Monday, 30 April 2012

An Expensive Way to Produce Books

I recently asked a bookshop if a particular book was available. After some investigation, they assured me that it was available only by a procedure called 'print on demand', at a price of 90 pounds, which seemed a lot for a 310 page book originally published at 20 pounds.

It would be better to offer it in digital form.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Innumerate Journalism

I've just looked at the BBC web site to see the results of the first round of the French Presidential Election.

I gather there were ten candidates, so I hoped to see a list of the candidates stating the vote won by each.

I couldn't find anything of the sort. There were long chatty articles, with a percentage thrown in here or there, but there was no systematic treatment.

It often appears that journalists dislike precision.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Abuse of Monopoly

I've already blogged in complaint at the increase in postal rates, but I find the attempt by the Post Office to prevent people stockpiling stamps especially infuriating.

The post Office has a (partial) monopoly of the handling of small items, and that monopoly is not something that has emerged from the operation of the market; it is enforced by the law.

An excuse for maintaining the monopoly is that, were competition allowed, competitors would concentrate on the easy wok of delivering in urban areas where houses are close together, and neglect isolated houses in the country. As it's much easier to deliver to houses in rows, it seems to me reasonable that post to urban destinations should be cheaper.

The monopoly should end.

Meanwhile I shall use the post only for communications that I cannot make in any other way. I shall send no more picture postcards, Christmas cards or chatty letters.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

My First Simnel Cake

I'd often heard of Simnel cakes, but until two days ago I'd never tried one.

Noticing some in Sainsbury's just before Easter, I reflected that they'd be available at half price after Easter. They were, so I bought one.

I found it quite agreeable, but a little too sweet.

I'm glad I waited till after Easter.

Monday, 9 April 2012

A Lingering Moment

"This moment may last for several months yet" I heard someone say on the BBC Radio 4 news.

When I hear such comments, I wonder what may be going on in the mind of the speaker.