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post #31 of 50 Old 10-24-2013
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Re: Practical Sailor has deaf ears

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I know it is hard to make a buck writing or publishing these days, but some folks are just pushing it more than a little too hard. Like the ebook sellers, who complain about how expensive it is to print and ship and store and destroy unsold paper books, but somehow, they often discount the ebooks less than 10%? Oh, look, there's a hand in my pocket! Kindly offering to pick it!
Yes, especially when the "ebook" is just a collection of old articles. So if you are a subscriber it is nothing new, and even if you are a subscriber, you can read the info on line so no reason to buy it separate. I got there two volume "guide to buying a sailboat" for three dollars off amazon. It is from the 1980's but that is when most of the info is applicable to my search, but had I been a regular subscriber and payed full price I would have been upset but for $3 it is worth having in the bathroom to read.
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post #32 of 50 Old 10-24-2013
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Re: Practical Sailor has deaf ears

While I will concede that Practical Sailor's email solicitations to buy what are esentially aggregated reprints is a PITA, I still find they offer good value. I have learned a great deal reading PS over the years.

While their product tests won't always get it right, they apply a whole lot more rigor than I ever could. In the long run over many purchases spending a lot of dough, I feel they've steered me pretty well and certainly earned their keep.

That their website gives access to all issues back to 1998 is BIG. One could take the time to download and save all PDFs and have a nice portable research library. Use their current website Search function to list the issues where a particular topic was discussed and read all germane articles at your leisure.

And while I too am a fan of Good Old Boat, they lay on the schmaltzy "we are family" bit pretty thick. But they too earn their keep.

They way I look at it... if either saves me even a couple hours shopping, or planning a repair or upgrade... or steers me to a competent but less-expensive product, it has paid for itself for the year. Both meet that criteria.
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post #33 of 50 Old 10-24-2013
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Re: Practical Sailor has deaf ears

I quit reading PS 35 years ago when they wrote a piece on the Valiant 32 claiming it was a "coastal cruiser". If ever there was an overbuilt boat it was the Valiant 32.

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post #34 of 50 Old 10-24-2013
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Re: Practical Sailor has deaf ears

I subscribed once (never renewed) several years ago. I found it less useful than I had hoped, mostly because it focused on boats and gear that were not for me. They lost me completely when they reviewed knives, the least expensive of which was over $100. Not in my lifetime. I also found the writing dry, dry dry. Consumer Reports shows time and again that this type of publication can have a personality and still provide a serious service.

Now, for some reason that I forget, I signed up for a PS email newsletter. I thought I would be getting at least some editorial content, but its really just been ads for PS and whatever they happen to be humping this month (free shipping on books as it turns out). I'm still hoping that the newsletter will actually provide something of value in return for my attention to their ads.
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post #35 of 50 Old 10-24-2013
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Re: Practical Sailor has deaf ears

I share your annoyances with over-aggressive emails, but am a little more forgiving. It's very tough being in the publishing industry today, especially on a topic as specialized as sailboats. I think it's good to have them around.

When they put their entire back issue history online the subscription became far more useful to me. While I could capture it for future reading, I'll probably continue to subscribe to have it handy, and to support their valuable efforts.


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Re: Practical Sailor has deaf ears

When I go into some marine stores that sell the rag, I see months of back issues still on the shelf. Meanwhile, the other rags only have recent month issues. Heck, even the british rags are newer and gone before the PS rags of a month or three ago. I have to admit, too much like CR to me, have not felt that rag is worth the funds or reviews either.

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........a Valient 32 a coastal cruiser?!?!?! probably said the same thing about a westsail......or CR can not recommend pickups, as they ride to rough! the ones they review have SOFT suspensions. they should take a ride in my navistar dumptruck!LOLOL

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post #37 of 50 Old 10-24-2013
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Re: Practical Sailor has deaf ears

I finally got a response to one of my Customer Service requests today! Yee hah!
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post #38 of 50 Old 10-25-2013
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Re: Practical Sailor has deaf ears

I swear I get crap from them every week about signing up again.

Their "boat reviews" are fairly mediocre and the articles are really meh. I really subscribed for access to the boat reviews, but I realized soon after they weren't as good as info found for free online. I'm pretty sure I am signed up for 2 years, I guess I won't hold my breath that they will continue coming, but I don't care that much TBH.

As for Good Old Boat, I've found it really useful, I just wish it was monthly and that they had better back access to articles. Having to order a physical copy of an old edition is an antiquated idea, I wish they had them all on their website like PS. At the same time, if it keeps them in business, so be it. I'd rather that than the current situation we have with PS.

Along the same lines, I wish someone would do more blunt boat reviews. I've yet to see a boat review that wasn't somewhat passive aggressive about a boat sucking. Let's face it, there are crappy boats out there and mediocre boats with substantial restrictions (or even good boats with still substantial restrictions). I wish some of these reviews would be more bold about what sucks and what doesn't.

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I quit reading PS 35 years ago when they wrote a piece on the Valiant 32 claiming it was a "coastal cruiser". If ever there was an overbuilt boat it was the Valiant 32.
But it has a skeg hung rudder! Couldn't possibly be used outside of a river. Sheesh, n00b.

Last edited by Shinook; 10-25-2013 at 07:43 AM.
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post #39 of 50 Old 10-25-2013
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Re: Practical Sailor has deaf ears

a. No ad revenue.

b. Few conventional mags will ever say anything negative about the product of an advertiser or potential future advertiser. Every vendor is one or the other.

c. Some topics are inherently loaded with personal preference. Pick-ups, for example. For a work truck I care about power and durability, for a salesman's vehicle I might be guided by salesman preference, and for a family vehicle the wife will have input. Best for who? I'm sure there are many sailors that consider anything under 40 feet a coastal cruiser.

d. Most articles involve testing. Though there are always limits to what is tested (all lab work involves stating the limits and details of a test), testing always takes longer than writing a bit of fluff about how to anchor or some cove. Perhaps 50 times longer.

e. Lamentably, articles are cut for length. Much testing and result detail never makes it because of concern that it will be "too dry."

----

Room for improvement? Write a letter to the editor. I have written to many mags and you would be surprised how often they make some change.

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post #40 of 50 Old 10-25-2013
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Re: Practical Sailor has deaf ears

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Originally Posted by Shinook View Post
As for Good Old Boat, I've found it really useful, I just wish it was monthly and that they had better back access to articles. Having to order a physical copy of an old edition is an antiquated idea, I wish they had them all on their website like PS. At the same time, if it keeps them in business, so be it. I'd rather that than the current situation we have with PS.
I just got my digital Nov/Dec copy, and I see they are offering just what you ask for Shinook. Take a look here: AudioSeaStories.com

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a. No ad revenue.

b. Few conventional mags will ever say anything negative about the product of an advertiser or potential future advertiser. Every vendor is one or the other.

c. Some topics are inherently loaded with personal preference...
I agree with everything you say pdqaltair. Unfortunately for me, and many others posting here, it wasn't the content, but the attitude (for lack of a better term) that turned me away. Their constant badgering for renewals, their complete unresponsiveness around their website issues, and finally their incessant spamming, are the main reasons I stopped subscribing.

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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