The Beckett Blog


‘Good magazine. I’ll probably start collecting cards.’ by Pepper Hastings
April 3, 2008, 4:16 pm
Filed under: Beckett Media | Tags: , , ,

featured-item1.jpgI have a stack of mail in my office — probably close to a thousand envelopes — containing entries to win the $1,800 collecting package featured in last month’s issue of Beckett Sports Card Monthly, the new multi-sport collecting magazine from Beckett.

The magazine is a new product, and drew some criticism on this venue from hard-core collectors who didn’t seem to want to give it a chance. And for those collectors, we still publish our single sport price guides such as Beckett Baseball, Football, etc. BSCM was NEVER intended to replace our core titles. BSCM is a NEW product.

Some pessimists people get a little angry ornery when they don’t have to use reason placed behind the anonymity of a keyboard. Those with an online penchant only read the oftentimes vitriolic message boards and blogs, where sniping and flaming seems to be a bad habit sport. Meanwhile, out in the real world, we have readers and hobbyists. Here’s some excerpts from some of the letters we received this week about BSCM.

The final comment is one of the main reasons BSCM was launched — the future of the hobby. These comments, both constructive and complimentary, are fairly representative of the 500 or so I’ve so far canvassed. — ph

“Love the new magazine, it’s MAXIM for the hobby.” Clint (Md.) 

“I really like new format.”  Reed (Wis.) 

“Thanks for helping me enjoy my hobby.” Jason (Calif.) 

“I like the combined sports to access all in one mag . . .” Chris (Minn.) 

“A great magazine. Keep it up!” Matthew (Pa.) 

“It’s different but I will get the hang of how to use it.” Terry (Neb.) 

“All sports in one is great.” Eugene (N.Y.) 

“Just getting used to it. Pages wasted on player profiles.” Greg (Mass.) 

“Used to buy Tuff Stuff. This is much better.” George (N.H.) 

“I would like to see just baseball, not all of them put together.” Drew (Va.) 

“More rare card photos!” Robert (Mo.) 

“I would not change a thing.” Jens (Minn.) 

“Nice to see you combine all sports.” William (Wis.) 

“Not sure I like the idea of combining all sports.” Raymond (Ariz.) 

“Need more pricing.” Eric (N.J.) 

“Very informative!” Spencer (S.C.) 

“Overall, a better read. But the price guide suffered.” Brandon (Okla.) 

“Still like the single sport books.” David (Texas) 

“Good magazine. I’ll probably start collecting cards.” William, age 11 (Calif.)

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39 Comments so far
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I’ve burned many a minute over the last week anxiously opening some of the surveys with my esteemed colleague, Mr. Pepper Hastings.

First of all, thanks for all the great feedback.

A few random responses, if I may:

To Greg in Massachusetts and Brandon in Oklahoma, you’ll be happy to know that we’ve removed the 20 some-odd pages of Player Price Guides for the next issue, and replaced them with traditional Price Guide pages.

To David in Texas and Drew in Virginia, please know that Beckett Baseball is still alive, well and bigger than ever. The new issue, featuring Johan Santana on the cover, includes 280 pages and the Beckett Baseball Card Plus Price Guide you’ve come to know and love.

To Raymond in Arizona, all we ask is that you give it a chance.

And to William in California, thanks for picking us up; keep us posted on your budding collection.

Tracy Hackler
Associate Publisher

Comment by Tracy Hackler

The new price guide sucks! I glanced at it at my local card shop today and wasn’t very impressed at all. Virturally no Hockey coverage at all. No cards listed past the last three years. Who ever made up the idea for this piece of garbage should be looking for another job.

Beckett has certainly forgotten the average collector who only collects one ot two sports. I have bought every hockey beckett since the first month that they came out. This will make me have to get the hockey plus which I really disliked because it had hardly no article at all. If I wanted a multiple sport price guide, I would have been buying Tuff Stuff all these years.

Comment by Amsfan

I liked the single sports magazines better. I couldn’t care less about Hockey, Baseball, or Basketball. Just another way for beckett to make more money and rip-off Tuffstuff!!

Comment by Brian Sharp

our packs have doubled in price why not the guide I agree I was looking for 08 upperdeck baseball and it wasn’t there but it was in the baseball plus????? thought only the new products were in the multi guide

Comment by shawn campbell

Shawn, deadlines probably hit just wrong. Should be in next week’s issue.

Brian, for you there is Beckett Football magazine — all football.

Amsfan — sounds like BSCM is not for you. You need our single sport giant publications.

Comment by Pepper Hastings

PH – That was a pretty harsh and negative blog entry (use of caps, strikethroughs, etc.)

My advice to Beckett: if you don’t want constructive criticism and potentially negative product feedback, then go back to web 1.0.

Every corporate blog has it’s share of positive and negative feedback when soliciting customer opinions – especially about new products. That’s the greatest thing about the web 2.0. You are closer to your customer than ever before. Sometimes you get a pat on the back… and sometimes you get a kick in the tail. But if you’re afraid to get negative information, then stop blogging and go back to press releases.

I’d recommend reading Seth Godin’s books and blogs and check out Steve Johnson’s pragmatic product marketing blog. I think you’ll find them informative and entertaining.

Good luck.

http://sportslocker.blogspot.com/

Comment by JRJ

I prefer the old price guides I grew up with in the 90s and early 00s. But there is just too much product to keep up in the traditional format! Most prices don’t change from issue to issue for the old stuff so no sense reprinting it each issue. Squeezing font sizes, taking out set pictures, etc will only go so far. So change must occur.

I’ll be sticking with the Plus magazines since I buy mainly football cards and call it a day. Gas isn’t $1.50 anymore, Beckett changed formats. Build a bridge and get over it.

Comment by Jordan

like the idea of multi sport if it was more in depth. I Cannot look up cards older than a year or two. I personally will not buy both, one or the other. I think if you were creating it for people to buy both you are wrong. People will not spend more on multiple guides for one sport. Its like supplies, who wants to spend money on them when you can be buying packs or boxes
Dan

Comment by Dan

JRJ — we do want and encourage reasoned constructive criticism and negative feedback from customers. And the new beckett.com web site will be absolutely 2.0 in look, feel and functionality.

As for Beckett taking a kick in the tail, we bend over most every day. “Thank you sir, may I have another . . .!”

Caps were for emphasis. Strikethroughs . . . just poking the bear.

thanks for your comments. we like reading your blog.

Comment by Pepper Hastings

I think the expanded platform did what it was intended to do – give a broader spectrum of coverage, to give a flavor for the five major collectible categories that used to be reserved for the single mags. I use Beckett to gage card values, yes, but we all realize that the market is what the market is, and if we are using the price guide as our only means of card value, then we will be sadly misled…

That being said, I enjoyed reading the features in the BSCM on all of the sports covered. The price guides were lacking, and I might recommend that they be expanded or omitted completely…I would like to see complete checklists, especially on new products, and more pages devoted to Previews or, more importantly, Reviews…this should also be at Beckett.com…Beckett strives to be a Hobby Resource, but for such a visual Hobby, the number of “example pictures” is glaring…more pictures, of base cards, insert cards, SP cards…checklists, especially the SPs…once you post them one time in some blurb of a news article, the SP lists go away and are not ever heard from again…

Just my opinion…

Comment by Dunnere

The new guide was good effort to appeal to the 5 collectible markets.
I always enjoy the informative articles Hot list Market Watch etc.
I think those who think you’re RIPP’ off Tuff suff have a lot of catchin up to do.Beckett is way far ahead. I think the format draws that comparison but Beckett overall has a better grip on the pricing and the hobby as a whole.
That being said I see the need for plus guides even a non-sport plus would benefitt
customers. I think given the current products being releases BCM functions well for the current pricing. THe expanded player pricing and the TOP cards that matter per sport helps but the need still exist for Plus guides to fill in the gaps that BCM CAN’T FULLFILL. One gap is the Nascar collcetible that has been sorely missed.
I look forward to your attention to maybe combining the nascar tennis golf etc as one such Plus guide. Overall It’s still Beckett I choose when I go for my Hobby collecting needs. Beckett is the more accurate and informative guide accross the board.
Tom

Comment by Tom Waldron

Interesting new magazine. Honestly, it’s too similar to Tuff Stuff. I’m not sure that we needed another multi-sport magazine that covers the major sports. If the magazine took out the price guides for the big four (certainly the player price guides were a bit on the useless side and they take up way too much real estate), included more articles about the big four sports and expanded the price guides for the other sports, we might have a really useful resource. While Tennis, NASCAR, Golf and Wrestling cards are considered the “Baby Brothers” of this hobby, there isn’t a consistent resource for pricing those cards (except NASCAR). While many people don’t consider Wrestling a sport on the level of Baseball or football, the global fanbase of Wrestling dwarfs that of either sport (around 250 million fans). Having a consistent useful price guide for the other sports would be more helpful.

Comment by David Blyn

I was actually pretty disappointed with the first issue. I really tried to read the non-baseball articles, thinking that perhaps I could learn something from the other sports card sections, but I just couldn’t do it.

I will give it another shot when the next issue comes out. Most likely, though, I’ll be sticking to the Baseball-only Beckett.

On a somewhat separate note…I’m not sure I can explain this too well but I’ll try anyway. I actually think that Beckett is missing an opportunity to leverage its core competency in this current market. This collectibles market has always been missing a “value” guide as opposed to a “price” guide. We all know that the “price” guide isn’t too accurate. The price for a card one day is $10 while the price the very same card the next day is $30. What we are missing is how much a card should be worth.

Take, for example, a Derek Jeter 1/1. Beckett says that it can’t price this card since there isn’t enough market data. But how many Jeter 1/1 cards sell every month? Certainly enough to draw some reasonable conclusions. There are more than 10 true Jeter 1/1s on eBay right now! Can’t you look across them all and others and tell us how much a typical Jeter 1/1 is “worth”? I’ll decide how much I’m willing to sell it for and buyers will decide if they’re willing to pay as much as I want.

You were headed in this direction with the CHART. Apparently, I thought it was much more useful than others since you certainly discontinued it for a reason…right?

Comment by Dave ©

i love the sports card monthly. i collect multiple sports so it helps me out alot. if there’s something in there older than 2007 then i just look at my opg.i like the new mag and don’t care what anyone else says. i love all the articles and all the info in it and the player listings.i also like the survey where you have a chance to when awesome cards from all sports.i say rock on and keep up the good work.

Comment by themanj1

Absolute trash. Nothing in there at all. I do shows and I can’t price anything or look up something if I want to trade or buy of someone. I can’t always get online to look something up either. If I wanted aweful articles with useless writers, I would buy Tuff Stuff. Get rid of it. I know alot of dealers that are NOT happy and will be canceling their montly subscription. Way to go ruining something that wasn’t broken in the first place. Just one more way for Beckett to get MORE money from us.

~AJ

Comment by Anthony J

For everybody that is complaining about the lack of depth pricing in the sports monthly, I feel your pain but you must remember that any Beckett (or competitors’ price guides for that matter) simply publish a summary of information based on past transactions since the magazine’s last publishing period. I personally like the BSCM for the entertainment value and will skim over the price guides, but it is certainly not the be all and end all of pricing. Let us not forget that the MARKET (and that includes you, the reader) determines the price of any card. Additionally, Beckett can’t possibly gather every recorded transaction on cards for composing their guides because they are not privy to every transaction. That would be impossible. So if you’re solely relying on a Beckett magazine to make a decision to buy or sell, you’re being reactive instead of proactive and you are only hurting yourself in the end.

Personally, I really like that other “minor” sports get coverage, but since these sports are sans the Plus price guides, they should warrant an extra page or two in the BSCM for the benefit of those collectors. For example, I personally believe that the wrestling price guide can expand to 2-3 full pages of pricing and sufficiently list all the major WWE releases from 2001-present. Tennis, golf, and the new Donruss Americana product get full coverage from what I could gather and I was very impressed by that.

Beckett, keep up the good work on this publication. Eventually it will evolve into something we can generally accept.

Comment by Ryan

How about 0 pages of prices in the new magazine and just stick with the articles, box breaks, hot lists, etc…and then put all prices in the bi monthly mag.

If collectors want a price guide then they should subscribe to the bi monthly guides. If collectors want in depth articles about the hobby, then BSCM is for them. It would eliminate the in betweeners..does that make sense?

I also liked the top 10 Jim Thorpe card collection page. I think you should have one of those top 10 player collector pages for every sport. and how about more color?

Comment by President Obama

LOL @ using CONTEST ENTRY butt kissers to feel validated.

NO LOL @ talking mad junk about your CUSTOMERS who didn’t like the magazine.

Nothing new here. Beckett gets criticism and Beckett screams “conspiracy” or “keyboard warrior”.

Amongst some of the worst customer relations in history.

Comment by It's Me

It’s Me — There was a one-page, multi-question survey. The contest was the incentive to complete the survey.

Comment by Pepper Hastings

i kinda sorta like the new magazine. i would definately like to see alot more color put into it. i would also like to see you expand your nascar section. i keep up with all the other sports, but usually when it comes time for the playoffs. it’s gonna take some tweakin and some time to get it right, and i know you guys at beckett are doing your best and i’m sure we’ll see a better magazine before this year is over. i’ll just stick to my online priceguides for now. BECKETT ROCKS.

Comment by sboston

I thought only Losers and 12 year old girls use “LOL”

Comment by Porcupine Lexus

The new price guide is horrible. If I wanted to know about Hockey cards, I would BUY a hockey magazine! When my subscription runs out, you have lost a 10+ year subscriber for good.

Comment by Johnson

I agree completely with what Ryan said. Thank you.

Comment by James B. Anama

For all the posters complaining about Hockey and other sports in the new mag……read the cover! It says “SPORTS CARD MONTHLY”, not Baseball, Basketball, etc. I could care less about Hockey and Auto Racing as well but at least I get a chance to see what’s new in those areas without having to buy the mag dedicated to those sports.

I think it was a pretty good inaugural issue although I hope you guys at Beckett don’t repeat many of the same articles from this mag into the dedicated sports issues. I’d hate to buy 2 magazines and get the same articles in each.

I agree with President Obama, take the pricings out or perhaps only have the most recent releases (say maybe 6-12 months worth prior to posting them in the other mags. More hobby happenings and future releases, perhaps player interviews, hot lists, etc. And bring back the Japan hobby news section! With all the new Japanese players making the transition to MLB, this was a section I always enjoyed. Heck, add a worldwide collector’s section and give everyone in the hobby a look at what collectors around the world are doing, I’m sure Pepper wouldn’t mind a trip to Afghanistan or Tibet.

Looking forward to the next issue, just don’t come out with a dedicated Beckett Tennis Magazine or I’m going to retire from collecting anything!

Comment by Matt

I understand the market for the new Beckett, and for those of us who only collect one sport, we can always switch to the bimonthly single sport publication (which I have already done). What was most disappointing to me in this transition was how the length of the subscriptions was handled. I went from my last issue being November to being July. I understand the explanation about the costs going up, but is that any way to treat your loyal customers? I’m not sure I’m going to renew after this.

Comment by Mark

Good to see Beckett striving to be worse than Tuff Stuff

Comment by Jason R

Haven’t seen it, don’t know what it looks like, can’t comment on the magazine at all. As soon as I see it in the magazine rack at Wally World, I’ll give it a look.

However………..

Antagonizing, then mocking your core customer base in the middle of a recession when you sell a non-essential luxury product….? Not the smartest marketing plan in the world if I may say so. Your business, your magazine, you have every right to do what you want. I’d take a look at what just happened to Creative Labs though to see what happens when a company’s product stops serving their customers’ needs and they then step on their most loyal users’ toes.

Comment by dayf

Still like to see single sport magazine.

Comment by Norm Fedor

thanks for making me a more than a so-so collector. I collect cards from many sports with football being the main; I have other sports that I am interested in , also. Thanks Beckett!

Comment by Pam Dudley

Well quite frankly I was not impressed with this first issue.I will purchase the next and see if they make improvements and make my final judgement. I agree with DAYF and do not think that it was a prudent decission at the current economic conditions that our great nation currently face. Tuff stuff was a publication that made perfect sence to me 10-15 years ago,but after getting more involved in the aspects of collecting and selling the single point price guide seemed more reasonable. I like all the rest with any common sence know that a card is only worth what someone is willing to pay and have never looked at any of the GUIDES as the Price Bible like many dealers and card show personal do.
Bottom line folks is that we all want to be entertained and that is where Beckett should focus there attention. More great articles less garbage,Current and more accurate pricing, Less lame player profiles more graet pulls articles. Just my simple thoughts.

Comment by Gordon

Well i think you really screwed the reader and the monthly subscriber here.

1St you made it to where we have to buy the bi monthly mag. in order to get prices for older cards. then the new mag for new items .

Why not just make 2 mags 1 for football/Hockey and the another for Baseball/ Basketball?with it all in there ?

Comment by Bob Smith

“Love the new magazine, it’s MAXIM for the hobby.”

WOW, which cards are doing the slutty layouts?

BA

Comment by Brian Alexander

ugh… you pick the “great” answers and show them, and call pesimists and no-reasons to people who dont? super! If you keep doing your job without actually listen, just keeping an eye on the beckett fans instead the trading card fans…. well, you will end up selling a Beckett about beckett, because here’s one whos gonna leave for good. Definitely, Beckett Magazine, youre having the best month of your career. -_- Sad thing is that your behaviour is affecting the hobby, to which seems you gradually don’t belong any more.
STOP BATTLING YOUR CUSTOMERS!!!! Amazing guys. This is a hobby, is meant to be fun, not to confront you super smarties vs. we ugly troll customers allright? Oh dunno why i bother.

Comment by Pau

If I understand this correctly, this new magazine will be monthly, and the previous single-sport monthly mags will now come out every-other month?

If I have that correct, then I don’t think Beckett should be too surprised to see some negative feedback. Any time you launch a new product that causes changes to service or client expectations with other products, then there is going to be some resistance to the new product.
http://sportslocker.blogspot.com/

Comment by JRJ

JRJ,

You are correct, except the the single-sports come out 6 times a year. For football, for example, the six publication release dates are weighted a little bit toward when the football season and playoff are going.

We are not suprised at all with negative feedbak and encourage people to tell us what they want.

Comment by Pepper Hastings

I’ve somewhat addressed this on the regular boards, but since you say you welcome the feedback, here goes.

1)Rookie cards. If the player is an unlisted star or above, their rookies should be
listed. Yes, if every card in the set is like $1 or less, feel free to exclude the set.
2)Listed players who’s cards sell for more than a common RC should have their
cards listed, regardless of year.
3)First listing of any set should be, if possible, complete. The exception to this is
when we are just talking about minor variant differences ala the stuff done for Topps
Milestones and memories.
4)Inserts needed to be included for the current year. Previous years need to be listed
only for actively collected inserts like autographs.
5)If you are doing partial listings, where you mention a commons price, it is essential
that you find a way to note that a group of cards still do not have enough information
to be priced, but they are NOT necessarily commons.
6) A listing that shows significant sales. You could package these later on in a
seperate guide to help aid pricing of limited cards. Sales date is essential. The
Griffey 1/1 that sold first for $15K, later sold for far less, as an example.
7) Yes, the Babe Ruth card #’d 3 is cool, but unless one just sold, or it came out this
year, it does not need to be in the guide. If it is an older issue, put it with listings
in number above.

As a concept, why not come out with a wiki that has all the card listings. w/o prices.
Let people “vote” on what should be included and what should not. I guess you might have to limit to people that have been around for a minimum amount of time to prevent abuses by voting with multiple accounts or the like. The options could be something
along the lines of a tree.
Set Name (include/exclude)
–Base listed players(+/-)
–Base rookies (+/-)
–Parallel Type 1 (+/-)
–Parallel Type 2 (+/-)
–Insert Type 1 (+/-)
–Insert Type 2 (+/-)
etc.

You might also consider examining the “collections” of people who have them.
Collectors will certainly be more interested in cards that they have and that they need
to complete their collections

Comment by Richard

Richard, excellent input. thank you for the thoughtful and constructive criticism.

Comment by Pepper Hastings

You are most welcome.
I’m a long time fan of the guide and I want the hobby to thrive.
I, like many collectors, want the cards we want to be researchable.
In many cases, you could simply produce a list of “changes”.
You have hobby stores that go through the guide and adjust their prices based
on what happens to prices, and don’t worry as much about the cards that are
not changed since they have dealt with the prices of other cards already.

One thing that I would like to see done,perhaps in the plus?, is to get a corrected
list of the minis for the Topps 07-08 Basketball listings. I’m sure the base cards
are likely correct, but I know that I have only seen 5 different mini autos and I
know that a few players will certainly NOT have signed since they are either
UD exclusive or they happen to be dead. A corrected listing with the # signed
is well overdue.

Comment by Richard

I don’t like the new guide. I think it should be marketed towards someone who only busts boxes of products the day it is released. It seems to me you just copied Tuff Stuff to have something next to it on store shelves as I think many younger collectors buy a multi sport guide rather than a handful of single sport guides. Pretty much the same as the Graded Card Investor copied Sports Market Report.

Comment by WVcards




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