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where to buy books

updated wed 29 jul 98


Pam Myam on fri 24 jul 98

Boy, am I glad that I buy my pottery books from you. Seriously, by the same
token, this is why I frequent the local pharmacy and gas station and mechanic
who are in danger of being run out of business by the big chains. It is worth
far more to me to pay an extra dollar here and there and to know that if
anything goes wrong or I have questions, it will be taken care of by someone
who knows me and mine and might even care what happens. This is not to say
that caring people do not work for the big chains, but that personal touch
that can only come from familiarity is something different, as is the
invaluable knowledge of the artist and/or craftsman who helps us with the
tools and information that we need.

Thanks, Steve, for a gentle reminder.



I ordered a printmaking book from the other big book website. When it finally
arrived damaged due to bad packaging, it took THREE returns to finally get an
OK volume. They actually sent me the same damaged book twice, I think. They
refunded my shipping charges to compensate for the time and aggravation. They
were nice enough, they just didn't really seem to put any effort into the
solution. Live and learn.

SBRANFPOTS@AOL.COM on fri 24 jul 98

Dear CLAYART folks,

Indulge me as I mount my high horse for a moment though I will make this as
short and to the point as possible.

A recent posting on the great deal someone was able to get on The Potters
Dictionary Of Materials And Techniques by purchasing the book form Amazon
Books disturbs me to no end. Yes, you can get some great deals that can be
hard to pass up however, try calling Amazon and asking them a question about
the most suitable general handbook to buy or a book that has information on
bulding a particular kiln or a book that has good information on primitive
pottery or a recommendation on a book on the history of tiles
or..................The point is you can't have your cake and eat it to. Buy
your books (and other supplies and materials for that matter) from the place
and the people that answer your questions and that strive to be helpful with
information, advice, and other help. If you don't, then those places that do
offer that kind of support and information won't be around too long and we'll
all be up the creek. I am bothered when I spend valuable time with someone
only to find out later that they took my advice on a recommendation but bought
the item somewhere else where it was a little less expensive. Don't call me
for help and then buy the book at Amazon. This goes for all purchases.
Patronize the places that are here to help. While CLAYART is not a forum for
advertising and hawking ones services there are some subscribers that are in
business. If Mark Ward gives you some good information then buy your burners
and stuff from him. If Axner helped you out then get your stuff from them, and
on and on. No, you don't have to be a one source purchaser nor must you only
ask for help from those that you promise to purchase from. Just be fair and
don't be a "user".

Any questions?

Steven Branfman
The Potters Shop

Jackie Allen on fri 24 jul 98


Clearly stated and understood!! I'll buy my books from you everytime!!!!!!!
Not only do you always take the time to chat personally and about specific
problems and questions, you also give one heck of a workshop!!

Jackie in NC where a k-12 is shaping up nicely

Veena Raghavan on sat 25 jul 98

I have to tell you that I read your posting with great feeling. A
lot of us are tight for money, but there are limits to what we should do to
save a dollar here and there. I see so many small enterprises closing
because they cannot compete with huge chain stores, and I think we are not
only depriving people of a living but changing the face of our country. It
is very sad. I also agree that to get information from one source and that
purchase from another is unethical. I am delighted that you decided to
bring this home to all of us.
Thanks for being there, for being so helpful and for providing such a
wonderful source of material.
Veena Raghavan>
New York

Carolyn Hollingsworth on sat 25 jul 98

At 12:17 PM 7/24/98 EDT, you wrote:

[clip] The point is you can't have your cake and eat it to. Buy
>your books (and other supplies and materials for that matter) from the place
>and the people that answer your questions and that strive to be helpful with
>information, advice, and other help. If you don't, then those places that do
>offer that kind of support and information won't be around too long and we'll
>all be up the creek.
[clip] Just be fair and don't be a "user".

>Steven Branfman
>The Potters Shop

Fellow Clayarters,

I would like to add my loud amen to this chorus. Some years ago I
was a partner in a quilt shop. People loved being on the shop, or so they
said. Besides trying very hard to keep an extensive, and expensive,
inventory of the neatest things possible for this art form, I offered
classes and endless free advice. On various occasions I was stunned to hear
customers in the shop go so far as to tell a fellow customer "oh, don't get
that here, (fill in the blank discount place) has that for X (generally only
a few cents less than my price)." Well, need I tell you the eventual
outcome of the story? One less quilters' haven, one less source of
information, inspiration, etc., and one less person willing to ever try
retailing again.

Whether it has to do with books or clay or little lead soldiers,
specialized and, especially, local suppliers are a tremendous resource for
all of us fortunate enough to have them. Presumably all of them have to pay
their expenses and make enough profit to make the whole incredible effort
worth their while. Buy from them or they disappear. It's as simple as
that. To paraphrase Smokey the Bear, "Only you can prevent store closings,"
or something like that.

Carolyn Hollingsworth
Atlanta, Georgia

Phyllis E. Tilton on sat 25 jul 98

Steve: Right on!!!! I am a retired pharmacist and watched the independent
pharmacies disappear. There are a few left that will offer all the services
that so many people have used and then go to a chain. Delivery-particularly
when someone was very ill, opening the store at midnight to fill a script for
a child with an earache that started at 10 or 11 pm--or opening on Christmas
Day or july 4th for a much needed drug. We gave some hugs or pats and always
an ear to our customers with either happy news or sad diagnosis reports. There
were people that had the gall to go to chains and then call us for
We answered them giving our service. We took care of our people.
I thank you, Steve, for all the wonderful service and will continue to buy my
books from you!! And I enjoy reading the mailed list of what we can
order--your sense of humor and knowledge of the book contents makes it fun.

Phyllis Tilton

Kelley Webb Randel on sun 26 jul 98

I'm pretty new to clayart, so could i ask what Steve's address is for the
Pottery Shop? Thanks.


Fay & Ralph Loewenthal on sun 26 jul 98

Steve and all the others, right on. I thought it was only in our
neck of the backwoods that people got advice from us and
bought elsewhere. I am, at age 54, looking for a job back in
the computer industry because of the non-support we get
from the potters in our area. We were always OK to give
advice etc, but not to buy from. So now we have no choice
but to close the business. In fact we always priced our
goods below the opposition's prices. Whatever stock we
have left we are going to use ourselves.
Our main problem is that the wholesalers in Johannesburg
were prepared to supply small quantities like 100 grams of
underglaze to our customers. This is even after we had
come to an agreement that they would refer small quantity
orders to us. There is not even loyalty from the suppliers.
There seems to be a mindset here that no matter what the
wholesalers could supply cheaper than us. Sometimes I
was cheaper than the wholesalers. After holding R1000's
of stock, we slowly selling everything that we do not need
off. We are tired of being used. Perhaps the potters here
will come to appreciate the service we provided once it is no
longer available.
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. There is a glaze
firing I have to attend to. All the best Ralph in PE SA

Earl Brunner on sun 26 jul 98

While I agree very much in principle, where do we draw the line?
Do we order directly from Laguna, when we can get their products down the
How big is too big before we stop doing business with them?
Agreed, definitely unethical and cheap to get information from one source that
is in business and buy the material somewhere else. On the other hand,
shouldn't we expect to pay for the information just like any other product?
Shouldn't the business bear some responsibility for giving things away free?
You take care of repeat customers that you have a relationship with, and
sometimes cut them a deal, because of the measure of trust. You expect the
repeat business. You are courteous to new customers and helpful, but to the
same degree?
Since we are on the ethics of who we do business with, I've heard a lot of
fuforaw about not buying a particular product because it is manufactured by
child labor somewhere. As bad as we might consider child labor to be in this
"enlightened age of ours," the truth is, children have had to work to survive
all over the world, through all ages. I hazard a guess that most of our
grandparents and great-grandparents did not so very long ago. What happens to
the child if we close the factory and say, "You don't have a job anymore"?
Boy are we stupid if we think we gave them their happy childhood back! Better
to hold the corporations responsible for the working conditions, include good
meals and education.

Marvin S. Flowerman on tue 28 jul 98

The Potters Shop is at 31 Thorpe Road, Needham Heights, Mass. 02194; Steven
Branfman can be reached directly at SBRANFPOTS@AOL.COM

Hope this helps.

Marvin Flowerman (