September 14, 2007

Publishing my Handbook on Lulu

As my book is done, it is time to share the experience in writing it.

My Delphi 2007 Handbook (see the brand new web page for the book) is ready. I'm waiting for my copy of the final version before starting to sell it. As I ordered it yesterday using "Lulu's Super Fast Shipping" option, I should get it today or Monday at the latest. If nothing terribly wrong happened, at that point I'll press the "Enable" button and start selling it.

The book officially covers Update 2 of Delphi 2007 for WIn32, but I was able to sneak in a couple of last minutes notes mentioning changes in the version of Delphi 2007 that ships with RAD Studio 2007 (which looks like it has a few extras compared with Update 3).

What about the book writing experience? As usual, it was way more work than expected, and having to do the internal design and typesetting was an extra hurdle I was not used to as an author. I hope you like the final result. I wrote the book with OpenOffice, and used Adobe Acrobat printer to produce the PDF. OpenOffice is not perfect for creating an entire book, as frmo time to time it messes up the position of images and the related text flow. But it has all it needs, and I really like to make the production process smooth for future revisions and updates.

Up to now, I've been very happy to have picked Lulu as "publishing partner". Their system is flexible enough (although I hate their automatic versioning, the first edition of the book is version 2 for them!), I added a thank you note to buyers, and I'm still building my store front (I decided the book home page on my site was due before that). As covered earlier, I decided for a Lulu only publication, although I know that Amazon distribution would have helped sales. As a few people inquired why, here is the economic side of the problem.

Suppose you sell a book on Lulu for 30 dollars and it costs 10 dollars to print it. The revenue is 20 dollars, Lulu keeps 4 and you earn 16 each copy. Now suppose you sell the same book using Lulu's distribution service (but numbers will be similar anyway). For a cover price of 30 dollars (with probably a little discount on Amazon and similar sites), the price for distributors is about half of it, let's say 15 dollars. Now you have to deduct the printing cost of 10 dollars, and are left with 5. Lulu takes 1 and you earn 4. Numbers are not precise, but give you the overall idea: by selling through a distributor end users might save a few dollars but you earn (in this case) one quarter of the amount for each book. So you have to sell 4 times as many to break even. Would having the book on Amazon help increase the sales ten time? I really doubt it, as I hope to be able to reach a good portion of the Delphi community anyway. Even paying for some direct ads would probably be a better deal.

(to be continued)





 

4 Comments

Publishing my Hanbook on Lulu 

Waiting with credit card in hand.
Comment by Bruce McGee on September 14, 14:26

Publishing my Handbook on Lulu 

 I also am waiting.  Marco - This is definitely a
better option.  I am very happy that more money will
get to you.
Comment by Drew on September 14, 18:03

Publishing my Handbook on Lulu 

 Marco,
  You are one of the reasons that the I still carry a
torch for Delphi. I am a professional Delphi
developer, have been since it came out - and you made
that possible with just the right books at just the
right time.
I, too, await the SellButton.Enabled := True with
credit card in hand. That I won't save a few bucks
buying from Amazon is OK with me, SO LONG AS YOU DO
MORE BOOKS!
I'd like to see some specialization - devote an entire
book to WEB stuff, another to some aspects of .NET,
more on ASP.NET via Delpi, etc. If this is what it
takes to get you to do that, more power to you!

 WRITE MORE BOOKS!
Comment by Bruce on September 15, 00:45

Publishing my Handbook on Lulu 

 And...did you receive your copy today? 

I sure hope so. Can't wait.
Comment by Robin van Nooij [http://projectvalley.com/weblog] on September 17, 16:53


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