You make some good points here and I hope you do not mind if I address a few of them.
Eric Schrader wrote:
I've seen people recommending this book on other forums and to friends at club meetings. For me, I can't get past the fact that I would be paying to read the same thing I have already paid to read in a different form. None of this information is new, and the fact that they included a few new photos and galleries, all of which have most likely appeared in one or another BT, does not persuade me either.
I thought the same way when I first received this book but my mind was quickly changed for a number of reasons, the first being that every article is not an exact reprint at all. The articles have been re-written and edited to a great extent. The older issues of BT used very poor translations from the original language which made them very hard to read and understand. This book is very easy to read and understand now and there was a lot of research done, and as a result, there is a good deal of new information in each article.
I have almost every issue of BT myself and besides the fact that the book contains re-written and more legible articles, it is worth the asking price alone for having all the articles grouped into one source which is far easier to use as a reference than trying to find the articles separately in a hundred issues.
Eric Schrader wrote:
Black Pine culture is different in the US than in Japan, the tree is not as well adapted to weather in many parts of our country. If you take the seedling articles that appeared in BT#12 and #20 and try to follow them to the letter you will find yourself falling behind almost immediately. Is this because nobody can follow the instructions? No, it's because the tree doesn't grow as well in our climate. This applies to all the articles in this book. Not only that, there are no wild JB pines to be collected in the US, so it will be a hundred years or more before anyone has trees of comparable quality to the ones that appear in the galleries.
This is of course true in the broad sense you mentioned but also in a more narrow sense of micro climates and even the climate differences here in the U.S. For example Black Pine Care in the Pacific Northwest differs greatly from that here in Michigan. Southern Michigan Black Pine Care differs greatly from that In the northern part of the state as well.
The experienced person can adjust the techniques and the timing thereof to their own climate, the inexperienced at least gets a nice reference book of the techniques if not the timing of such. Short of having a book that contains 60 or so articles on the same subject but all geared toward one climate each......I see no alternative.
Eric Schrader wrote:
What we need in this country (Pardon, I'm in the US) is a publisher and writers that make original content. Bonai Europe makes original content, BT makes some, but for the most part simply translates Japanese articles. Look at the travel logs that Walter Pall is posting to various forums; there is enough bonsai going on in the US to make a magazine that is really from the US, not just a transplanted one. It could instruct people on how to cultivate ponderosa or lodgepole pine, so that the level of bonsai in the US could be elevated to an equal or higher level with Europe and Japan.
We do need more of it, I agree. However, this can not be blamed so much on the publishers, they are more than willing to publish articles from artists in the U.S., the problem is that artists in the U.S. are not submitting articles. I know this first hand as I have had articles published in Bonsai Today, the ABS Journal, and many newsletters and have seen that the publishers are incredibly thankful and appreciative. They also all had the same thing to say about acquiring content, they have a very difficult time getting bonsaists in this country to submit anything.
As an administrator here at AoB, I can also attest to this, we have an open door for article and gallery submissions and yet the majority of submissions are from other countries. So the imbalance you mention is not the fault of the publishers but instead the fault of bonsaist. AoB is an international forum, so this imbalance does not bother anyone here, however, the U.S. publishers have two choices, print all the quality articles that are submitted, or publish a magazine with few if any local submissions.
Again, these U.S. Publishers would love to concentrate on the American scene, however, the bonsaists themselves need to take a stand and submit the articles, the pictures, the galleries.
It reminds me of the guy who always complained about not winning the lottery but never once bought a ticket. I am a firm believer that if we want to see more information on the American scene, we need to start creating it.