Av 5772 / August 2012
Our “Win-Win” Policy
It seems as if a long time has passed since I wrote the first Torah Temimah Publications newsletter. Perhaps this is due to the numerous developments that have transpired at TT during the past few months.
In order to keep you informed of the major news items at TT, I will share with you some insights into one the these areas of progress.
The most ominous question I was faced with when launching Torah Temimah Publications was, “Who is going to be your distributor?” I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a fair question. Without a good distributor, a business can’t make sales, and without sales, the company can’t stay in business.
So, I spent a lot of time and energy investigating this critical area. Finally, just a few weeks ago, I finalized an agreement with Judaica Press to be my exclusive distributor in the United States.
I wish to share with you one of the many factors that influenced my decision to choose Judaica Press, because it has become a pivotal theme in my overall business philosophy.
A little over a month ago, Mr. Aryeh Mezei, VP of The Judaica Press, Inc., came to Yerushalayim on business. We met in my humble home, and our conversation ranged from mussar/hashkafa to his publishing experiences to our friendly negotiations.
I want to share with you one principle that he taught me at that meeting.
We all know what business is about: making money. We all know what making money is about: hard work and serious davening. But you can’t do it alone; you need cooperation from your employees and business associates.
Reb Aryeh taught me a valuable lesson about dealing with business associates: In order to succeed in business, you have to operate a “win-win policy,” which means that everyone involved should be happy with the outcome.
I was happy to hear the way Reb Aryeh described his business ethos; it echoed a similar business philosophy that I had long held. I’ll give you an example of the manner in which I had already been employing a similar policy: Standard business practice when discussing terms of payment is to hear the other party’s initial offer, and then counter with a lower one. Well, when I sign a contact with an author, hire a copy editor, or order printing, I never bargain them down. I either accept it or raise it! Yes, you read that right. Sometimes I feel that the services are worth much more than the price being proposed, so I simply raise the price for the employee’s sake. I began doing this out of a feeling of “ve’ahavta le’reiacha kamocha.” After Reb Aryeh explained to me his “win-win” philosophy, I realized that one could also define it as a good investment. If the employee or associate is paid as much as or more than expected―out of goodwill―he or she will probably work better, producing superior quality work, and subsequently spreading a good word about the business in the publishing industry. So, in the end, we’re all happy and gaining financially.
Our “win-win” policy doesn’t end there. In addition to our U.S. distributor, I have also engaged one in Israel to deal with local sales. The company is called Kulmus and is run by an American-Israeli by the name of Avishai Goldman (formerly of Feldheim). Here, too, we naturally applied the same rule of mutual goodwill and looking out for each other’s best interest.
The paramount example―which is of utmost importance to me―of this “win-win” policy is that the reader must get his money’s worth! A publisher knows that he can cut corners here and there―do a mediocre job on editing, order simple graphics, and the like; after all, the book will basically be the same book. But not in the eyes of the reader. He (or she) spent good money to enjoy an excellent book, and if it’s not highly invested in by the publisher, he won’t enjoy it so much. I ask myself, “How much extra does it really cost to upgrade the book’s status from ‘good’ to ‘great’?” The answer is―relatively little. Therefore, I’m determined to go that extra distance, because it’s important to me that the reader has the utmost satisfaction possible from the book he chooses to buy.
There is a lot more news at Torah Temimah than I can include in this newsletter. As of this moment, the most exciting news is that our first two titles have been printed and are on their way to bookstores all around the world. The official release dates are the end of August in Eretz Yisrael and the beginning of September in the U.S.
I just want to conclude by mentioning one more aspect of our “win-win” policy, which is really the most important of them all. We at TT hope and pray that our publications not only bring delight to our readers, but in turn they bring delight to Hashem. Our ultimate success will not be measured by how many copies we sell, but by the kiddush Hashem we make in the world through our Torah Temimah publications.
Rabbi Eliyahu Miller
Publisher and General Editor