Tag Archives: hard-copy books

This, That, & Publishing

Busy day coming up, but wanted to post a couple of updates:

The plan to publish a hard-copy version of the first Fire-Rider collection (books I-VI) developed into a more complicated project than expected. To make a long and exceptionally frustrating story short, the Wyrd template I used to lay out the pages corrupted — or else it’s PDF, which is unknown. It took quite a while to identify the problem, and once the problem was discovered, the solution required rebuilding a 371-page document from scratch.

Once that was done, though, the PDF and the cover loaded fine, I think. LOL! We’ll find out soon enough: when the page proofs get here, we can actually put our hot little hands on them. That should allow us to see any problems and fix.

The final cover came out reasonably well, I think.

FR Hard Copy 1 Take 3 LoRes. jpg

I cut the back cover blurb considerably; added a short pull-out (the italic passage). Instead of arranging the titles of books 1 thru 6 in a vertical list on the front cover, I set them horizontally, separated by bullets. They seem less distracting that way, yet they’re readable.

This book will not be sold on Amazon (at least, I have no plans to do so at this time). I’m having it printed to produce something to take to a shindig next month, where we’ll be invited to present our works.

However, if you would like a copy, I’d be happy to sell it from this site. Just leave a query as a comment to this post. It was expensive to produce — the page proofs, which are printed and bound like a final copy — came to over $11. So I’m afraid that retail price is going to have to be a little more than $11.99. However, JUST FOR YOU, and just for a limited period, I’ll offer it at that price through this website.

In the Racy Books for Racy Readers department, we’ll also have a hard-copy collection of the Family stories:

FAMILY pkg cover LoRes

This one is at the printer, too, for production of a proof. LOL! The book actually contains eight stories…that will have to be corrected on the back cover. And there, my children, is why we have page proofs! As you can see, I haven’t even placed a bar code on it, so little do I have any intention of peddling it on Amazon. Or in hard copy at all.

The final version of this one, which also will go to the December chivaree with me, probably will have the author’s byline centered above the title, with the words Eight and Stories shifted rightward accordingly. And I think I’ll put the imprint’s name — Camptown Races Press — in small type at the lower margin of the back cover, since I’m less than 100% thrilled with the logo I came up with.

At any rate, soon the book will exist. It’ll be a COLLECTOR’S ITEM, by golly! What a Christmas present!

If you’d like a copy of it, let me know — again, contact me through the comments section to this post. Printing cost for this was a little more sane. I think I can afford to sell it for about $10, providing about $2 profit.

So, come one, come all! The first Fire-Rider collection, $11.99 (a give-away!) and the first Racy Books collection, $10.

Textbook Publishers: Killing the Golden Goose?

About the only segment of print publishing that’s still consistently profitable these days is textbooks. However, it appears that the publishing industry is effectively shooting itself in the proverbial foot. Soon that juicy source of revenue is going to dry up.

Over at Heavenly Gardens Community College, we’re planning to stop requiring our magazine-writing students to buy a textbook. Instead, we’ll replace the text content with links to websites that offer the same information for free.

Meanwhile, I signed up for a program that will allow me to rewrite my composition section using an elaborate online educational resource, one of whose segments contains a comprehensive library of writing instruction. Don’t know if the students have to pay to get into that, but I suspect it will be provided with the course for the cost of tuition. Or for not much more than that.

The feature-writing text costs $62 plus shipping if you buy it at Amazon; $59 in a Kindle version. I’m sorry, but that thing is not worth sixty-two bucks! It’s a $25 paperback.

The comp text is A HUNDRED AND TWENTY DOLLARS new. Can you imagine? The thing contains nothing more than the usual freshman-comp litany, some sample essays from various newspapers and magazines, and a few decorative photos. It is certainly not worth $120, or $67 used. It’s a horrible rip-off!

The reason textbook publishers get away with this is obvious: a captive audience. To succeed in most courses, students pretty much have to buy the textbook. Prices are kept high by churning out repeated “new” editions — our comp text is now in its 11th(!) edition; the only changes made were to the selections of sample essays. This gets around the problem of reselling, which takes money out of publishers’ and authors’ pockets. When retailer resells a textbook, no revenues are remitted to the publisher.

Faculty as well as students have had a bellyful of that kind of exploitation. So schools are moving away from print texts to digital media.

Personally, I’m not pleased at the prospect of having to spend the summer — for free — rewriting two courses to fit online sources. This will take many, many hours, and all of those hours will be unpaid. But from an altruistic point of view, it will be worth the effort. Students are saddled with enough tuition debt without having to mortgage their firstborn sons and daughters to buy the textbooks.

But it won’t last, you know. Just imagine the dollars to be made by mounting textbook content online, in smorgasbord fashion, and charging users for access! Eventually I imagine the cost will rise right back up to where textbooks are now. But for the time being, maybe we can faze at least one cohort of students past the Scylla of Greed and the Charybdis of Exploitation.