This came in overnight, by email:
Do you offer any coupons or a loyalty program discount? I would like to buy these books but would appreciate getting 25% off my purchase.
Beh, it never hurts to ask, does it? And in fact, when people do ask, I’m always happy to help if I can.
I see you used the 33% coupon already, way back when. So that’s out, otherwise I would have suggested it.
We have a 20% sale coming up very soon, did you know? It’ll begin on Monday 5th October and last for a week. You can save a fifth on everything in the shop.
There are four such sales each year – in the autumn, at New Year, in the spring, and in the first week of July (our new tax year…) If you plan your purchases carefully, there’s no need to pay full price, ever. And if you want to know the exact dates, just ask, as now.
To which I would add, this especially for people taking online lessons with a club teacher, if you stock up on lesson credits in the coming sale, at a 20% discount, you’ll be good until the next sale at New Year, at which point you can do the same, then continue learning Italian at a fifth less than the advertised price until Easter/the spring (whichever comes sooner, usually), then stock up again, and so on and so forth.
We have a several hundred regular students and that’s what most of them do. So why not you, too?
And one further reflection about price/discounts: reading in Italian or whatever language you’re learning is a HABIT (listening too), and one that, once you have managed to establish it, will pay dividends for years to come in terms of improved comprehension, expanded vocabulary, and generally knowing better what people who speak the language you aspire to learn are communicating ABOUT. And HOW. Grammar books only do the how part, and not very well at that.
To encourage people to give reading/listening a try, we have two Italian ebooks in our online shop priced at ZERO. They are ‘Il ristorante‘, written by goodness knows who, a proper ‘easy’ Italian reader with accompanying audio, glossaries and exercises, and ‘La sorpresa‘ which, in contrast, is an Italian/English parallel text – so no audio, glossaries or exercises but a line-by-line translation into English.
Zilch is not a lot to pay to check out two entire texts (albeit very short ones), in my opinion. The idea, of course, is to give people the chance to discover the benefits of reading/listening in Italian for themselves, WITHOUT having to spend money and so risk looking foolish in front of partners, children, colleagues…
Many, perhaps most, of the people who download the free ebooks never go on to buy anything, which is fine. There are other ways of learning Italian – though I suspect that the vast majority of people just give up before they ever get very far towards their language-learning goals.
But for the ones that do become our customers, the following reflection – our ebooks are priced based on:
1.) the cost to produce them (basically, the fees to the writer and others involved – which has nothing to do with the length, by the way – writers get the same no matter if they write a lot or a little, and writing a very simplified, very short text, that still reads like a story is, in fact, much harder); and
2.) the value to the student/customer in terms of learning achieved. Which is, of course, totally subjective and so unscientific, but reflects what I would be willing to pay myself for materials that would help me make progress with the languages I’m learning.
I personally reckon up the value of study materials in terms of the number of beers foresaken. So a story at a level that would challenge me and, at a chapter a day, take me perhaps a week to complete, with accompanying audio, exercises, glossaries etc., would seem well worth the price of a pint in a pricey downtown bar (or a sixpack from the liquor store if you’re more of the drink-at-home type…)
All that said, dependency can take time to develop, hence the the 33% coupon (the ebook equivalent of cheap shots for impressionable young people). Also our regular half-price ‘Book of the Week’ offers, of which I can feel one coming on, perhaps next week…
People often tell me (like all the time, I swear, because I work in a language school and write articles like this one) that, sadly, they haven’t learnt very much. Which doesn’t surprise them that much, though, because they didn’t actually STUDY.
STUDY. I hate that word, and hold it (and schools, and universities) responsibile for the crushed dreams of millions.
It’s a leaden word, don’t you think? Of appeal only to flagellants and bores, its soul-destroying practice being, at the very best, hard to sustain until the desired results are achieved, which they probably won’t be. Study = temporary + fruitless.
“You know? What I do? I never STUDY!” I tell them, “But I try to LISTEN, and READ. Every day! It’s much more fun. And once you get into the habit, the language-learning sort of takes care of itself. Well, it works for me, anyway.”
It’s rare that anyone much listens because EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD is telling them the exact opposite: that sweating over conjugations, beating yourself up over ‘pronomi combinati’ (don’t ask), is the way to go, as well as being much more profitable for teachers and the institutions that employ them.
“And how did that work out for you?” I ask. “Well, I find it hard to remember all the new words I’ve memorised” they tell me, “and I still don’t understand pronomi combinati. It’s all making me rather depressed. I’m thinking of taking a break from Italian.”
Yet again, I pull out my whip and apply it, with gusto, to the expired cavallo: “You know what I do? I try to listen every day, and read…”
One final thing – when we have new ebook out, for the first week only, it’s 25% off the usual price, so several glugs of overpriced beer cheaper than the usual ebook easy reader price.
Upper-intermediate (B2) or advanced students (C1 & C2) should check out today’s P.S.
Others, do yourself a favour and browse the Catalog for something more suited to your current level.
Check the free sample chapters for something you dig, and that you can mostly understand. If what you’re perusing is neither, keep looking until you find something that is. Just like in a real bookshop, or library!
A venerdì, allora.
Don’t forget this week’s new ‘easy Italian reader ebook’, which isn’t in the slightest bit easy but does have bad guys and a romantic subplot.
“Get the arms, Luigi, we’re going to town to fight for our rights as workers!”
‘Tumulto a Firenze‘ is set during the wool-workers’ revolt (they were known as ‘ciompi’ – Google it), and heady stuff it is, too. Crowds of oppressed workers invade the city; after the inital confusion the authorities begin to crack down; ringleaders are arrested and made an example of.
Also new this week is the ebook version of our recently-concluded summer series of free articles with audio, ‘La storia di Roma‘.
Both ebooks are difficult, so beginner and lower-level students of Italian would be well advised to vist our online shop and search for something that better fits their level. Browse our Catalog, which has links to each title, in approximate level order, and to the respective free sample chapters, so you can try before you buy.
Tuesday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news was a bit of a mess, with several misreadings and, at a certain point, an entire paragraph getting lost. Did you spot it? Me too!
Blame the first-week-back-at-school effect. Our editorial team have promised they’ll try to do better tomorrow.
Read/listen now (it’s free) and/or subscribe and so receive each thrice-weekly bulletin directly in your email inbox each Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday, etc. (also absolutely free!)
And yes, of course, we’re totally trying to turn you into a listeningoholic!