Sunday, September 16, 2007

more CafePress bugs and other book news

Computers are going to turn me into a Shatz-style Luddite, methinks. My dorm connection was working fine late last evening (remember that it had fritzed out Saturday morning? I was in the office all day using that computer), and was still working fine this morning and early afternoon. Once I got to the office today, I decided to surf over to my book's CafePress site and... guess what? It's on the blink again! Sincere apologies to potential buyers. CafePress did write me about the situation:

Dear Kevin,

Thank you for contacting!

I am happy to help. There was nothing that you did wrong. CafePress has a bug in the site that doesn't allow the file to switch over like they should.

If there is anything else I can do for you please let me know.

Best Regards,

"Happy to help"-- forsooth.

In the meantime, I made an interesting discovery a few days ago while talking with the fine folks at CopyZone, the local bootleg book printer from whom I've ordered several dozen copies of Water from a Skull. CopyZone prints hardback copies of student research papers; the book dimensions are fairly similar to the B5-sized pages I normally order. I've been paying $X per book to make softback copies. It turns out that these hardbacks are printed out in short runs of at least 30 copies, and it doesn't matter how many pages the manuscript is. The per-book cost for this? One-third what I currently pay.

So compare: I've been printing out softcover versions of my book for $X a copy. If I wanted 30 copies right away, I'd be paying around $30X. Now I discover that I can have 30 nice, hardcover versions of the book printed for far less than the cost of softcovers-- about $10X for the lot!

A couple catches, though:

(1) Those research papers are normally printed as single-sided sheets. I'd obviously want the double-sided treatment. Would the cost go up for double-sided copies, or would this still be a case of "the number of pages doesn't matter"? I have to ask those guys.

(2) I'd still like to have a cover slapped on the book. Not on the surface of the hardback (CopyZone stamps the covers with gold leaf lettering-- Chinese, Hangeul, and Roman letters), but as a separate paper cover that would fit over the hardback, as you see on normal hardback books. Perhaps I could even include some sort of blurb for the front and rear cover flaps-- reviews, testimonials, and so on.

If I can swing this, and if the final cost of the hardbacks is still significantly cheaper than what I currently pay, then I will be happy to sell the hardbacks from here at the same cover price as the softbacks. The benefit to future readers should be obvious: solidity, durability, and a potential weapon to use against someone's throat à la Jason Bourne in "The Bourne Ultimatum"-- all at the same listed cover price.

(For those who missed it, I did update my FAQ blog while I was on break.)


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