I want to let you know about some changes coming soon to the website. The most significant one is to the OST Store, which will be known as the OST Publications Bookstore from now on.

I’ve been using a program called osCommerce for the exsisting store. osCommerce is an open source e-commerce platform and while the store has worked well, I haven’t be thrilled with how it looks. To my eyes, the storefront seems cluttered with all those columns and small thumbnail images. I can modify the design somewhat, but without coding skills, I’m limited in what I can do with it. After a lot of debate with myself, it’s time for some remodeling of the store.

OST Publications Bookstore

Print and Ebooks for the love of trains, model making and craft.

Detailing Track

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This book covers the process of handlaying model track using examples from my quarter-inch scale layout. You will learn how to model the details and weathering of full-size track along with the rest of the right-of-way. The techniques and understanding in this book apply to any scale and brand of track.

Diesel Locomotive Modeling Techniques

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Tony Sissons outlines his process for turning a garden variety model into a show-stopper. You will learn how to evaluate a project and how to modify and scratch build the details you need. There is also extensive coverage of his weathering process. These techniques are applicable to any model in any scale.

Privacy Policy
OST Publications does not sell, share or rent your personal information to any other party. I don’t like it when companies do that with mine and I simply refuse to do it. Period.

Problems With An Order
I understand that things happen. Downloads may fail, your drive may crash, or a book may arrive damaged from the mail. Just let me know via email or the Get In Touch menu tab of any problems that occur with your order and we will work together to fix it.

Terms of Use
I run this business from a foundation of trust and hope you’ll give me the same benefit of belief. If everyone is cool with this, then we’re good to go. Thanks for visiting.
Mike Cougill -OST Publications

The sample above  is how the new bookstore page will look. All the titles will be on a single page until the list grows too long for convenient scrolling. (there are new titles in the works). Each book description is easier to read and the Add To Cart button will be right there. Clicking on it will take you to a shopping cart page that shows the contents of your cart. From there you can continue shopping or go to the checkout page to complete the order.

I chose a different, secure and PCI compliant shopping cart system called Cart66, that integrates seamlessly into WordPress and brings a cohesive look to the site. The shopping cart and checkout pages look like the rest of the site but are hosted on Cart66’s secure, PCI compliant servers to protect your sensitive personal information. You’ll see the padlock icon in the browser window when you’re on these pages.

The new cart system offers me greater flexibility in providing you a better experience with the store. As before you will receive an email receipt for your purchase that includes any relevant download links for ebooks. This receipt is much cleaner and easier to understand than the old form. In the past, some folks had trouble understanding how to download their books and the new receipt makes those links very simple and plain to see. You will be able to download purchased ebooks an unlimited number of times using this receipt. This way, if your drive crashes or you change computers, you can retrieve your ebooks simply and quickly. I suggest saving or archiving this email receipt in a safe folder. For print book orders you will also receive an email confirming the order has shipped.

A Word About Shipping
I know shipping cost are burdensome and, for some, they are a deal breaker. I get it. I wish that I could offer free shipping or a flat rate but I just can’t at this time. I use USPS Priority mail to send books, so that you receive them in a timely manner. The print books are too big for the least expensive size of Flat Rate envelopes and in the past, some have suffered badly at the hands of the mail service. I pack them well with a backing board and bubble wrap and use a padded shipping envelope. Shipping costs are set up in the new cart according to the region of the country the order is going to and are automatically included in the total. These are the actual costs to send packages to various regions of the country. I’d rather be upfront with customers and loose a few sales, than try to bury or hide costs. Postage is something I’m always looking at for alternatives, without sacrificing quality service.

Your First Visit To The New Cart
You will have to enter your name, address and card information again, since your account from the old store will not work with the new one. I know that’s an inconvenience and I apologize for that. You will have the option to create a new password protected account if you want to and I recommend doing this, as it will save you the headache of having to enter your customer details from scratch every time you shop. You can save that info in the cart and on future visits should be able to fill out the forms with a couple of simple clicks after logging in to your account. I ran numerous test orders while setting up the cart and believe me, filling out those name and address forms over and over gets old really fast. As before, you can use your credit card or you now have the option to use PayPal Express if you prefer to.

Why Do This?
My objective for the redesign is to give you a better, seamless and simpler experience on the site. As with anything new, there is bound to be a hidden glitch or two. I am thoroughly testing things to the best of my ability and understanding before going live with the cart. That said however, when the new store opens if you experience a problem or are confused about something, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and let me know. I hope to open the new system to live orders before the end of the March. When I’m ready for live orders, I will link the new page to the site menu. Until then the existing store is still open and active.

All of the current titles will be available in the new bookstore except for the Modern Freight Car ebook. It never generated the volume of sales I thought it would and I’ve discontinued it. I’ve also set up a couple of new bundles that have been requested.  Lastly, I will also mention that the inventory for Detailing Track now has less than 300 copies left. Published in 2011, this book needs a serious update and that will take time to do. I will likely offer a digital version in the future.

And next time, I’ll get back to a modeling topic.

Regards,
Mike

7 Comments

  1. Craig Townsend

    Mike,
    Have you looked at USPS media mail rates? Granted media mail is way to slow for most people but its an option for cheaper shipping for books. I think media mail says up to 6 weeks, but all the textbooks and other stuff I ordered in college came in 1-2 weeks.

  2. Rhett Graves

    The Modern Freight Car ebook was a planned purchase for me. Any chance of getting that one before it’s discontinued?

  3. mike

    Hi Craig,

    I will look into it. I never offered that rate because I assumed people wouldn’t have the patience for a long delivery time. But I will check it out and get back with you here in the comments.

  4. mike

    Sure Rhett,

    It’s still in the old store and will be there until I switch to the new system. Truth is there’s no reason I couldn’t include it in the new store but it just hasn’t sold well at all. People can simply go down to the tracks and photograph modern equipment for now.

  5. Bill

    I buy a lot of books which are sent by USPS media mail. I usually get them within a week even from across the country. I’ve never received damaged books if properly packed. You might offer that rate as an option.

  6. mike

    Thank you Bill. I am looking into it.

    Regards,
    Mike

  7. mike

    Craig and Bill,

    I wanted to get back to you guys with an update. I’m not able to offer media mail but am now offering Flat Rate Priority rates to all fifty states. International orders have to go First Class International.