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Investigating reader preferences for a core technical reference book on the eve of its self-published rebirth


John Huntington sez, "I'm preparing a new (and self published) edition of my book, Control Systems for Live Entertainment. And so I put a survey online and got over 100 respondents. It's not a huge sample size, but what was most interesting to me was how much they were willing to pay for a printed edition, and how few actually wanted an e-version."

The whole thing is a great read -- it was interesting to see how many respondents thought that $50 or more was the right price for the book. This is a core professional technical reference, a great candidate for self-publishing, and John is taking a very systematic approach to getting that right.

77% of the respondents are willing to pay $50 or more for a printed trade paperback (I asked them the maximum they would pay). This was a bit surprising to me, and while I do plan to keep the book as inexpensive as possible, this information definitely helps me set the price in a way to help me recoup my up-front, self-publishing costs as quickly as possible...

Clearly, the respondents want to pay significantly less for E-Books: It almost flips right around that $50 point, with 85.2% wanting to pay $45 or less, and the most willing to pay around $25 or $30.

Only 13.9% prefer an electronic edition: This is good for me because I've been planning to develop the printed edition, and then port that format over to an E-Book format.

Survey Says! New Book Version Results From My Readers (Thanks, John!)

WITH A LITTLE HELP at U Washington Bookstore

Seattle's kick-ass University of Washington bookstore is the latest local store to start selling my DIY science fiction short story collection, With a Little Help, printing it on demand from their Espresso Book Machine. They're even giving away some copies to celebrate.

Amsterdam's American Book Center retailing WITH A LITTLE HELP

Amsterdam's excellent American Book Center is now carrying my DIY science fiction short story collection, With a Little Help, in its inventory; they've got a print-on-demand machine that'll print and bind a copy in any of the four covers (they'll also ship within Europe and abroad).