Log in

No account? Create an account
Kakuro Book getting pricey - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
January 18th, 2008
09:21 am


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Kakuro Book getting pricey
If you've been reading for the past few months (Does that cover everyone? Are there any random folks who have just arrived? Anyone?) you'll recall that I pulled together a bunch of cross sums puzzles into the size and shape of a book:

In fact, there were two bindings - spiral binding and perfect binding. The spiral binding was by far the favorite, which totally makes sense; being able to do puzzles without having to fight with the binding is the better experience.

However, in the interests of seeing where this project might go, there's an opportunity to get an ISBN, which opens the doors for all sorts of additional attention - Google Book Search only cares about books with ISBNs, and many of your popular bookstores (click or brick) have a similar requirement.

I had been planning to save the proceeds of the book until I could afford the ISBN price strictly from the book income, but I got impatient, so I funded it out of "real" money. It's not a lot, and I've spent more money in the past month on game controllers.

I went through the process to update my book with the ISBN, and I'm finding the Lulu.com layout cumbersome. A friend just mentioned a new website, http://www.createspace.com/ which I might check out for my word sudoku book.

The thing I meant to talk about when I started this post is that now that I'm reaching further into the retail chain, there are more steps between me and the consumer, which means more mouths to feed, which means a higher price. In the abstract, I'm OK with that - I'm getting a wider audience without a lot more work on my part, and presumably some of these avenues will keep a few on a shelf, so you can get a copy without waiting a week (the horrors!). However, the retail price seems a lot higher than I would have expected - adding more than 60% over the print-on-demand price.

The good news, though, is that the spiral binding is unacceptable to the ISBN process (?!), so the higher price only applies to the perfect-bound version of the book. So, fans of the spiral bound edition will still be able to get copies of it that way at the same price as ever. Also, the downloadable version seems like it's working (finally), so if you wanted a version that didn't kill trees, that's an avenue that's open.

I will, of course, provide a link to Amazon if and when I get listed there.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:January 18th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder. I'd planned to buy a copy for me and one for my aunt, and then she was killed and everything went to hell for a while, and I completely forgot. I've got my copy ordered now. :)
[User Picture]
Date:January 18th, 2008 07:26 pm (UTC)
I'm keeping my eyes open for ways to offer "friends pricing" - that might be an option that's open (and much more useful) once I hit Amazon et al.

Perhaps this weekend, I'll get back to my Word Sudoku book and make a second draft based on people's feedback so far.
[User Picture]
Date:January 19th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)

Being picky? Obnoxious? I'm not sure.

Also, the downloadable version seems like it's working (finally), so if you wanted a version that didn't kill trees, that's an avenue that's open.

Unless the downloader can do a Kakuro in her/his head, I'm afraid the trees will die sooner or later.

Now if you had an interactive version, that would save the trees (and be way, way cool).
[User Picture]
Date:January 19th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)

Re: Being picky? Obnoxious? I'm not sure.

A 3x3 Kakuro is just about small enough to fit into my head. Anything bigger than that, and, yeah, the trees are getting nervous. Of course, if you wanted to be semi-forest-friendly, you could opt to print out the puzzles on the back sides of once-printed pages, or use the "print at 50%" option in your printer driver to reduce the amount of paper used.

Hm, and it occurs to me that you wouldn't need to print the solutions on paper, which would reduce the hit by around 20%.

But yeah, you're right.

A couple things I've thought of along the way have included:

  • PDF Forms - a pretty small amount of interactivity, PDF has support for authors to specify areas as being editable. I haven't figured out how to generate such features from my program, though. And these days, I've got a convoluted path that goes from PDF to PostScript back to PDF, which would lose any forms support.
  • Flash / Silverlight / Javascript support for in-browser solving - more interactivity along the lines you're thinking about. In each case, it'd require learning a new language, and I'm busy learning C# right now. Come to think of it, Silverlight has got to be a C# thing, so maybe it's closer to my path than I've been thinking, but it's also one of Microsoft's crazy projects that may end up fading into obscurity.
  • writing a standalone (perhaps downloading content from the web) EXE - I could certainly do this, but it doesn't seem terribly interesting to work on.
  • writing a version that plays on the Wii or XBox360 - This would certainly save trees, but I don't know how well a game pad or Wii controller would fit with the puzzling process.

I've found it really odd how enjoyable it's been to work on using my computer programming skills to create paper puzzles. All this experience with user interface and high-performance work ... out the window! And, all of a sudden, I'm reaching an audience that I never would before.

I've got a word sudoku book in process right now, and then the next book after that is a book of "slither link" puzzles. Once I've finished these three books, I'll spend some time considering whether to come back to Kakuro and make an interactive version.
My Website Powered by LiveJournal.com