Problems with Warner’s Correspondence Course

In 1910, Warner had three sets of customers all expected to pay the same $10 for that year’s course but, depending on the set they were in, received something different.  Old customers who first bought the course in 1908 or 1909 received the annual supplements where new customers received all the pamphlets from the original course plus the 1910 supplements.  This surely created a logistics headache for him.  To simplify things, he might have packaged a set of course pamphlets with the first supplement he released for the year, thus giving old customers a second or third copy of the course.  Arguing against him doing that is the likelihood of subscribers giving their duplicates to friends.  Warner would surely have foreseen that possibility.  Evidence to support that he didn’t send duplicate copies of the pamphlets to old customers is that none of the (few) archives that have copies of the course mention having multiple copies although some have annual supplements.

A hint that Warner received static from his old customers over the pricing is that Warner addressed that issue in the ad copy when he wrote, “The latter manual or pamphlet, diagramming and explaining an entirely new system of offense, will alone be worth many times the subscription price of the course which remains but $10.00.”

Not having a copy of the 1911 Spalding Guide yet, I don’t know what the ad copy for that year stated, but do expect that logistics problems and complaints over pricing from old customers compounded over time.  These issues may have become great enough by 1912 to cause Warner to take his training course in a different direction while making it affordable for a broader audience. The next installment in this conversation will discuss Warner’s new approach.  In the meantime, if you know of anyone who has copies of Warner’s correspondence course, particularly the Offense pamphlets, please let me know.

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