11:40 – I’m still working heads-down on the biology book, so I don’t have much to say.
One interesting thing. My editor, Brian Jepson, emailed me last night to say that O’Reilly/MAKE is getting ready to do a reprint of Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments and ask if there were any changes I wanted to make before the book went to reprint. Although this book is what’s called an “evergreen” title–in other words, one that sells consistently for years–in the course of our discussion, I mentioned that at some point I’d like to do a re-write of the book to convert it to microchemistry kit-based. Brian said that was worth discussing in more detail, and mentioned that this would probably be the last reprint of the chemistry book.
Not that the book is going away. The reprint they’re about to do will provide a six-month or year’s supply, during which O’Reilly/MAKE will be transitioning to print-on-demand for this and other titles. That means they’ll no longer have to print thousands of copies and stick them in a warehouse while they wait for orders. Instead, they’ll just print as many copies as they need whenever they need them. And that’ll also make it a lot easier to manage updates, since we’ll no longer have to worry about having thousands of unsold copies that an update obsoletes.
The other nice thing about POD is that it decreases risk in publishing new titles. For example, we finished the Illustrated Guide to Home Forensics Experiments a couple of years ago, but it’s never been published because doing so is very expensive. With POD, that expense is reduced. There’s still the cost for layout and production, of course, but there’s no longer the risk of printing 10,000 or 20,000 copies of a four-color book and then finding out that it doesn’t sell as well as hoped.