Via Lee Goldberg--multi-level marketing scheme Bookwise, which I blogged about in 2006, is no more. BookWise applied the Amway principle to bookselling, encouraging its Associates not just to sell the books they bought from the company, but to sign up other Associates and receive a percentage of their income.
An announcement on the BookWise website says only that "BookWise & Company has merged with iLearningGlobal and is no longer in business." iLearningGlobal, according to its website (which doesn't mention BookWise or the merger), is a "mentoring community" that "has brought together the top trainers and speakers in all areas of self development, personal improvement, business training, life skills, tax and financial strategies, and much more."
If you're puzzled by exactly how iLearningGlobal, with its focus on audio, video, e-books, webcasts, and other aural and visual media, dovetails with BookWise, a MLM scheme focusing on printed books, don't fret--you just need to look a little deeper. Like BookWise, iLearningGlobal is an MLM scheme, founded by MLM guru Brian Tracy. Over August and September 2008, BookWise Associates have been transforming themselves into iLearningGlobal Marketers. For instance, this happy former BookWise Associate. And this one. And here's an example of the iLearningGlobal sales pitch from yet another one.
In my original post on BookWise, I got some flack from BookWise loyalists for saying this:
"Despite BookWise's noble mission statement (The Mission of BookWise & Company is to increase literacy, reading and access to great books through neighbor-to-neighbor book selling. We champion the spirit of the corner bookstore and embrace the values of the independent bookseller with a passion for great literature and the personal connection with friends who love to read), it's not hard to see that the main incentive for those who join the club won't be books, but the promise of cash. That's the lure of multilevel marketing schemes: not the product, but the scheme itself, and the opportunity to sell it to others."
Gee. Ya think?
Not all of BookWise is gone. In early 2008, it branched out into vanity publishing with WriteWise, an expensive ($6,995) publishing and "mentoring" program that paid fat commissions to BookWise Associates who got writers to sign up. WriteWise appears to have survived the merger.
Just for kicks, I took advantage of the free download offered on the WriteWise website: 5 Secrets Every Author Needs to Know. I mean, I've published a few books, right? But being an author is a lifetime learning experience, and I could always use a few pointers. There are indeed five secrets, each one of which includes the words "make millions" or "make money." (For instance, Secret #5: "Hire Someone to Write Your Information Product, so You Make Millions." Gosh, I wish I'd thought of that.) The article, authored by Richard G. Allen (a former BookWise board member) finishes with a pitch for WriteWise:
If YES is your final answer to these three simple questions, then you have pre-qualified yourself for accepting my offer and joining WriteWise--destined to be rewarded with:
- A bestselling book.
- Millions of dollars.
- Many friends and followers (those with whom you share your information).
- A life you love each and every day.
- A world made better because of you.
I am giving you the most effective way from just wanting to be an Information Millionaire to Being One!
Ugh. I've got to go take a shower now.