Monday, 30 January 2012

By on January 30th, 2012 in science kits, writing

10:28 – The book is complete and off to the editors. For the next few weeks, I’ll be working with the editors and layout/design folks, answering queries, incorporating edits, and otherwise cleaning up before the book actually goes to print. I also have some book-related stuff to do. For example, we included a link to a biology landing page on website, which has to be created, along with all of the pages that it links to.

Starting today, I’m going through the manuscript. Each lab session has a list of items required, separated into groups of those included in the kit and those the reader supplies. I have to consolidate those lists so that I can come up with a final BoM for the kits. I’ll also consolidate the user-supplied item lists so that readers will have a single list of items they’ll need to acquire.

I’d thought about including a basic set of ten or so prepared slides as a standard part of the kits. I decided against that, mainly because some readers may already have prepared slide sets, and it makes no sense to duplicate. Instead, I’ll do what I originally planned, and make a core slide set an optional item, or indeed possibly a separate SKU. The slide set may or may not be available initially with the kits. Obviously, there are many sources for prepared slides.

The other reason I need to get the kit BoM finalized is so that I can do some price and cost calculations. At this point, I don’t have a firm idea how much the kits will cost to build or how much we’ll need to charge for them. My original goal was $175 or less with shipping but not including prepared slides, and I’d like to keep it to $160 or less if possible. There are many variables to consider, not least the physical size of the kit. If it’ll all fit into a USPS Priority Mail large flat-rate box, for example, I know my shipping costs will be about $15 per kit, regardless of weight or distance. If it won’t fit, I’ll have to buy regular boxes at maybe a buck or so each delivered and pay PM weight/distance rates, which’ll vary according to how much the kit ends up weighing and how far it’s going. In that case, assuming the kit weighs 10 pounds, my average shipping cost is going to be a good bit higher. I could use parcel post, which would cut the shipping cost significantly, but at the expense of typical 7 to 10 business day delivery time rather than the 1 to 3 days with PM. I suspect most kit buyers aren’t going to want to wait.