address in Australia.
Guess I’ll just have to live with that, so to speak.
On the other hand, this week is EasyItalianNews.com’s bi-monthly appeal for donations.
The FAQ, which I completed just last week, is a jewel.
Aside from the pleas from people still using email accounts from the 1990’s, there are a sprinkling of silly questions along the lines of ‘why can’t foreign languages be easier?’ and, more seriously, well-intended protests from EasyItalianNews.com fans who say they would like to donate but…
Well goodness, why don’t I just cheat, and paste that section?
I don’t want a PayPal account and it seems that I can’t avoid it. I am willing to pay via my debit card.
You absolutely can avoid it, though Paypal actively encourage people to open an account. If you see our instructions, with pictures, we show you how to do it without an account. Look at this page, scroll down to the bottom and read the steps.
You need to look at Step 2, the trick being to choose the ‘Donate with a card’ button, not the more visible, blue, ‘Donate with Paypal’ button. Hope that helps!
Why do we have to go through Paypal even if we wish to donate via a credit card or a standing order/direct debit with a bank, whether a regular or a one-off donation? I don’t use Paypal.
Paypal processes payments on our behalf, and takes a commission, as would a bank or similar. Other companies offer exactly the same service, but as we are a micro-business, we have little choice. Paypal is basically the only option.
You CAN use your credit card, however, you DON’T NEED a Paypal account. There are instructions with pictures on our Donate page. Scroll down to where it says ‘HOW TO DO THIS, WITH PICTURES!’ Step two shows exactly how to donate using a credit card without opening a Paypal account.
Worth noting, too, that as donations are processed for us by Paypal, we never see your bank details etc. That saves us a lot of time and trouble, but is also a guarantee to people that their data is safely managed by a huge multinational, not by a few teachers working on laptops.
I have not been able to donate (in euros). Each time I receive the message :”Your card issuer declined this payment”. I don’t understand why, because I often make payments on the Internet. Any idea how i could proceed? I value your work and feel sorry I can’t help.
Well, it’s the thought that counts, James. Thanks anyway! We can’t know what the problem is, but it could be:
– maybe the currency you used doesn’t match the currency of your card/account (probably not this…)
– maybe the details you entered in the Paypal interface don’t match the details your bank has for you i.e. a different address (this is quite likely)
– perhaps you’re missing a critical stage in the bank’s verification process, designed to be sure that the payment is legitimate? i.e. they send you an SMS notification or a message on the bank app, which you have to approve or respond to? (Also common.)
Hope those suggestions help. It is a problem at your end though, as things seem to be working normally for us.
I would like to subscribe and did try to but in the end felt I had to give too much personal information. It asked for my address, phone number and email address. Why should I have to give my phone number or even my address?I have sent subscriptions to other worthy causes without having to give all these details .I would still like to subscribe but not to give all my details with the subscription.
You are confusing ‘subscribing’, which means entering ONLY your email address and receiving three FREE emailed bulletins each week, with ‘donating’, which is entirely voluntary.
If you choose to donate to EasyItalianNews.com, you will need a payment card or other means of payment, for instance a Paypal account (optional). When you use a payment card, security protocols designed to protect you require you to identify yourself. The phone number, for instance, may be required so that the payment processor can SMS you to ask you to confirm the payment.
We do not ask for any data, other than an email address, and only that from people who wish to receive the bulletins via email. People who choose to donate will be asked by the payment processor, not us, for information as with any online payment.
Fun read, huh? And I get emails like that every day. Bet you wish you had my job!
So, to try to reduce the size of my inbox, I really work hard to make things clear on websites, especially when there’s money involved.
For instance, and still on the topic of donating to help EasyItalianNews.com pay its bills – which it won’t be able to if people don’t – I actually put together a simple, three-step guide on the Donate page, entitled ‘HOW TO DO THIS, WITH PICTURES!’
Click here and scroll down past the Paypal buttons (you don’t have to have a Paypal account…) to read it.
EasyItalianNews.com currently has a hair under fourteen thousand subscribers, who get thrice-weekly bulletins of text + audio for FREE.
About fifty of them donate each month, some every month, some occasionally, some once only and never more. Maybe five hundred different people over a year (so a few percent of the total…)
We have a list of present and past donors, and once a year I email to say ‘grazie’ and to offer a thank-you gift (an ebook like these.) There’s an unsubscribe link, of course. EasyItalianNews.com is not a marketing vehicle for other businesses (as the club, effectively, is.)
Last year Easy Italian News LLP made a few thousand British pounds in profit, on which it paid taxes. So why do it, you may be wondering?
Because the young people who do most of the work (three of them being my kids) value the opportunity?
Because the multiple thousands of people who use the site value it, even if they can’t afford to, or can’t be bothered to, donate?
Because we can, I suppose. Because it’s something we’re proud of. Because we’d miss it if it ended.
Hence I have my hat out. Donate here. You don’t need a Paypal account.
Did you read/listen to Tuesday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news?
Subscribing is also FREE. Subscribe here.
This week we’re having our bi-monthly donations campaign.
You could help!
Donate here (you don’t need a Paypal account…)
P.P.S. Il barbiere di Siviglia – 25%, just £5.99!
Don’t forget this week’s new ‘easy reader’ ebook, another title in our series of Italian ‘easy reader’ ebooks based on operas.
This time it’s Rossini’s entertaining comedy Il barbiere di Siviglia and, as always with new publications, it’s 25% discounted for the first seven days (offer ends Sunday 28th May 2023).
We began the ‘opera’ easy reader ebooks series back in the fall of 2022, with a simplified text + audio version of Nabucco, one of composer Verdi’s most famous operas. Next we did Puccini’s romantic classic, Turandot, then another Puccini weepy, La Bohème, returning to Verdi for the final two publications of 2022, Rigoletto and La traviata. In 2023 we’ve published the spectacular Aida, poor Madama Butterfly, and most recently Tosca
Gioacchino Rossini’s famous opera, Il barbiere di Siviglia, was first performed in Rome in 1816.
Beautiful Rosina lives in Seville (Siviglia) with her guardian Don Bartolo. The much older man wants to get his hands on her dowry by marrying her, so keeps her a virtual prisoner. The young, attractive Count of Almaviva also has his eye on Rosina, but isn’t easily able to communicate his interest. Fortunately, clever barber Figaro has some ideas…
Begin with this ‘easy reader’ ebook before watching the actual opera, or simply use this original Italian reading/listening practice material to add a little variety to your study program.
- .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 (based on Rossini’s Act/Scene structure) to read and listen to
- Comprehension questions to check your understanding
- Italian/English glossary of ‘difficult’ terms for the level
- Suitable for students at pre-intermediate level or above
- Download your Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
Do check out the Free Sample Chapter (.pdf) before you buy a copy. That way, you’ll know whether the level is suitable for you, and that the format works on the device you intend to use it on.
This being the first week, Il barbiere di Siviglia is 25% discounted, so just £5.99 rather than the usual ‘easy reader’ ebook price of £7.99.
Buy Il barbiere di Siviglia, just £5.99 | FREE sample chapter (.pdf) | Opera ebooks | Catalog
N.b. This is the final publication in our opera series. View them all here.
How do I access my ebook?
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?
OnlineItalianClub.com | EasyItalianNews.com | Shop (ebooks) | Shop (online lessons)
Buondi Daniel, Could you write a column re studying more than one language at a time, as you do, please. I speak French and I’m always trying to improve that skill. Since the languages are similar, it makes understanding the structure of Italian easier but, since many words are almost the same, I mix the two languages together and I’d like to keep them separate. Thanks for any help you can give me. Patricia
Sure, Patricia. I’ll be happy to address the issue, oerhaps on Friday for want of better ideas. But of course, I don’t study…
Lorna McEwan says
That was absolutely hilarious Daniel! I am still laughing out loud. Yes, dealing with the general public can be challenging, thank goodness I am retired and can devote a tiny portion of my time to trying to learn Italian.
Keep up the good work, most of us really appreciate it.
Lynne F says
Responding to the above comments …Back in the 60’s I studied French at school, I was told I had no aptitude for languages, scraped through my GCE and gave up. Approaching my 60’s I discovered that on my frequent trips to Italy, I was actually learning some Italian. Following your advice Daniel, reading, speaking and listening was certainly the way to go. Vocabulary increased, and grammar began to make sense. I admit to the occasional bit of “study” Mainly to satisfy my own curiosity I am the sort of person who wants to “know why ” and find it difficult to accept “just because”
The same person who was told all those years ago that I had no aptitude for languages can now converse with some fluency, and errors in Italian.
I have recently started to learn Polish very different to Italian. I muddle the 2 languages and my poor husband has some Italian or Polish words thrown at him in our conversations. Don’t worry about it Patricia, listen to as much of each language as you can, and read . Enjoy the fact that you are becoming multilingual if you don’t have to pass exams don’t get stressed about studying.
Good advice, Lynne. Thanks!
Clicking on all the links.... says
I have literally just found onlineitalianclub.com and this was the first thing I read…. a bit of learning procrastination well done methinks… Not only am I laughing, hard,.. I’m pretty sure I have all the information I think I could ever need about the club, And now, I’m desperate to join the club.
Thanks for the great intro Daniel!
Prego, e buono studio!