Paul recently blogged here about a news headline: “Westlaw rises to legal information fame by selling free information.” The readers at the Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages have written in to the paper with a number of comments. If true, what might be the most interesting comment was written by an alleged longtime employee of West Publishing. He writes:
“We had a book that just wasn’t selling, and the sales department was going crazy trying to push them out the door. Finally, a suggestion was made to change the cover and make it part of the California practice series. There are a lot of lawyers in California and virtually all of them had this series, which resembled, as I recall, a green encyclopedia. So how could we send all these California lawyers this book that they hadn’t ordered and make them pay for it? Well, normally if you get something that you didn’t order in the mail you can throw it away without paying, but there is an exception if the item is part of a series that you already bought. In that case, the recipient must either pay for the unsolicited item or send it back. In order to keep these attorneys from sending back this expensive book that nobody wanted, a new kind of box was designed with a strange diagonal “zipper.” Once unzipped, the cardboard laid flat with many fold lines and became a real puzzle. Its purpose was simply to be impossible to put back together once the box was opened! After having their secretaries struggle with it for awhile, virtually every attorney in California gave up and decided it was easier to just send a check.”
Don’t give up so easy!
To read all the comments in full, visit the City Pages site.