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RE: [Axiom-developer] Lulu publishing

From: Page, Bill
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] Lulu publishing
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004 20:13:05 -0500

On Monday, December 06, 2004 5:55 PM, C Y wrote:

> --- "Page, Bill" <address@hidden> wrote:
> > I would like to here more from subscribers to axiom-developer
> > about our current plans to publish a series of Axiom books
> > on Lulu. Tim Daly has setup the arch repository book--main--1
> > with 3 volumes:
> > 
> >  bookvol1 -- tutorial
> >  bookvol2 -- programming
> >  bookvol3 -- reference
> > 
> > Our goal is to get the Volume 1 out to press in Lulu as
> > soon as possible. 95% of this volume is complete, but it
> > would be great to have more proof reading and corrections
> > by other people.
> Dumb question from He Who Probably Missed the Email -

For Those-with-Quick-Deletekey-Finger there is always:

I am trying to keep this page reasonably up to date.

> is bookvol1 the current Axiom - the 30 year horizon book, or
> just some smaller part of it? (I assume from the page count it
> is just a part of it.)

Yes, it is a smaller part - just an "Introduction and getting
started" sort of book.

> If so, is there any chance that someday one large, massive book
> could be made available, for people like me who are likely to
> spend altogether too much time wondering "now where did volume
> two go?"

At Lulu there is apparently a current limit of 700 pages.

> > We were also hoping to include a CDrom with volume 1, but
> > we received a quotation from Lulu which calls for a minimum
> > publishing run of 100 copies at an up front cost of about
> > $1,200 USD for a 250 page volume including a CDrom. So far the
> > limited donations to the Axiom Foundation would not let us
> > seriously consider this option.
> Well, I guess the following might be my questions about something like
> this:
> a)  What is the cost per book without CD?

Without the CD, the book is printed purely on demand. The
cost is just the price set by us minus the paper cost and
royalty percentage.

With the CD the price is also set by us but there is a
minimum print run of 100 copies which means that we have
to pay up front to produce those copies, but that the
cost would be fully recovered *if* we actually sold that
many (or more) copies.

> (As a probably irrelevant side note, what would hardback
> cost? :-)

I did not ask specifically for a quotation but from the
info on the Lulu web site I would say that the "upfront"
costs for a minimum print run are about the same. There
is also an additional charge for the cover stock.

> b)  Given the program can be downloaded in any case (and
> most likely a more current version than that on a CD) how
> much will such a CD be used?

That is a good question. However I think there is still
some considerable resistance for people to download 50 Mb.
of software. Many would rather stick a CD into their

> c)  If people do desire CDs, what would be the cost of
> having some printed, with nice art etc., and selling
> those off the website? Mightn't that be cheaper, and
> ultimately about as effective?  If they're already willing
> to order the book online, one more form for the CD, which
> we can stick right next to the link for the book, won't
> be that much more trouble.  It would also allow people
> to get an "official" CD by itself if they so desire.

The problem as I see it is the actual distribution. Are
you volunteering to fill and ship the orders that are

> d) Thinking like a marketer for a second (ugh) who will
> be buying this book?  OK, us, but we have all probably
> downloaded Axiom a gazillion times anyway and are willing
> to compile our own cvs code.  Small market, no CD demand.
> General public?  Relatively unlikely.  
> Academics doing research will have access to fast internet,
> so they aren't likely to need a CD.  The one potential
> significant market I see (for some definition of significant)
> is going to be the previously mentioned use of the Axiom
> books as a course tool.  (Particularly the tutorial if the
> split is made.)  For such a case, presumable the school
> would make an order and some up front cash would be available
> to do the printing. Granted it might take several schools
> given the individual classes probably won't be that big,
> but there they have a captive audience to whom the content
> is relevant, and a CD is useful because the professor
> can then say "this course is based off the version of the
> program on the included CDROM."

I think that you should try thinking instead like an
institutional (e.g. university, government etc.) purchasing
department or book store. It seems to me that they very
much prefer to purchase a "packaged product".
> Anyway - the idea of a CD is neat, but unless we expect
> to be stocked in Barnes and Noble on the shelves I don't
> think we need to worry about it up front.  An "official"
> cd is a good idea (I think the FSF sells such CDs, actually)
> but I think at least initially we don't need to have it
> included in the book.

> Just my two (or three or four ;-) cents.

Thanks. Your comments are appreciated.

My point of view right now is that it would be very
convenient if the Axiom Foundation had a tangible "boxed
product" to sell. Many people are reluctant to just give
a donation - even to a obviously worthy cause - but they
are none the less willing to purchase something like a
book or a CD at a price that includes some margin that
supports the activities that produce those products. It
seems to me that Lulu is a convenient way to do this.

Some organizations even resort to selling things like
t-shirts and coffee mugs ... 

Bill Page.

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