You make an excellent point regarding raising prices. Having been an MBS Board member for a few years now, I can assure you the Board is very interested in the concerns of the membership. Everything costs so much more in every way. Mailings to the entire MBS international membership costs several hundred dollars depending on what we are trying to send. The price of our communication products, the Newsletter, web site, catalog, Yearbook, MBS publication miniature - all cost money. The dues don't go very far. Being a Society that is literally spread across the world makes it such a challenge to do any kind of project. The sheer distance between all of us, no central office for administration, all makes for expense.
We have tried all kinds of things to keep the costs lower. Individual donations paid for much of the new Traveling Exhibit. As the Competition and Catalog Chair, I have a production team for the catalog who EACH YEAR volunteers a minimum of 200 hours FOR FREE to administer the competition, photograph and color correct all the entries, write the copy, proofread, design and layout the copy. Phil Morrison does the same for the yearbook and Paul Devenyi for the newsletter. Jill Timm just spent who knows how many hours FOR FREE redesigning the web site for members to use . Last fall, I sent the packages for non-US members of catalogs and MBS publications to Angelika Jaeck . She kindly helped and sent them out and saved much money in mailing costs. We combine mailings. We raise money by trying to sell extra catalogs and publications. Eileen Cummings spends hours and hours sending out those that you buy. The Conclave hosts spend countless hours of their time trying to make a good event for members. And on and on. The point is that it costs money, like it or not, to keep the Society going.
Conclaves need to occur where there is an easily accessed airport which generally means a major city and that means more expense. I wondered about having a Conclave in a rural conference center or retreat center where we might be able to recreate that first Conclave at Miriam Irwin's farm. If anyone knows of an affordable such place that is close to a major airport, please email me.
One last point: there are many folks in MBS who perform thousands of hours of volunteer work for not a dime, just for the love of miniature books. If they didn't, we certainly wouldn't even have a MIniature Book Society and you wouldn't have the good benefits you enjoy.
If you have strong opinions about reducing costs, please, please, GET INVOLVED. Give us your ideas so we can try and make them realities. Use this forum to send do-able ideas. We'll listen. We want MBS to continue, to thrive and to serve all of its members.
Board of Governors, Member-at-large