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View Full Version : Why Does Estes Still Produce A Catalog?


Gus
01-31-2008, 05:38 PM
The topic of catalogs came up in another thread.

Just curious why folks think Estes still produces catalogs. With their business model these days producing catalogs seems odd. I can't imagine they generate enough in sales to justify the cost.

Solomoriah
01-31-2008, 05:41 PM
What I don't understand is: Why don't they sell online? That is, directly. It IS the wave of the future, after all.

foose4string
01-31-2008, 06:00 PM
Probably the same reason they don't keep the website updated. I don't think they budget for it or consider it a priority. As long as they can get product to the major distributors, they care less about dealing directly. I just don't think they are staffed to keep up with such an endeavor. And, they probably are more confortable dealing in bulk these days. Most established companies would rather do high volume and take a hit or two on profit margin, than to deal in one's and twos. Dealing direct doesn't set well most big distributors either, because it cuts them out of the loop. But, that's were the highest number of sales come from, so you play their game. Let the distributors absorb the internet fees and staffing cost...I'm sure that's what Estes is thinking.

cas2047
01-31-2008, 07:03 PM
Producing a catalog must be part of their strategy to introduce rocektry to new prospects who probably pick up their first kit at a brick and mortar hobby store.

Last year I bought Estes kits from three different brick and mortar stores and each store offered me an Estes catalog along with my purchase. One even gave me a copy of Sport Rocketry.

dwmzmm
01-31-2008, 07:41 PM
I'm sure catalogs will very much be a part of Estes marketing strategy. At the Makers
Faire in Austin last October Estes had tons of catalogs available to any who wanted one.
Producing publications isn't always that cheap, especially when full color pages are used.
I do find it amusing that Estes catalogs are free at Hobby Lobby stores and hobby shops;
I still have the 1996 edition of Estes catalog I got at Hobby Lobby (I was AWOL from the
hobby then, but got a catalog since I wanted to "see what's up.") then cost $ 0.50. As it
turned out, I didn't make it to BAR status until late 2003, seven years later (and 21 years
after leaving the hobby).....

Mark II
01-31-2008, 07:49 PM
What I don't understand is: Why don't they sell online? That is, directly. It IS the wave of the future, after all.
Actually, they do, but they do it through their retail partners - Discount Rocketry, BRS Hobbies, AC Supply, Red Arrow Hobbies, Commonwealth Displays, A2Z Hobbies, etc. I have no doubt that Estes products represent a very important part of these vendors' business, and having these vendors remain viable is very important to those of us living far away from any brick and mortar hobby shop.

Mark

Rocket Doctor
01-31-2008, 08:36 PM
The topic of catalogs came up in another thread.

Just curious why folks think Estes still produces catalogs. With their business model these days producing catalogs seems odd. I can't imagine they generate enough in sales to justify the cost.


If you remember a few years ago, Estes stopped producing their conventional catalog, and all Hell broke loose.

The reason that Estes gave for stopping the catalogs was, "It's available online". So, for a couple of years, it was a brochure.

Customer feedback was huge and the catalog came back. Schools and youth groups especially wanted a catalog.

You can look at a web catalog, but, it isn't the same as having that "little" bible of rocketry in hand.

And, as you noticed , it says on the cover "free". I remember when catalogs came out at least twice and there were mailorder catalogs , and catalogs only available at hoobby shops.

The Estes catalog is part of Estes since the beginning, except for those couple of years under new ownership.

Estes doesn't do business directly because of the small amount of orders compared to mass merchandisers orders and ditributors. (WM especially)

At least Estes will sell you parts through customer service.
Why do you think that Estes sells parts in "bulk" packs, it's the cost of handling the parts. To pick an order for multiple small parts costs money. By putting parts, such as nose cones into packs, cuts down that cost.

So, shortly, you will probably see a 2008 catalog, and it will be interesting to see what they have to offer. If they stick to their previous release date, March or April should reveal the new catalog.

Mark II
01-31-2008, 08:37 PM
The topic of catalogs came up in another thread.

Just curious why folks think Estes still produces catalogs. With their business model these days producing catalogs seems odd. I can't imagine they generate enough in sales to justify the cost.
I was actually quite pleasantly surprised when I came back to the hobby and found out that Estes was still producing yearly catalogs. Although each new edition holds very few surprises for me anymore, and the recent versions certainly don't hold a candle to the great catalogs I received as a kid, I still enjoy seeing the new version each year. Just my opinion, but I see it as one of the dwindling number of traditions that the current EI keeps going from the glory days.

BTW, I also enjoy picking up a new copy of Quest's catalog every year, too. Like other posters have said, Estes and Quest wouldn't be making new catalogs each year if it wasn't key to their respective marketing strategies. Neither company needs to produce a catalog in order to market to me, but I still like it that they produce them, all the same.

It goes without saying that they are nothing like those wonderful old catalogs, though. I certainly don't hold my breath waiting for each new one to come out, like I used to do back when I was a kid, not so long ago. ;)

Mark

chalinaty
01-31-2008, 10:57 PM
Quest actually produces a catalogue only every other year. They should have one coming out in 2008.

Leo
02-01-2008, 02:05 AM
I am very happy that Estes has returned to producing paper catalogs.

While I admit being an internet geek, there is nothing like holding an Estes catalog in your hands and going through the pages admiring the pictures (although I liked the contents from the past alot better) :)

AKPilot
02-01-2008, 07:16 AM
Quest actually produces a catalogue only every other year. They should have one coming out in 2008.

Lets hope the models and motors they promised in 2006 are there . . .

Solomoriah
02-01-2008, 08:17 AM
Although each new edition holds very few surprises for me anymore, and the recent versions certainly don't hold a candle to the great catalogs I received as a kid, I still enjoy seeing the new version each year.
Yeah, no kidding. I was just looking at the 1980 catalog on Ninfinger, and thinking about cloning a bunch of those rockets... nothing really appeals to me in the 2007 catalog.

Mark II
02-01-2008, 09:05 AM
Quest actually produces a catalogue only every other year. They should have one coming out in 2008.
So that's why I've been waiting so long... :eek: :D

Mark

Shreadvector
02-01-2008, 09:22 AM
Quest already printed and has available online the 2007 Educator catalog.

Estes (as reported earlier) had to bring back the physical printed catalog in response to OUTRAGE from hobby shops and consumers and educators (who order a LOT of product).

Estes catalogs not only say "FREE" on the cover, there is a message inside that tells the consumer that the catalog is free, and if they paid for it, they should call Estes and report it. Some weaselly store owners slap a price-sticker over the word "FREE" on the cover.

cas2047
02-01-2008, 09:31 AM
Some weaselly store owners slap a price-sticker over the word "FREE" on the cover.

I've seen store owners who won't give one out unless you buy rocket related products, but I haven't seen anyone sticking price stickers over the word "Free" yet. Going forward that's one thing that might make me think twice about wanting to do business with someone if I do see it.

barone
02-01-2008, 10:13 AM
I've seen store owners who won't give one out unless you buy rocket related products, but I haven't seen anyone sticking price stickers over the word "Free" yet. Going forward that's one thing that might make me think twice about wanting to do business with someone if I do see it.
Someone is always trying to sell them on ebay as collectables

Solomoriah
02-01-2008, 11:00 AM
Someone is always trying to sell them on ebay as collectables
Perhaps I'm strange, but I see no problem with this... unless it's 2008 and you're trying to sell the 2008 catalog that way. That would be like, stupid, eh?

Rocket Doctor
02-01-2008, 12:08 PM
I can see selling "vintage" catalogs on ebay, but, recent issues are far more common.

The older the catalog, and the condition results in higher prices.

I know of an ebay buyer who has at least three complete sets of catalog form day one, he considers this an investment for his kids.

barone
02-01-2008, 12:34 PM
Perhaps I'm strange, but I see no problem with this... unless it's 2008 and you're trying to sell the 2008 catalog that way. That would be like, stupid, eh?
Well, I guess if there isn't a hobby lobby around or you don't want to ask Estes Customer Service to send you one, I guess you can buy one on Ebay. Guess I'm just to frugal (well, someone once called me a cheap SOB ;) ) to buy something I can get for free. But then again, I've seen people sell empty range boxes too.....

Rocket Doctor
02-01-2008, 02:31 PM
The easiest way is for anyone requesting a catalog, contact Estes customer service, as was done last year.

If, retailers want to cahrge, then, don't patronize them. Plain and simple.

Shreadvector
02-01-2008, 03:06 PM
You cannot sell current free catalogs on eBay in most cases. It is a violation of the selling policy if the catalog can be used to place a current order.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/listing-catalog.html

barone
02-01-2008, 03:26 PM
You cannot sell current free catalogs on eBay in most cases. It is a violation of the selling policy if the catalog can be used to place a current order.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/listing-catalog.html
I haven't seen any order forms in the catalogs.

Rocket Doctor
02-01-2008, 05:15 PM
You cannot sell current free catalogs on eBay in most cases. It is a violation of the selling policy if the catalog can be used to place a current order.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/listing-catalog.html

The way I look at it, ebay doesn't want the buyer of a catalog to buy directly, cutting out their profits.

I'm sure that purchasing a catalog on eby doesn't entice someone to go out and buy anything, it's for their personal collection.

ebay has a lot of policies that don't make sense, why do they allow chemicals and fuses and manuals to be sold, while banning motors?

Because the postal service wants a bon or restrictions on the transport of motors, Yet, chemical have a free ride, now, that doesn't make sense at all.

Bottom line like I mentioned before, if you want a catalog, go to your local hobby shop that doesn't try to cahrge you. Or, contact Estes customer service and request one when the time comes, just like last year, there were no problems.

gpoehlein
02-01-2008, 05:48 PM
My local Hobby Lobby charged $.25 for the catalogs until a couple of years ago. A bit after I first got back into rocketry, I went to HL and found that the newest catalog was out. They were free and I grabbed one. At check-out, the young lady running the register was astonished that it was free, but gave it to me. A couple weeks later, I went back to HL and found that they'd stuck price stickers on all the catalogs. This continued until the 2006 catalog - they never did put any price stickers on them the whole year. The same for the 2007 catalog. So I'm guessing someone complained (I was naive and a lot more passive-aggressive back then), maybe even to Estes about it.

Greg

Intruder
02-01-2008, 05:48 PM
Because the postal service wants a bon or restrictions on the transport of motors, Yet, chemical have a free ride, now, that doesn't make sense at all.

It's because when people think of rocket motors, they also think of this (http://www.boycottwatch.org/misc/images/not-nasa5.jpg)

Rocket Doctor
02-01-2008, 06:17 PM
It's because when people think of rocket motors, they also think of this (http://www.boycottwatch.org/misc/images/not-nasa5.jpg);';'

And what do they think about chemicals, fuses and manuals???

Intruder
02-01-2008, 06:26 PM
Not sure. I guess they think chemicals, fuses, and manuals are most dangerous when combined. Motors are a finished product and therefore very dangerous from the start (in their hypothetical opinion, not mine).

Mark II
02-07-2008, 10:54 PM
It's because when people think of rocket motors, they also think of this (http://www.boycottwatch.org/misc/images/not-nasa5.jpg)
Not to mention, also this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_propelled_grenade).

Mark

Mark II
02-07-2008, 10:59 PM
Not to mention, also this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_propelled_grenade).

Mark
And this (http://giga2.colozone.nl/wtc/miscpics/wtc4-0x0.shtml).

Mark

Rocket Doctor
02-08-2008, 06:40 AM
And this (http://giga2.colozone.nl/wtc/miscpics/wtc4-0x0.shtml).

Mark

Why don't you send this to ebay, and, maybe they will ban chemicals, fuses and liteerature. They should leave model rockets alone (motors)

Mark II
02-08-2008, 08:56 AM
Why don't you send this to ebay, and, maybe they will ban chemicals, fuses and liteerature. They should leave model rockets alone (motors)
That wasn't my point. Despite a solid 50-year body of evidence to the contrary, some politicians and media figures have tried to associate our safe, educational hobby with the GWOT for whatever wrong-headed or cynical reasons. I have experienced the result first-hand from a few people in my local community, so I know that, occasionally, some people actually believe such idiotic crap.

I don't know if this is behind eBay's policy, but we all know that it has driven recent policies at the BATFE, the DOT, etc.

Rocket Doctor
02-08-2008, 09:07 AM
That wasn't my point. Despite a solid 50-year body of evidence to the contrary, some politicians and media figures have tried to associate our safe, educational hobby with the GWOT for whatever wrong-headed or cynical reasons. I have experienced the result first-hand from a few people in my local community, so I know that, occasionally, some people actually believe such idiotic crap.

I don't know if this is behind eBay's policy, but we all know that it has driven recent policies at the BATFE, the DOT, etc.

As I had mentioned previously, Ebay doesn't have a clue. Their ban on motor sales comes from the Postal Service.

You need all of the required paperwork to ship motors, that's the bottom line.

It's the same for FedEx and UPS, everyone want a piece of the action, charging high hazmat fees in outrageous, for what, just another way to bring in more revenue.

Was is it, years ago, the gold old days of the hobby, you could send motors through the mail, you didn't have to jump through hoops and everyone wasn't out to make a buck.

From my experience, the word ROCKET brings fear among those who need to be "educated", they think about Cape Kennedy and the satrun V, I guess.

I went to a council meeting years ago to secure a launch site at a ballfield, tow of the council memeberes was going to vote against it, saying, these (rockets) are dangerous, and, that they would have to supply police and fire members. At least the mayor saw it differently, and spoke up for the hobby and it was approved.

Right now, in my local town, to use the school field, you must submit a $1 million dollar policy for liability coverage. The problem being , everyone is law suit crazy.

Bottom line, you should send that to ebay and say, it wasn't model rocket motors that created 911, it was chemicals, that you allow to be sold freely on ebay.

I have yet to see any chemmical or fuse postings being pulled off of ebay.

Intruder
02-08-2008, 06:37 PM
I can understand them putting extra charges on motors in that when you get like five pounds or more of bp in any shape, form, or fashion it can be pretty dangerous. Especially since the UPS guys aren't trained to handle it in such quantities (not that they really need it, but it's a lawsuit waiting to happen). Now for something like one or two packs of motors, thats a little much.

Oh, I forgot all about the RPG. Good call, Mark.

Rocket Doctor
02-08-2008, 08:11 PM
I can understand them putting extra charges on motors in that when you get like five pounds or more of bp in any shape, form, or fashion it can be pretty dangerous. Especially since the UPS guys aren't trained to handle it in such quantities (not that they really need it, but it's a lawsuit waiting to happen). Now for something like one or two packs of motors, thats a little much.

Oh, I forgot all about the RPG. Good call, Mark.

HOw come it was perfectly fine years ago to ship motors in bulk without any hazmat fees? Now, all of a sudden, they are so "dangerous". Like I mentioned, just another way to get more money.

It's like the airlines, now, they are going to restrict you to one checked bag, or, they will charge you $25.00 per bag each way. Also, the weight limit has been lowered, from 70 pounds, down to 50 pounds. I cannattest to that, for being over by 2 pounds, it cost me $25 bucks, does that make sense.

Today, it's all about money.........

Gus
02-08-2008, 09:18 PM
I can understand them putting extra charges on motors in that when you get like five pounds or more of bp in any shape, form, or fashion it can be pretty dangerous.


Why would 50 packages of motors sitting next to each other be inherently more dangerous than 20, or 5? It's not like they reach critical mass. Black powder model rocket motors don't spontaneously combust. Anything that causes the model rocket motors to catch fire will also set everything around them on fire. It's hard to imagine a fire of that type that would be OK except for the presence of model rocket motors. Perhaps USPS should extract an extra charge for ALL non-fireproof substances sent through the mail (like paper, cardboard, etc.)

Especially since the UPS guys aren't trained to handle it in such quantities


What special handling is needed?

it's a lawsuit waiting to happen).


So far it's a lawsuit that's been waiting 50 years to happen.

Anybody care to relate an instance of model rocket motors catching fire in the mail?

The rules regarding model rocket motors and the mail are just plain goofy.

And the rules regarding APCP and the mail are even goofier still.

Rocket Doctor
02-08-2008, 11:32 PM
Why would 50 packages of motors sitting next to each other be inherently more dangerous than 20, or 5? It's not like they reach critical mass. Black powder model rocket motors don't spontaneously combust. Anything that causes the model rocket motors to catch fire will also set everything around them on fire. It's hard to imagine a fire of that type that would be OK except for the presence of model rocket motors. Perhaps USPS should extract an extra charge for ALL non-fireproof substances sent through the mail (like paper, cardboard, etc.)



What special handling is needed?



So far it's a lawsuit that's been waiting 50 years to happen.

Anybody care to relate an instance of model rocket motors catching fire in the mail?

The rules regarding model rocket motors and the mail are just plain goofy.

And the rules regarding APCP and the mail are even goofier still.



AMEN.............

The most hazardous aspect of shipping motors is the gasoline in the tank !!!!
More beaurocratic BS

Mark II
02-09-2008, 04:38 AM
As I had mentioned previously, Ebay doesn't have a clue. Their ban on motor sales comes from the Postal Service.

You need all of the required paperwork to ship motors, that's the bottom line.

It's the same for FedEx and UPS, everyone want a piece of the action, charging high hazmat fees in outrageous, for what, just another way to bring in more revenue.

Was is it, years ago, the gold old days of the hobby, you could send motors through the mail, you didn't have to jump through hoops and everyone wasn't out to make a buck.

From my experience, the word ROCKET brings fear among those who need to be "educated", they think about Cape Kennedy and the satrun V, I guess.

I went to a council meeting years ago to secure a launch site at a ballfield, tow of the council memeberes was going to vote against it, saying, these (rockets) are dangerous, and, that they would have to supply police and fire members. At least the mayor saw it differently, and spoke up for the hobby and it was approved.

Right now, in my local town, to use the school field, you must submit a $1 million dollar policy for liability coverage. The problem being , everyone is law suit crazy.

Bottom line, you should send that to ebay and say, it wasn't model rocket motors that created 911, it was chemicals, that you allow to be sold freely on ebay.

I have yet to see any chemmical or fuse postings being pulled off of ebay.
OK, now I understand what you are saying (it clarifies your previous response for me). I agree 100% with what you said.

Wow, and here I thought that I was facing a bit too much post-9/11 overreaction; it was nothing compared to your experience. I got some attitude (a little grousing and a few perturbed looks), but that's all. Geez, no one has ever tried to take any legal action to bar me from doing any launching on public land!

The reactions that I got were actually related to my building (and discussing my plans to build) my rockets, which some people initially interpreted as having terrorist overtones. You just never know what will trigger alarmist reactions these days, I guess. (Forunately, that has quieted down now, but I wonder what will happen when I eventually start building big HPR rockets!) :rolleyes:

Mark

tbzep
02-09-2008, 09:46 AM
Why would 50 packages of motors sitting next to each other be inherently more dangerous than 20, or 5? It's not like they reach critical mass. Black powder model rocket motors don't spontaneously combust. Anything that causes the model rocket motors to catch fire will also set everything around them on fire. It's hard to imagine a fire of that type that would be OK except for the presence of model rocket motors. Perhaps USPS should extract an extra charge for ALL non-fireproof substances sent through the mail (like paper, cardboard, etc.)



What special handling is needed?



So far it's a lawsuit that's been waiting 50 years to happen.

Anybody care to relate an instance of model rocket motors catching fire in the mail?

The rules regarding model rocket motors and the mail are just plain goofy.

And the rules regarding APCP and the mail are even goofier still.

Intruder's just a kid. He doesn't have the whole picture.

moonzero2
02-09-2008, 06:02 PM
Today, it's all about money.........

Agree.

Gus
02-09-2008, 06:29 PM
Intruder's just a kid. He doesn't have the whole picture.
Understood.

But what's amazing is that so many adults hold similar views.

The basic equation seems to be:

Rocket Motors = Dangerous
More Rocket Motors = More Dangerous

A 16 year old can go to the local gas station with a jerry-can, fill it with gas, pay cash, and walk away without anyone wondering what nefarious , hideously dangerous, activity the youngster is up to.

But that same 16 year old can't buy a model rocket motor at Walmart.

Mark II
02-09-2008, 07:29 PM
From my experience, the word ROCKET brings fear among those who need to be "educated", they think about Cape Kennedy and the satrun V, I guess.

I went to a council meeting years ago to secure a launch site at a ballfield, tow of the council memeberes was going to vote against it, saying, these (rockets) are dangerous, and, that they would have to supply police and fire members. At least the mayor saw it differently, and spoke up for the hobby and it was approved.
(I know that I'm focusing on a side issue here that is not directly related to the current discussion. Please forgive me for the interruption.)

Right now, in my local town, to use the school field, you must submit a $1 million dollar policy for liability coverage. The problem being , everyone is law suit crazy.
True, but if you have a launch as an NAR event, aren't you covered? I have always wondered whether the NAR insurance policy extended to individual NAR members launching on their own on public land, or private land with permission of the owner. (And strictly adhering to the Model Rocket Safety Code, of course.) Wouldn't NAR's insurance policy cover you?

Again, please pardon the interruption.

Mark

Shreadvector
02-11-2008, 08:46 AM
(I know that I'm focusing on a side issue here that is not directly related to the current discussion. Please forgive me for the interruption.)


True, but if you have a launch as an NAR event, aren't you covered? I have always wondered whether the NAR insurance policy extended to individual NAR members launching on their own on public land, or private land with permission of the owner. (And strictly adhering to the Model Rocket Safety Code, of course.) Wouldn't NAR's insurance policy cover you?

Again, please pardon the interruption.

Mark

Perhaps he meant to say that they required a specially worded insurance certificate naming the school district as additionally insured? NAR sections can obtain these certificates for very little (something like $15). Individuals cannot obtain special certificates, but are personally insured providing they are obeying ALL laws and regulations (i.e. not tresspassing, obtaining necessary use permits and fire dept permits, proper power level for field size, etc.)

Rocket Doctor
02-11-2008, 09:14 AM
Perhaps he meant to say that they required a specially worded insurance certificate naming the school district as additionally insured? NAR sections can obtain these certificates for very little (something like $15). Individuals cannot obtain special certificates, but are personally insured providing they are obeying ALL laws and regulations (i.e. not tresspassing, obtaining necessary use permits and fire dept permits, proper power level for field size, etc.)

Right on Fred. The school district wanted a policy with their name on it,the only way to do that is to get a rider to a NAR section, specifically, naming the school district.

We have launched many times from this field, no problems, alsways cleaned up afterwards, the field was in better shape than when we started.

The problem being, it's an "atheletic field" and the emphasis is on sports, if you want to do anything else, they frown upon it.

Many years ago I offered to head a rocket club in the elementary school through the wood shop, flatly turned down, I was told that it would cost too much.

The biggest problem being, when they hear ROCKETS they have vision of Cape Kennedy, a Salturn V being launched and that is what they associate model rocket with.

It's all connected to educating those who don't have a clue. Something worhtwhile they don't like, anything questionable, they let fly.

I was told by the school administrator, "Model rocket are dangerous". My response to her was, a baseball bat could be dangerous, a bicycle could be dangerous so forth and so on. I stressed, if you follwo all the rules and regulations, they are completely SAFE. Then, the bottom line, you will need a million dollar insurance policy !!!