Sunday, May 16, 2010

Boswell is Just a Bit Player in the Online College Game--a Totally Stream-of-Consciousness Post

I watch a lot of niche television, the kind that doesn't get much in the way of consumer brands. Mary Tyler Moore (hey, her memoir, Growing Up Again, is out in paperback) at 9 and Bob Newhart at 9:30 are staples on Me TV . It not only sends me back to my childhood of first runs, but also to my first years in Milwaukee, when an hour of Bob Newhart on a 12 inch black and white, perched on an upside-down cole slaw bucket capped off my day.

For a long time, Me TV had mostly retro ads and public service announcements, but now two categories have discovered the world of low-cost penetration. Firstly, the personal injury lawyers and bankruptcy lawyers have a nice presence. For my next accident, I can choose from David Gruber, Cannon and Dunphy, Habush, Habush and Rotier, or Domnitz and Skemp (Domnitz's brother is one of my old bosses!), which makes me wonder whether you can throw out bids if you've got a partiuclarly lucrative case. We're currently working with three parties to find a supplier of plastic gift cards, to replace the just-ending program with our bookstore trade association.

To folks who have outstanding gift cards, all numbers will move over. We will likely, however, have a period of about a week when we can't sell or process gift cards. Signage to follow.

The other folks who seem to be flooding the airwaves are for-profit technical schools and colleges. For many years, ITT and Bryant and Stratton were the players here. Then Kaplan arrived in a big way. Now Upper Iowa, DeVry, University of Phoenix.

Apparently there is an organization of accredited online colleges. And apparently they have a list of 50 "really cool" bookstore blogs (editor's note--we linked to this jokingly and then Google punished us by hiding our blog so now this blog is gone). This is one of them. I should be just happy, but I know it's to get us all to link to their list of schools. Should I be upset about this or not? Why do I feel that this is like those letters you get in the mail (or now in email) saying you are one of the most notable whatevers in America. The commemorative book costs $20, the plaque is $10. But hey it's good enough for Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart, it should be good enough for me. The thing is, my link is even cheaper than Me TV's.

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