The traditional print publishing industry requires long production cycles before any book or publication can see print. This situation has become more acute for authors like myself who publish books on annual software releases. I hope to use this blog to publish information, updates, addenda, ruminations, and other "mid-cycle" missives. I hope you enjoy it.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Imperial and Metric

Years ago I started including both an Imperial and a Metric dataset in my books. Since most of my titles are heavy on tutorials, this is a good way to open the book up to readers outside the US. However, royalty reports have shown that sales outside the country are in the realm of what I would consider disappointing. This has been the case for many years, but nonetheless, I continue to maintain both datasets. This does slow things down a bit during writing because I have two sets of numbers to check and two complete datasets to build and check.
Recall in an earlyier post where I described the recapturing of images as one of the major bottlenecks in the writing process. Well, building and/or maintaining datsets is perhaps the next biggest time consumer in the process. The only real difference is that sometimes I can get away with using last years files and just resaving them. This is more true with AutoCAD files than Revit files. Since a Revit project is saved in a single file, even a small change requires me to resae the file where on the AutoCAD Architecture side, I might get away with making a change to just one XREF and can leave many other files as is. Of course there are far more files on the AutoCAD Architecture dataset. Something like 6000 total DWG files. (Half Imperial and half Metric). On the Revit book, I have gotten to the point where it is easier to resave each chapter's start point from the previous chapters "Complete" files because enough small changes have accumulated and this is the only way that I can be sure they carry forward.
The dataset update process has a couple advantages. First, having two datasets allows me to sometimes use one to check the chapter. I often like to go through the initial edit in the Imerial files and then come back and quickly run through the steps again in the Metric. This gives me a quick proof read and allows me to complete the dataset concurrently with the manuscript files. The other advantage is that if this doesn't work out on a particular chapter and the dataset requires more work, I do not have to deliver the datset files to the publisher until well into the proofing/press phase, so I have some extra time without impacting the schedule.
Well, that's it for now. Thanks for visiting.


Pedro Aroso said...

Hi Paul

This is good news because, for European users, Imperial units don't make any sense. When we see a video/tutorial or look to a drawing with Imperial dimensions, it is Greek for us.

Paul F. Aubin said...

Hi Pedro:

But see that's the thing. It really isn't "news" or at least not "new." I have been doing this since version 2004 of ADT, but it has not had any major impact on sales over seas. So in many respects, the numbers do not justify taking the extra time it takes to do both datasets. However, I have been reluctant to take out the Metric despite this.
Anyhow, I keep hoping that word will get out that my books are in both units and that sales will begin to pick up outside the US.

Pedro Aroso said...

You can count on me to spread the word!

Paul F. Aubin said...

Thanks Pedro!