10:41 – All of the chapters are complete and off to the editors except the Introduction, which is in progress now. This weekend, we need to shoot some images to replace placeholders in the text. We also need to build the gel electrophoresis apparatus and run a gel or two.
Monday, I start going through the manuscript chapters to build a list of what’s to be included in the biology kit, including amounts. Once I have that, I can start generating purchase orders for the materials and start actually making up chemicals, printing labels, filling and labeling bottles, and so on.
I’ve also decided to offer two options with the biology kit. First, a simple hand microtome. Second, a core set of maybe 20 to 25 prepared microscope slides. For those, I’ll focus on slides that are particularly important, hard to find elsewhere (particularly in standard sets), and difficult to prepare yourself (sections, special staining, and so on rather than simple whole mounts of common things). I’ll also focus on double- and triple-purpose slides. For example, a lot of slide sets include cross-sections of monocot and dicot roots, stems, and leaves, along with slides showing skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscle. That’s nine separate slides, but I can do the same thing with only four slides: monocot and dicot roots on one slide, monocot and dicot stems on one slide, monocot and dicot leaves on one slide, and three types of muscle on one slide. The individual combined slides are usually a bit more expensive than single-specimen slides, but nowhere near twice as much.
One of the wholesalers I’ll probably buy some of those slides from packages them in boxes of 50 of the same slide, so I’ll put 50 sets together initially. I have no idea what percentage of people who order the biology kit will want the optional prepared slides, but I suspect 50 slide sets will suffice for the first 60 kits, if not many more. Delivery time on the slides is typically 60 days ARO, so we may have some juggling to do. That delivery time means I also need to get the slides on order no later than mid-February if I want to have them available by mid- to late April.