Why Book of the Month Club Survived the Great Depression

Harry Scherman persevered during the Great Depression. He knew he had something big, something valuable that people wanted regardless of harsh economic times. Books. The founder of the Book of the Month Club started the famous mail service bookstore in 1926, sending out the club’s first selection to 4,750 original members. By the end of the year, the club’s membership was a whopping 46,539 strong. Scherman and his partners combined the fact that book lovers do not read as many books as they intend to, along with the idea that if you were guaranteed a winning read every time, you would buy. By the end of the first year, Book of the Month Club netted more than a half a million dollars and by 1928 had about 100,000 members. Then the Great Depression hit. But Scherman stayed true to his ideas and goals and didn’t back off. The club stayed strong through the worst years of the Depression and then was booming again in the late 1930s. Today the club has more than 8.5 million members. Clearly it has succeeded through not only the Great Depression, but also at least three or four more economically depressed times since then. So, what do you have in your product line or service bag-of-tricks that has enough value to your customers that they will keep on buying, regardless of the economic pulse of the world? What is a guaranteed win in your arsenal? Use it, and use it now. Because if you can be innovative, smart, and provide value during the tough times, well then, during the good times, things will certainly roll!

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