What do you think of Usborne?

(47 Posts)
nicolajcurtis Wed 04-May-16 22:20:28

Hello, I joined Usborne as an Organiser about 2 months ago, as a way of trying to work without having to put the children in childcare too much and a way for me to be free in the school holidays.

I really love their books, and I would love for it to work, BUT I feel there is a stigma attached to it wherever I go, can I have your opinions please? What do you think when you see someone like me with my books at a fair/shopping evening etc? Would you buy the books? If not, why not?

I am just trying to work out if it is all worth it and if I should carry on.

Thank you
Nicola

thecatfromjapan Wed 04-May-16 22:28:13

I love Usborne! Why is there a stigma?

I loved their picture book series of how animals grow; the farmer series; the Betty Root co-authored books with the simple text and the slightly more complicated text; the fairy story books; the alphabet and counting books. My children both learned to read with Usborne.

We had so many Usborne books ... <grows a little tearful> They're a wonderful publishing house.

Ilovewillow Wed 04-May-16 22:36:05

I've not heard of any stigma - I love their books and would definitely buy at a fair and have done in the past!
Good luck!

neolara Wed 04-May-16 22:36:56

I love usborne books.

thecatfromjapan Wed 04-May-16 22:37:00

Ooops! The how animals grow and ABC books were Dorling Kindersley (who are also great). But the Boot family and fairy tales were fab.

Cabawill Wed 04-May-16 22:40:58

We love them. Have received and bought them as gifts and my DS reads his Space book every single morning.

Would certainly be something we would head straight for at a Book Fair. What stigma are you referring to?

BombadierFritz Wed 04-May-16 22:41:21

I love the books but the selling via mums thing is a bit 'pyramid selling' - the money is really made from recruiting and building teams. Usually the books are a lot cheaper via say thebookpeople but i am happy to buy the occasional book at a fair etc. I dont recommend it as a way of making money unless you just focus on recruitment. I was never comfortable with that

originalmavis Wed 04-May-16 22:42:27

'That's not my.....'!

EffieIsATrinket Wed 04-May-16 22:47:20

Love love love the Boot family and the First Encyclopaedia series. Also the 'Goose on the Loose' phonics books are brilliant. No stigma as far as I can see.

DraenorQueen Wed 04-May-16 22:51:00

I'm 31 and one of my earliest memories is of my mum telling "the Usborne lady" was coming. I got to pick books!!! It was fab - I loved the Usborne Puzzle books and still buy them from Amazon for my pupils. I they're a brand that has really stood the test of time.

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 04-May-16 22:52:12

They are over-priced when sold through the pyramid scheme, but if you buy them elsewhere they can be good.

nicolajcurtis Wed 04-May-16 22:58:16

Thanks so much everyone, well there seems to be a positive response, which is great.

Maybe I am just being paranoid then, sometimes I just get a few comments, if someone shows interest, I have heard their friend say something to them and then they walk off!

Its frustrating that their books are sold in other places, like through the book people and Amazon for cheaper, BUT I will say that these places do not hold the entire range, they don't sell all the books they hold cheaper, and sometimes I have cheaper offers than they do. I have been keeping an eye on this, as I wanted to have answers ready if anyone ever asked. And unfortunately we cannot control what these retailers do. Personally I dont think Usborne should sell wholesale, it would give the organisers a better chance.

I love their books, I am not a fan of the recruiting thing either and haven't managed to recruit anyone yet. I would just like to come up with unique ways of selling the books, and have a few ideas.

If you can think of any, please let me know!

SlinkyVagabond Wed 04-May-16 23:04:57

<whispers> I never liked them, hated the house illustration style. Sorry.

westcountrywoman Thu 05-May-16 07:16:34

They are lovely books but unfortunately you can often buy at a fraction of the price on Amazon / thebookpeople which can make the book fair / at home price look expensive. I've often heard mums mumbling that the Usborne rep is ripping everyone off as the book is say £7.99 at the book fair (sold at RRP) but £4.99 online. And from a fundraising point of view, the school gets very little from the sales. As a school, we'd be better off buying a load of books on Amazon and selling them at 50p more than we paid - the customers get cheaper books and the school would earn more commission.
This is really sad and actually I blame Usborne for allowing their books to be sold at such low prices online. They must be selling them to Amazon at lower prices than they do to other retailers as often the selling price on Amazon is lower than the trade price for bookshops (I work in the book-selling industry). It devalues their product. One day, independent booksellers and 'at home' reps will no longer be in business and online sales of these books will also tail off as people won't be able to see the books in real-life. I don't think an online only model is sustainable long-term. People generally still buy books - particularly children's books -online after seeing the product in real-life.

Miloarmadillo1 Thu 05-May-16 07:39:39

I love Usborne books, we have loads. A friend set up an 'at home' business and did v well initially, but once she'd used up the goodwill of her friends all buying a book or two, the same books are available for a fraction of the price from the Internet. The stigma is from being tarred with the same brush as other pyramid schemes, making money by selling hugely overpriced products to your friends and then leaning on them to join up too. I don't think Usborne is anywhere near as bad, the RRP is pretty reasonable, but almost nobody buys books at RRP any more - they get a cheap deal online or a BOGOF at a bookshop.

MiaowTheCat Thu 05-May-16 07:45:04

Relative sells them and they're really really overpriced going via her rather than getting them online etc. All of her sales really are just goodwill and people buying the odd one because they feel like they have to - which is a sales model that annoys me.

anotherdayanothersquabble Thu 05-May-16 07:47:35

In my case, any whispering would be 'you can buy it cheaper on line'.

I love Usbourne books but rarely pay RRP for them.

silverduck Thu 05-May-16 07:52:47

I like the books but The Book People really undercut and have a pretty good range. Waterstones and WH Smith often do buy one get one half price. I do buy from parties as I see the gap in price as the price for the social event.

I have a friend that sells and she will monitor what Book People etc have on special/cheap and removes them from her stall so people won't feel ripped off. She is also good at highlighting the special offers. If people ask, she gives advice about what are good tools for learning to read/supporting school and makes good sales that way, she has laminated lists of what book band the books are so can offer choices a child is likely to be able to read. People like that.

nicolajcurtis Thu 05-May-16 09:16:39

Thanks everyone for your comments, much appreciated.

I think I will also try to not stock those books that are currently available on Amazon or the book people for cheaper. Amazon has lots of Usborne books for sale, but they are not all cheaper than the price I can offer them at. The book people are so cheap I don't even know how they do it, but again they don't have the full Usborne range, and some of the special offers I have, they don't have. Looking on their website makes me want to instantly give up! Their prices are even cheaper than what I can buy them for from Usborne. Unfortunately they have a strict no re-sale policy, otherwise I could buy from them and sell them.

silverduck it sounds like your friend is doing well. Where is she based?

Nicola

TheSuspiciousMsWhicher Thu 05-May-16 09:23:00

I do like Usborne. I have had friends who have sold their books and I don't think there is any stigma attached. I bought the odd book from from my friend because I wanted to support her and her business.

However, I don't think I would buy from an Usborne rep I didn't already know TBH. Simply because, if I wanted a particular title, they are almost always available elsewhere for cheaper.

pratiaalba Thu 05-May-16 09:27:03

We love usborne books, they're fantastic. However, there is no way I would buy from someone selling the way you are - I shudder at the parents doing these type of things at the school fair, it's basically saying to other parents, please subsidise me being a SAHP.

Lunar1 Thu 05-May-16 09:31:41

I honestly wouldn't invest to heavily in it. Your family and friends will spend a bit to help you get started and then it all becomes a bit uncomfortable when they don't want to keep spending but feel they have to.

Not many people will be swayed by different titles they will still want the mainstream cheaper ones. There are so many books out there people can easily get by on discounted bundles.

nicolajcurtis Thu 05-May-16 09:32:21

I think that's a bit harsh pratiaalba, we are not trying to sell the books above their value, we are just selling them at their RRP (most of them, we do obviously have some good offers), I don't expect anyone to subsidise me, believe me alot of my time goes into trying to make this work, and I have worked really hard on it, so I do resent your comment. You should'nt criticise anyone trying to make a living when there are so many others that don't bother.

pratiaalba Thu 05-May-16 09:44:05

You said that you're doing it to avoid putting the children into childcare, and so you're free in the summer holidays. You get a commission from sales, so any money I gave you for books you would get a cut of. How would me buying from you at a higher price than Book People/Amazon not be me subsidising you?
I am not criticising you, I am stating my opinion of people that sell in this way.
If you are making commission on over-priced sales then people will steer clear of you.
That is where your perceived stigma is coming from.
Parents at school will avoid being friendly with you because they'll be worried you're going to push products on them that they don't want or need. You, personally, might never do that, but experience with others has taught them to be wary.

It's worse at our school- it's a fee-paying school! These parents are basically saying 'pay my children's fees, please'!

Lunar1 Thu 05-May-16 09:44:16

They are not worth the rrp though, even in a proper book shop I've never paid the full rrp for anything.

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