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But Wait ... There's More!: Tighten Your Abs, Make Millions, and Learn How the $100 Billion Infomercial Industry Sold Us Everything But the Kitchen Sink Hardcover – March 24, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness (March 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006126055X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061260551
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this lively exposé, journalist Stern dissects the direct-response marketing business (which includes both infomercials and home shopping networks), a $300 billion industry, larger than the film, music and video game industries combined. There's guilty-pleasure revelations aplenty: how the traditional sales pitch adapted to a televisual format by, for example, real-time number tracking that allows network officials to tell on-air talent, through tiny earpieces, that, say, twirling a piece of jewelry around a finger causes sales to spike and how hosts persuade Americans to buy products like the Inside-the-Shell Electric Egg Scrambler, Power Scissors, the Miracle Broom and, of course, the most successful on-air product to date, the celebrity-driven skin-care regime Proactiv. There's psychology here, too: the author describes the mindset of the typical late-night tired consumer, falling for tricks they wouldn't necessarily fall for in a store. Stern is the perfect host to this slightly seedy world, well-informed and "transfixed by the zany nature of it all." (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“[An] entertaining portrait…Mr. Stern is at his best when he confronts the real stars here: the infomercials themselves…But Wait…There’s More! is well worth your time.” (Wall Street Journal)

“One of the most interesting industry portraits to come along in a while.” (USA Today)

“[An] intelligently composed exposé, an impressive work of contemporary history, full of wit.” (Dallas Morning News)

“[A] lively exposé. . . . Stern is the perfect host to this slightly seedy world, well-informed and ‘transfixed by the zany nature of it all.’” (Publishers Weekly)

“In his addictive take on the gimmickry that is direct-response TV, Remy Stern explains why we buy into products with false promises and celeb spokesmen with even falser tans.” (Advertising Age)

“A wholly fascinating account of a wholly fascinating industry.” (Robert B. Cialdini, bestselling author of Influence)

“Nothing is more joyously, or obnoxiously American than the infomercial. This is a book for everyone who is, or once was, a late-night TV junkie.” (Paco Underhill, author of the national bestseller Why We Buy)

“Act now and read this book. It slices and dices the world of infomercials-humorously detailing their meteoric rise as icons of Americana.” (Edward Ugel, author of Money for Nothing)

“I avoid late night TV like the plague-and Remy Stern explains why, wonderfully, in But Wait…There’s More!” (Michael Gross, author of Rogues' Gallery and 740 Park)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jasparaz on April 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read Steve Salerno's superb review of "But Wait" in the WSJ on March 25, instantly downloaded the book to my Kindle2, and dug in (after setting the font size much larger for my older eyes).

The author had me laughing many times, but, more seriously, there are countless tip and tricks revealed about the infomercial business and selling in general that make this a highly worthwhile read.

I also love talking with friends about the book because everyone knows or remembers the gadgets, get rich quick seminars, and celebrities who hawk pimple treatments and swamp land in Arkansas.

About a third of my way into "But Wait," I began having a strange fantasy: maybe we're all living inside one giant, massive informercial. After all, I bought my kindle2 based on the infomercials at amazon's website!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Meltzer on May 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was great. Written in a very engaging style. The chapter on how the infomercials are created is worth the price of the book all by itself. Parts of it were a little depressing though, such as how easy it is to sucker people who don't have money and the long list of dishonest people who have "gotten away with it", in that, even if they had to pay some fines, it was nothing compared to what they earned. A photo section would have been nice. Also, I would have been interested to know if there were or are ANY infomercials advertising products that really are truly innovative or useful. The author would have you believe that the answer is no, but I wonder...
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mediaman on November 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This poorly-written book is from a writer who thinks he's clever and above the material that he is writing about--but he fails to cover the subject adequately and does nothing more than put together a lengthy term paper on the subject of infomercials.

The author starts out talking about himself. He then writes more about himself and interjects himself throughout the book instead of focusing objectively on the subject. He looks down upon the infomercial form (implying that pretty much all of them are marketing bad junk to naive viewers) and manages to slam Dr. Phil and Donald Trump along the way (even though those two have nothing to do with the subject!). Namely, Remy Stern is an annoying know-it-all who knows little of which he writes.

He also doesn't have a clue how the FCC operates and appears to not know the difference between the rules for broadcast TV and the rules for cable TV.

There are stories and stats in the book about infomercial crooks that you could find on Wikipedia. It's virtually all rehash and nothing original. The author skips over a number of major names in the infomercial business and in the end he certainly has not told much of the infomercial industry story. This is a major failure.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charlie on May 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
About: Stern takes us a tour of the infomercial industry. The cast of characters includes legends like Tony Robbins, one of whose ads brought in $50,000 a minute, unsavory characters like Kevin Trudeau and his bogus "cures" and celebrities who seem to hawk most anything for a buck or to hold on to the last vestiges of fame. A glimpse behind the scenes gives us a look at the QVC "house" where they broadcast 24 hours a day. A few unsurprising "secrets" are revealed as well: The Magic Bullet has a $39.95 charge for shipping, the "other" knife is shown slicing an under ripe tomato while the infomercial knife cuts through an overripe one and don't be surprised if the product with a 30 day money back guarantee arrives on your doorstep on day 29.

Pros: Well-written, interesting look at the industry

Cons: While there is a references section in the back, there are no in-text citations.

Grade: B
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By DR. B VINE VOICE on April 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You do learn a fair amount of information from this book. My main reasons for giving it only two stars are, first, often the book seems to belabor a point or a person. Page after page are often devoted to one person while the point was made in the first couple pages. I had wished the author would have moved on to other examples and not be so repetitive like I just was. The whole first chapter is basically devoted to Ron Popiel (while a infomercial God, that's a lot) and I really don't care about his house too much or the houses other infomercial types own, I get it, many are rich. Often topics simply go on for too many pages with no other examples, I wish more topics or examples had been covered. Am I being repetitive?

Second, the book almost seems to be written for insiders. Its as if you are supposed to know who everyone in the industry is, where they live, what they sold and so on.

The book really only covers a few topics/products in depth (Proactiv, real estate scams and medicinal cures), in my humble opinion, to the detriment of the ability to cover more information. You wonder if the review from Publisher Weekly above really read the book, The In-The-Shell Electric Egg Scrambler, Power Scissors, the Miracle Broom, etc. mentioned in the review are mentioned in the book basically in one line just as examples.

There are some gems in this book and you may find it worthwhile, but be prepared to be saturated on some topics/people/scams.
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