BFI AUDIOBOOKS UPDATE
In our last issue, we talked about our new fundraising instrument we
now have, in the form of a distribution deal with BFI AudioBooks of
Stamford, who publish the works of new CCB member, Julian Padowicz.
Under the arrangement, we receive 50% of the selling price for every
audio book that we sell, and we've already earned some dollars as a
result of the catalog that we converted into Braille and distributed to
But selling to our own members is only part of the plan. Through our
various connections to the rest of North America's visually impaired
community, as well as the sighted world, we plan to market these audio
books throughout the US and Canada. But we need everybody's help. CCB
can only reach so many people, but you, our members, can reach so many
Your help will be a welcome contribution to our scholarship fund, but
to give you more to work for than our gratitude, we have instituted a
plan by which our members can earn points towards free audio books.
Here's how it will work. Each time someone places an order for one of
BFI's audio books, CCB receives its 50% of the selling price, and the
member responsible for the sale gets 15% of that same selling price as
a credit towards a free audio book. In other words, sell 7 audio books
and you get one free.
Catalogs, both in Braille and print, are available from Marcia
Dresser. Anyone can order an audio book from BFI AudioBooks by calling
(800) 260-7717 with a credit card number or by sending a check for the
selling price plus $3.50 shipping and handling, per order, plus 6%
sales tax if it's to be shipped within Connecticut. In addition, they
have to let BFI AudioBooks know which CCB member to credit with the
sale. BFI will keep track of the credit points.
As you know from our last issue, BFI is a very small publishing
company with very limited marketing capabilities. When they offered
this arrangement to CCB, it wasn't an act of charity, but a serious
business arrangement by which both parties hope to benefit.
Audio books are a great help to the visually impaired, but they are
also quickly gaining in popularity in the sighted world. People have
little time to read these days, and a lot of driving time is now also
listening time. The titles published by BFI AudioBooks are all
original, which means that they do not appear in print form. As a
result, they make excellent presents at holiday time. With Christmas
and Hanukkah not too far off, we suggest that you take a look at the
titles in the catalog, get some early holiday shopping out of the way
for yourself, and help some friends or relatives do theirs this easy
To make all this easier, we've asked Julian Padowicz, the author, to
select the title that he feels would be most suitable for holiday
giving and, in the following paragraphs, tell us a little more about
it. For this issue he has chosen "Cat Lovers Only." In subsequent
issues he will tell us about other of his titles.
* * *
"CAT LOVERS ONLY"
I decided to do an audio book about cats because I have always been
fascinated with why cats do what they do. When I get up in the morning
and find a dead mouse neatly deposited in the middle of the living room
or on our front steps, I can't help feeling that one of our cats is
trying to tell us something. "What they're doing," one friend
explained, after reading a book on the subject, "is trying to tell you
that you should go and catch your own mice instead of getting food out
of cans and plastic bags."
I went looking for the book she had recommended and discovered that
while it contained some interesting information, it was written by a
veterinarian who was not a good writer, and the book was not a lot of
fun to read. Checking the card index in the library, I discovered a
number of books on the subject of cat behavior and found interesting
cat information scattered through them, but not one that incorporated
all the facts that I felt were essential to educating a cat owner.
Obviously, there was a market for a new book.
One fact of great interest to me, for example, was that the
domestication of cats is very new in the annals of history. While
evidence of domesticated dogs, horses, and cattle goes way back in
recorded history, cats have only been domesticated for about 4,000
years, and originated in Egypt. Brought to Europe by traders, cats
soon came to be considered agents of the devil and wholesale executions
and torturing of cats took place during the Middle Ages. It was only
after someone discovered that as cats killed rats the Plague, which was
"plaguing" Europe seemed to diminish, that they began to be forgiven
for their sins.
I also learned that the widely documented ability of cats to find
their way home from great distances was due to their ability to sense
the earth's magnetic field. An experiment placed a cat in the middle
of a field with a magnet attached to its collar. The cat was totally
All this and a lot more went into my audio book. Because I do most of
my writing on a clipboard in my lap, while I sit in a comfortable arm
chair in the family room, I am usually accompanied by one of our cats,
the very shy Pywackett. Pywackett would prefer to sit on the clipboard
so that I would stroke her instead of making silly tracks on a piece of
paper, but she knows that she shouldn't. As a result, she sits either
on the back of my chair, looking over my shoulder, or beside me where
she will occasionally rub the side of her face against the corner of my
clipboard, causing me to make wild, meaningless lines across the paper.
What she is doing, I learned, is marking the clipboard as hers by
rubbing a scent gland in the side of her face against the board.
As a result of her great interest in the project, I gave Pywackett
"technical advisor" credit on the book. When I did not want to bother
with the politically correct, but awfully awkward, "he/she" when
referring to cats, I said that Pywackett had advised me that cats
didn't really care about things like that.
I tried to put into this book everything that I felt people should
know in order to understand and care for their cat better. Many of us
were brought up with dogs and switched to cats when we were no longer
in a position to walk a dog daily. But the cat is not just a smaller,
more self sufficient version of a dog. Because cats are genetically
programmed to be loners, while dogs are pack animals, with a cat you're
dealing with a totally different psychology as well as physiology. Did
you know that cats have no digestive mechanism for deriving
carbohydrates from vegetables and very little sense of temperature? (A
cat lying close to a fire can have his tail catch on fire and not know
it.) Did you know that a cat who wasn't taught by its mother to kill
and eat mice in the first weeks of life will not learn it in adulthood,
no matter how hungry he gets? Or that a kitten introduced to a tame
mouse, before the age of 6 weeks, will consider mice her friends for
the rest of her life?
All of this information I dedicated to my wife Donna, with
acknowledgments to my allergist. When Donna and I began courting
twelve years ago, she lived with three cats and I with a potentially
life-threatening allergy to cats. Frankly, it was my love for Donna,
more than my love for cats, that sent me to my allergist for shots
which I still have to take every four weeks.
"Cat Lovers Only" got some wonderful reviews. Cat Fancy magazine
calls it "a wise, caring and personal look at feline nature through the
eyes of a perceptive and philosophical observer." I think it makes a
wonderful holiday gift for any cat loving household. It runs 2 hours
and costs $14.95.
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