Oct 242011

I didn’t realise until recently what sort of unspoken cultural language we have about newspapers in the UK.
In the same way that someone from England might watch Fox news and mistake it for the same sort of (mostly) unbiased [comparatively] news coverage we get on terrestrial channels over here, someone from Virginia might link to a news article from the Sun, or the Star, or the Daily Fail, and not realise the context of the paper.

The Sun? It’s not just a paper. It’s a working-class, right-wing, non-intellectual tabloid paper.

The Guardian (Or the Grauniad, as Private Eye calls it)? Left-wing. Liberal. Wishy-washy broad sheet (and my favourite).

The Telegraph? (Torygrpah)? Right wing. Upper class. Broad sheet.

The Star? See the Sun, but trashier, and more sensationalist.

The Daily Fail? I don’t even.

Each one reports stories in their own way. And when you, a smart, cultured, not-politically-extreme foreigner, from America, or Australia, or Canada, link to one of these papers you’re inadvertently making a statement.

Personally, I’d link to the Guardian or the BBC. But I’m left-leaning, liberal, middle class and a little snobby.

(Yes, I made two posts in one week. Don’t worry, I won’t keep it up. I’ve never kept up anything like this in my life. So say my 8 other blogs and journals. Although by all means keep checking back or subscribe to the RSS feed and bully me to post more or just watch me fail.)

My masterpiece of MS paint.

This is a man. On a bench. In a park. Reading a Red-top. Which I didn’t mention in this blog. Which is badly-drawn. RELEVANCE!
Oct 212011

I realise that this next is the same level of question as the “Why do foods with LESS fat cost MORE to make”, but I don’t think the answer is the same.

I was looking at Google ebooks and the book on there are generally the same price as paperbacks.


A hardback book costs, say, £20. The paperback version costs around £8.

I assume this difference in price is because the production process for the Hardback costs more, as does the nice shiny card-stuff they use for the eponymous covers.
(Plus a bit extra on top, because any excuse to add to the price is a good one).

I assume a paperback costs as much as it does because you have to pay the following things:

• Writer
• Agent
• Publisher
• Press
• Cost of Printing
• Distribution
• Mark up for bookstores
I don’t know anything about book publishing, but these categories seem reasonable to me.

So why would the same book cost £8 on Google Ebooks?
The very nature of the e-book would seem to remove the Publisher, cost of printing, distribution, and book shop mark-up from the equation entirely.
So what costs might it add?
• Server space.
• Programmers
• Graphic artist
• Distribution programme
But these things are done en masse. Unlike a print run, which might have a cost of say, 50p per book, you instead have to have a personal page for the book, which might have cost you £30 in man-hours in design, server space and implementation; but this can be applied to all of your books. Or, at least, a lot of them. And just retrospectively; it’s to all the future books too. Apply the cost of this one page across all its uses and the price dwindles more.


(In related topics, DRM for ebooks is awful, and why does everything end in 99p in every context?)

A google elf converting a book into an ebook

here is a drawing I did of a google elf making an ebook from a real book. Because you're special.