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Thread: KidPub Press Publishing

  1. #1
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    KidPub Press Publishing

    Okay, I just wandered across a mention of this online, and had to share. I am really, really uncertain of how I feel about this one. Link.

    It's basically a self-publishing venture for children and teens, and it looks like the packages start at about $250 dollars. Obviously, I'm sure this would be mommy putting out for it, and not little Billy.

    They seem pretty upfront about being a self-publisher, as in they don't really hide it, they admit to limited distribution, etc., but it still seems...well, kind of sleazy to me.

    I can understand how cool it would be for a ten year old to have a book, and I'm not dismissing that. I could see it being a beneficial boon to see something you worked hard in put into actual print so you can have a nice pretty copy. However, that could be done at Kinkos.

    This makes it sound like it's banking on the same dreams sold to adults, but aiming at children who aren't going to have the industry knowledge to know how this works. I'm concerned that children would think this is how all publishing works, or that a person serious about their writing might inadvertently screw up future career ambitions by choosing to self-publish works when younger, particularly teens who might be serious about finding publication.

    I don't really know enough to know if this is okay, not okay, or if they're doing a good thing or a bad thing. I just know that it set some alarm bells ringing, so I wanted to bring it over here and see what the more knowledgeable folk had to say.


  2. #2
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    This place? http://www.kidpub.com/

    The little red flags in my head come partly from this page on their site, which is headed "Ready To Be a Published Author?" and promises, basically, the same stuff PA promises (a "professional edit," a couple of press releases,) and you can buy books from them anytime at a discounted rate. They do say on their FAQ page that the "edit" is really just spellcheck/grammar check, so at least they're honest about it.

    But in addition to paying such a large amount to publish, you only get a 15-20% royalty. You pay them to publish your book, and then they keep 80% of the cover price?? No, sorry, I have an issue with that. Especially since the only marketing they do is listing the book on their site and on Amazon.


    I think if I wanted to do some self-publishing for my kids I'd go to Big Dif books, which we discussed here a while ago, and is basically the same thing (kid-friendly self-publishing).

    But Big Dif is free, for one thing, and their royalty rate is just over 50%. They don't pretend to be anything but a place to have fun and share your stories, unlike KidPub which appears to be trying to imply they're more pro than they are (press releases?) and are, lower down on that FAQ page, trotting out the "bookstore sales are bad for authors anyway because the royalty rate is so much lower and nobody wants to be in bookstores" fallacy.

    Big Dif's media contact or whatever person participated in their thread here in a very friendly, open, and professional way, and were very forthcoming and receptive to the thoughts/ideas of we AWers. So that would be the first place I'd go.

    Then I'd take that file to Lulu for print publishing.

    I'm not saying KidPub is a horrible place or a scam at all, I just think as with any other vanity press, why pay when you can do it for free. I certainly wouldn't pay $250 to get some books vanity published in that manner. JMO, of course.
    Last edited by Stacia Kane; 12-13-2010 at 07:01 AM.
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  3. #3
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    But in addition to paying such a large amount to publish, you only get a 15-20% royalty. You pay them to publish your book, and then they keep 80% of the cover price?? No, sorry, I have an issue with that. Especially since the only marketing they do is listing the book on their site and on Amazon.

    I'm the Publisher at KidPub Press, just wanted to add my voice to the conversation. No publisher keeps 80% of the cover price, whether they are a large house or small. When we sell a book to a retailer such as a bookstore, they require a 50% discount. Selling on Amazon is similar; they take around 35%. Print , paper, and binding costs typically run to 20%, and our authors receive 20% in royalty. That comes to between 75% and 90% of the retail price in direct costs. From that 20% or so left over I have to pay editors and designers, cover the cost of marketing, advertising, technology, and so on. Somewhere in there is a few percent left over for profit.

    I'm not complaining at all...I love the publishing business. I don't think that most folks understand the business model, though.

    KidPub Press is set up as a subsidy press, not a vanity press, and one of our major goals is to help kids experience the thrill of being published. We do take a fee for publication, which covers the cost of production. We do a light edit, design a cover, produce and print the book, send out press releases, market to bookstores (our books are available through Baker and Taylor), handle sales, and pay royalties. A vanity press prints your book in whatever form it is given to them in.

    Many of our authors sell only a handful of copies, but a few sell 100 or 200 copies or more. No matter how many they sell, the kids are like rock stars at school when they show up with their book and their friends see them in the news and on Amazon. It sets these kids on fire for writing and gives them a huge confidence boost that they will carry with them for a long time. I think that's really the business we're in.

    Perry Donham
    KidPub Press
    http://books.kidpub.com

  4. #4
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    From that 20% or so left over I have to pay editors...
    But your site specifically says that you do not edit:
    Q: Do you edit stories?
    A: No, we feel that changing a kid's story makes them feel that maybe their work isn't good enough for others to read. We like to let our authors be as creative with words as they want to be.
    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    ...and designers, cover the cost of marketing, advertising, technology, and so on. Somewhere in there is a few percent left over for profit.
    Then where does the initial $249.95 go? Plus the $12.95 per year that every author has to pay to belong to your group?

    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    I don't think that most folks understand the business model, though.
    Let me reassure you: the collective knowlege here at AW about the publishing industry and business models is very, very extensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    KidPub Press is set up as a subsidy press, not a vanity press
    For one thing, the vast majority of us are aware that subsidy press and vanity press are the same thing. The latter term is an honest description. The former is sugar-coating over the truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    We do take a fee for publication, which covers the cost of production.
    But upstream you said that the 20% of cover price that you took in profit was used to cover the cost of production.

    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    We do a light edit
    Not according to your website. See above.

    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    A vanity press prints your book in whatever form it is given to them in.
    Unless you pay them to do a light edit and design a cover. Which usually costs a few hundred dollars. Just like KidPubPress!

    Personally, I'm uncomfortable with parents "buying" self-confidence for their kids by purchasing what are essentially fake credentials. Parents could buy their kid a bowling trophy, or a diploma from a diploma mill, and the kid might believe it represents a real achievement and lord it over his classmates. But is this a good thing?

  5. #5
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    I'm the Publisher at KidPub Press, just wanted to add my voice to the conversation. No publisher keeps 80% of the cover price, whether they are a large house or small. When we sell a book to a retailer such as a bookstore, they require a 50% discount.
    Agreed. And distributors with full sales services are even worse: they expect anything up to 65% discount! But they do get your books into bookshops nationwide, and according to a report released last year by The Bookseller around 68% of sales are made in those bookshops, with more than half of the rest of sales--including online sales--dependent on prior selection in those physical bookshops.

    Selling on Amazon is similar; they take around 35%. Print , paper, and binding costs typically run to 20%, and our authors receive 20% in royalty. That comes to between 75% and 90% of the retail price in direct costs. From that 20% or so left over I have to pay editors and designers, cover the cost of marketing, advertising, technology, and so on. Somewhere in there is a few percent left over for profit.
    So far so good: I have a few quibbles with some of your figures, but not enough to bother with here.

    I'm not complaining at all...I love the publishing business. I don't think that most folks understand the business model, though.
    Don't worry: I do. I've worked in publishing for over a quarter of a century and am happy to fill in the missing bits for anyone here who doesn't understand.

    And while we're discussing the subject, what sort of experience do you have in publishing? How long have you worked in the business? Can you name a few agents or publishers where you honed your skills? Or perhaps tell us about a few books you brought to the market, and how well they did?

    KidPub Press is set up as a subsidy press, not a vanity press,
    BLEEP! Rhetoric alert! "Subsidy press" is a euphemism for "vanity press" and if you don't realise that, then there are probably all sorts of other things you don't realise about publishing too.

    and one of our major goals is to help kids experience the thrill of being published.
    The real thrill is in knowing your writing is being bought by readers because they love it; not in having your name included in a book which is bought by people (parents, family, friends) who want a copy because your name is in a book regardless of the quality or expense of the book itself.

    And before you argue: last academic year the school that my ten-year-old goes to self-published a book which was a great success: they'd previously got caught in a "we publish kids' stories" scam which sold them books at 18 per copy; their self-published version retailed at under 4 and was much better in quality and content. Oh, and yes: I helped them with that book and it's now a flagship project which several UK LEAs are using as an example to follow.

    We do take a fee for publication, which covers the cost of production.
    Then you're definitely a vanity press.

    We do a light edit, design a cover, produce and print the book, send out press releases, market to bookstores (our books are available through Baker and Taylor), handle sales, and pay royalties.
    I'm pretty sure that Baker and Taylor is a wholesaler, not a distributor. I'm sure someone else will come along and let us know for sure.

    A vanity press prints your book in whatever form it is given to them in.
    Not necessarily: some vanity presses edit the books they publish. A vanity press is a publisher which makes money by selling its books to its authors, rather than by selling its books to new readers. Who do you make most of your sales to?

    Many of our authors sell only a handful of copies, but a few sell 100 or 200 copies or more.
    That's horribly low. Even flops from trade publishers usually sell a few thousand; the book I worked on with my son's school sold over 500 copies despite there being fewer than 90 children in the yeargroup which put it together.

    No matter how many they sell, the kids are like rock stars at school when they show up with their book and their friends see them in the news and on Amazon.
    How many of the books you've "published" end up on the news? And how many of the parents of the kids involved end up out of pocket because of the fees they've paid you? They could do this via Lulu or similar at no cost at all: it seems to me that you're exploiting those parents in order to make money for yourself. I could be wrong, of course: and if I am, I'm sure you'll explain why. I'd love you to.

    It sets these kids on fire for writing and gives them a huge confidence boost that they will carry with them for a long time. I think that's really the business we're in.
    My eight-year-old neice had a poem published in a dodgy anthology last year. While the anthology did appear on Amazon not a single copy appeared on the shelves of her local book shop. Every day she had to walk past that book shop on her way home from school; every day she asked her mother if they could go in and see if the book was there yet. I'm friends with the owner of that bookshop and eventually I sent her a copy and asked her to put it on the shelves to coincide with my neice's walk home. Just so she could have that thrill. My friend did: she even tried to order three copies of the book. But the "publisher" concerned had such punitive sales conditions that she couldn't afford to.

    If I hadn't have sent that copy to my friend's book shop, my neice would have been horribly disappointed. Her confidence would have been shot dead. You have no idea how much it meant to her to see "her" book on the shelves; and how broken-hearted she was each day that she walked past that bookshop and couldn't see it there. I shouldn't have had to intervene; and most kids who have felt that same excitement don't have clever aunts with bookshop-owning friends who are willing to help them out.

    Perry Donham
    KidPub Press
    http://books.kidpub.com
    Perry Donham, I don't like the business you're in and don't see how it has anything to do with the publishing business I've worked in for so long. Do please explain to me how mistaken I am, and how you're not exploiting the children you publish. I'd love to hear your side.
    Last edited by Old Hack; 12-30-2010 at 01:14 AM.

  6. #6
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    [I]

    I'm the Publisher at KidPub Press, just wanted to add my voice to the conversation. No publisher keeps 80% of the cover price, whether they are a large house or small. When we sell a book to a retailer such as a bookstore, they require a 50% discount. Selling on Amazon is similar; they take around 35%. Print , paper, and binding costs typically run to 20%, and our authors receive 20% in royalty. That comes to between 75% and 90% of the retail price in direct costs. From that 20% or so left over I have to pay editors and designers, cover the cost of marketing, advertising, technology, and so on. Somewhere in there is a few percent left over for profit.
    Thanks, I do understand very well about bookstore/Amazon discounts (are your books returnable, btw?) When I said "they keep" I meant only that the author doesn't get the lion's share, not that it was all profit; it never occurred to me someone would think I was saying otherwise, to be honest.

    But I also understand that most publishers keep a larger share of the cover price because they've paid all of the costs of producing the book, from professional, thorough editing, to copyediting, to proofing, to cover artists who create a specific cover just for that book (which includes original art of photographs), to paying a sales team to actually hand-sell each book to stores, to possibly paying for co-opt placement in those stores, and then at the end the cost of laying out and printing the physical books and shipping them.

    I also understand that there is no bookseller discount on books sold directly from your site, but you're still only paying 15-20% to the authors. Most epublishers, for example, will pay a separate royalty for books sold from their site because that distribution cost isn't there, and they share that savings with the author. In fact I'm not aware of one who doesn't do that.

    And your authors have already covered all of the costs you mention above with their $250.00 fee, have they not? So if the cover price is what pays for covers/editors etc., perhaps you could clarify for us why you charge people $250.00? Your FAQ says you don't edit, so could you clarify what you pay editors for?

    What marketing do you do, exactly? I don't believe I've ever heard of you before this thread came up. Which of your titles have been carried in physical bookstores? Which have been carried in physical bookstores due to the efforts of your sales & marketing team, and not because the author or the author's parents begged the local bookstore manager to stick a copy on the shelf?

    I'm not sure what about your covers, which appear to be basic stock photo covers, requires a professional artist, but if you say it does I'll accept that. Even then it shouldn't cost that much. I know a few cover designers for commercial epublishers; shall I ask them how much they charge per cover?

    No one here will dispute that you have business costs, no matter what they may be. But commercial publishers cover those costs by selling books to the public, not by charging authors to produce the book, and then taking a large chunk of the cover price, also ostensibly to cover the cost of producing the book.



    I'm not complaining at all...I love the publishing business. I don't think that most folks understand the business model, though.

    I agree with you, there are very, very many people who don't understand the business model. It can be quite depressing. But we here on AW understand the business model very well, so while we appreciate your attempts to explain it to us, it's not necessary.



    KidPub Press is set up as a subsidy press, not a vanity press, and one of our major goals is to help kids experience the thrill of being published.
    "Subsidy" is simply a slightly less inflammatory way of saying "Vanity." You charge authors to publish their work; therefore you are a vanity press, period. This is basic publishing knowledge/terminology. Surely you know that?


    We do take a fee for publication, which covers the cost of production.
    Again, then, why are you saying you cover those costs from your share of the cover price?


    We do a light edit, design a cover, produce and print the book, send out press releases, market to bookstores (our books are available through Baker and Taylor), handle sales, and pay royalties.
    But your books are POD, correct? Which means the purchaser pays for the book's production/printing costs when they buy the book, and it isn't printed beforehand. So what production and printing costs do you have?

    Also, again, do you have your own sales team? What kind of marketing does B&T do on your behalf? Also, see my questions above re bookstore placement and returnability.


    A vanity press prints your book in whatever form it is given to them in.
    No, plenty of them do editing if the customer pays for it. Just like you do.

    Many of our authors sell only a handful of copies, but a few sell 100 or 200 copies or more. No matter how many they sell, the kids are like rock stars at school when they show up with their book and their friends see them in the news and on Amazon. It sets these kids on fire for writing and gives them a huge confidence boost that they will carry with them for a long time. I think that's really the business we're in.

    Perry Donham
    KidPub Press
    http://books.kidpub.com

    I'd like to repeat Old Hack's questions here. How many of your authors have actually been on the news? How many have sold enough copies to earn back their initial $250 investment? Of those, how much of that was due to your marketing efforts and how much was due to their own promotional work?

    Encouraging kids to write is a fantastic thing, I agree. My children have both told me that when they grow up they're going to write books, too, and I absolutely support that and do whatever I can to facilitate their skills in reading and writing.

    But if all they want is a book in their hands I can go to Lulu or CreateSpace and get one for a fraction of the cost; I have a little project on CreateSpace that I only have to charge $6.99 for, and I didn't pay a dime to set it up (and I keep a decent chunk of the profit above the actual printing costs, too). And if and when one of my girls wants to do something like that, and it's just for fun and not something to actually take to commercial publishing (which of course it most likely won't be, at least not until they're considerably older), I'd either do it myself or maybe go to someplace like Big Dif, and then make paperbacks at Lulu or CS, maybe set it up on Kindle for a 70% royalty. My little Kindle ebook (the same project as the Createspace book, actually; it's also on B&N's Nook)--a compilation of a blog series I did a few years ago on writing sex scenes--has sold steadily since I published it on Kindle back in July.


    I certainly appreciate you coming to answer our questions, and to revive this thread. Any bit of information you can give us would be fantastic; obviously, every word is helpful when it comes to making a decision as to whether or not to submit to your press.

    Have a wonderful new year!
    Last edited by Stacia Kane; 12-30-2010 at 03:10 AM. Reason: wrote months instead of weeks, duh!
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    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    one of our major goals is to help kids experience the thrill of being published.
    I'm uncertain as to how charging publishing fees and putting out an inferior book that has zero distribution helps kids feel the "thrill" of being published. Seems to me that you've found yourself a vulnerable profit center who will do anything to put a smile on their children's faces - and you're laughing yourself to the bank. Sorry, but I think this is sleazy and exploitative.

    And yes, I understand the publishing model VERY well.

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I agree with you, there are very, very many people who don't understand the business model. It can be quite depressing. But we here on AW understand the business model very well, so while we appreciate your attempts to explain it to us, it's not necessary.

    My mistake for reading your words literally. Best luck with your books.

    Perry Donham
    KidPub Press
    http://books.kidpub.com
    Last edited by KidPub.Press; 12-30-2010 at 05:45 AM.

  9. #9
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    I have to pay editors and designers, cover the cost of marketing, advertising, technology, and so on. Somewhere in there is a few percent left over for profit.
    I notice you don't mention typesetting. Are you going straight from a word processor to .pdf or postscript?

    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    I'm not complaining at all...I love the publishing business. I don't think that most folks understand the business model, though.
    I completely understand what a vanity press is, and the production and retail sides of commercial and academic publishing. I've worked as typesetter, editor, license officer, book seller, cataloger, and author.

    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    KidPub Press is set up as a subsidy press, not a vanity press, and one of our major goals is to help kids experience the thrill of being published.
    In that case why not follow the model of lulu.com or, better still, Big Dif Books?

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    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Why am I the only one who gets a response?


    Why does it seem like I'm always the only one who gets a response?
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    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    To be honest, Stacia, I'm guessing that it's because your avatar is A Real Book, by You. Therefore you are a Published Author. Therefore you're worth responding to.

    The others don't have their credentials so obviously displayed, and the Defensive Publishers don't bother following their links to find out that they're just as Real as you. (I'm discounting myself from amongst the posters here, since I neither have links nor Real Credentials.)
    Last edited by Unimportant; 12-30-2010 at 11:54 AM.

  12. #12
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    KidPub Press is set up as a subsidy press, not a vanity press....
    "Subsidy press" is what vanity presses call themselves when they're asking you for a date.


    Money flows toward the writer.

    The only place a writer signs a check is on the back.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by KidPub.Press View Post
    Many of our authors sell only a handful of copies, but a few sell 100 or 200 copies or more. No matter how many they sell, the kids are like rock stars at school when they show up with their book and their friends see them in the news and on Amazon. It sets these kids on fire for writing and gives them a huge confidence boost that they will carry with them for a long time. I think that's really the business we're in.
    I think a nicely printed and bound copy of a child's art and stories would make a lovely gift for grandparents, close friends and other relatives. But I would question why anyone would want to spend $250 for a handful of copies.

    I'm all for encouraging a child's love of the arts, but as Stacia noted above, there are cheaper ways to "set kids on fire for writing." *Shrugs.* As they say, "mileage may vary."


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    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
    I'm uncertain as to how charging publishing fees and putting out an inferior book that has zero distribution helps kids feel the "thrill" of being published. Seems to me that you've found yourself a vulnerable profit center who will do anything to put a smile on their children's faces - and you're laughing yourself to the bank. Sorry, but I think this is sleazy and exploitative.

    And yes, I understand the publishing model VERY well.
    Thanks for expressing my concerns better than I did. This is exactly the impression I had.


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    Being one of the Horror Hounds the phrase "set kids on fire for writing" left me with some significant psychological difficulties and one or two story ideas...



    Okay, I'm going now. You don't have to call the bouncers to throw me out...

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    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    How many of the books you've "published" end up on the news?
    Not necessarily "on the news," but I'm certain a good number wind up in the local newspaper.

    In the town where I live (an hour's drive from the nearest stop light), the winner of the Pinewood Derby gets a front page story with photo, and when the Church Ladies put out a cookbook printed at the copy center it's at least written up on the inside pages.

    So yes, a kid publishing a book, even a vanity book, would be in the paper. The adults who vanity publish their books certainly get mentioned.

    As it happens, I wrote my first novel when I was twelve. But I'd hate to have copies floating around where anyone could find it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    As it happens, I wrote my first novel when I was twelve. But I'd hate to have copies floating around where anyone could find it.
    Jim, hope you don't mind, but I put my copy of your first book on ebay. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
    Jim, hope you don't mind, but I put my copy of your first book on ebay. :-)
    And I'm bidding on it. :-)
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    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    It was Hardy Boys fanfic. And I might have been ten. Hysterical amnesia is a wonderful thing....

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    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

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