Warner’s ad in the 1912 Spalding’s Guide was very different from the previous ads because his product was different. This is apparent from the new price emphasized in very large type at the top of the ad. The title remained the same, [A] Course in Foot Ball for Players and Coaches, but the price was only a quarter of the amount he charged in previous years. Ad copy mentioned that the correspondence course “…has proven so universally satisfactory and the demand has increased so greatly that he will revise the course in accordance with the new rules and publish it in book form. Publishing new versions of the course each year was legitimate, probably necessary, at that time because rule changes came fast and furious in those days. The revolutionary rule changes of 1906 required refinement in the immediately following years to complete the job of opening up football and reducing fatalities. These annual changes necessitated significant changes to strategy and formations. But keeping up with them was a chore.
An even bigger chore was handling the logistics of servicing customers who had bought the correspondence course in previous years differently than those who were buying it for the first time. Those who first bought it in 1908 surely balked at paying the same $10 fee four times. 1912 would have been the fifth. Keeping track of the individual pamphlets and, worse yet, getting out the mailings as pamphlets became ready would have been a nightmare. Postage costs would have been substantial.
Warner’s solution was to bind the 1912 version of the course as a hardback book (I don’t think paperbacks were commonplace then) and sell for $2.50. That he self-published the book is clear from the address to which orders were to be sent: Glenn S. Warner, Athletic Director, Indian School, Carlisle, Pa.
<more on the book next time>