Day: October 4, 2011

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

08:25 – Barbara had another scare last night, when her sister called to tell her that she was taking their mom to the emergency room. She’d hurt her leg that afternoon while volunteering at the hospital, and of course at her age there’s always concern about broken bones. All turned out happily, though. Barbara’s mom had only sprained her knee. The emergency room docs put a brace on it and allowed her to return home.

I got email last night from my editor, Brian Jepson, with great news. O’Reilly has decided to do the biology book in four-color. Every book has a budget, based on expected production costs and projected sales. The only way Brian had been able to get this book approved originally was to put tight limits on page count (extra pages cost money) and printing costs (four-color costs a lot more money). So we went into the project with a strict page-count limit and a center section of full-color plates. Before long, I asked Brian if I could trade the color section for more page count, to which he agreed. I really didn’t want to give up color images completely, but I really needed the extra page count.

But apparently the cost of four-color printing has come down somewhat, and Brian said that when he was discussing things with his colleagues they commented that it makes no sense to do a biology lab book with monochrome images. I suspect the sales history of the chemistry lab book also might have had something to do with it. That book is what publishers call an “evergreen” title. That is, it continues selling steadily for many years. That’s in stark contrast to most titles, which sell 90% or even 99% of their total lifetime sales within a few months of publication. The biology lab book should have a similar sales trajectory to the chemistry lab book

10:15 – I just checked my Netflix disc queue and found that there isn’t much disc-only material that we care about. When I upgraded a couple weeks ago from streaming + one-disc to streaming + two-disc, our disc queue was jammed with 30 or 40 discs that we wanted, most of which are series that Barbara likes and that were initially disc-only. Several of those quickly changed to add streaming, including the most recent seasons available of Army Wives, Brothers & Sisters, and Grey’s Anatomy. As soon as that happened, I pulled them from our disc queue and added them to our instant queue. So we’ve gone from 30 or 40 discs we want down to four Sons of Anarchy S3 discs and a handful of others.

Meanwhile our instant queue now totals 94 items, including a dozen or more series that between them total hundreds of episodes. We are not, to put it mildly, short of things to watch, even without discs, particularly since Netflix is adding more streaming titles every day. Our anniversary date is the 26th of the month, so in three weeks I’m going to downgrade our plan to the $8/month streaming only option. We’ll do without discs for the next few months while we catch up on streaming material, if we ever do. Once there are a reasonable number of disc-only titles we want, I’ll bump it back up to include discs for a month or three and then drop back to streaming-only.

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