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 reviews? 
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Posted on: Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:04 pm




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 reviews?
Hello,

If you bought the Killer Sudoku book on Amazon
(this one: http://www.amazon.com/The-Huge-Killer-S ... 1300285982),
can you write a review?

Judging from the response to the "101 Advanced Puzzles" book,
a couple of (positive..) reviews really help in getting a book some attention.

Many thanks [thumbsup]

Patrick


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Posted on: Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:36 am




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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: reviews?
Repeating my previous request: if you bought the book on Amazon, then
it would be great if you could leave a review.

Just now I read the first review:

"Be aware: No solutions in this book. Instead, there is an email address you can use to "request" the solutions. I sent it back."
1 out of 5 stars

[crying]

So I've added an explanation to the book description:

"Note: as noted by a user below, there are no solutions in this book. This was done
to keep the price down: my goal was to get as many puzzles as possible into a large,
high-quality book: because of this, of the purchase price $9.98 goes to Amazon and
the publisher, and $0.01 goes to me.

To get all solutions, simply send me an e-mail (the address is in the book). "

(it will take a few days for the updated description to show up)

I also tried to contact the writer of the review (so should someone be thinking about that: please don't).

thanks again,

Patrick


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Posted on: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:23 am




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Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 4:55 pm
Post Re: reviews?
Your updated description is now visible at amazon.com [smile]

I actually enjoy the convenience of having my solutions checked when I submit them here to earn points rather than having to compare them to print solutions. What I do is print puzzles from the e-books as needed, solve them using a pencil, type the solutions into a text file as I go along and then submit a solution once a day by copy-pasting it into the box (rather than typing it directly into the box). That way I won't have to re-type a solution if something goes wrong (I can just re-copy-paste it from the text file), and I end up with a file containing all the correct solutions so there's no need to request them by e-mail. I discard the puzzle sheets when the solutions have been verified and am happy that there's no paperback taking up space in my bookcase.

But then I am the kind of user who prefers solving puzzles online to solving them on paper. From my point of view the only possible improvement would be if these collections were available here at calcudoku.org the way the extra puzzles are currently available to subscribers. You wouldn't get a PDF e-book when buying a collection; instead, the puzzles would be accessible for online solving whenever you were logged in to your calcudoku.org account. (I am merely fantasizing here, of course. The nice thing for you as a puzzle author would be that you wouldn't have to share the purchase price with publishers and retailers, but it is far from certain that there would be many takers of this option so it probably wouldn't be feasible to put it into practice.)

Most of those who started out as users (not necessarily subscribers) at calcudoku.org and then went on to order e-books through lulu.com (or receive the bonus e-books included with a subscription) probably aren't bothered that the e-books don't contain solutions. But buyers who don't have any prior acquaintance with calcudoku.org and just order the print edition from Amazon so they can enjoy an actual puzzle book in their comfy chair, far away from any computer, are probably expecting the miniature solutions at the back of the book that are usually included if you buy a puzzle book from a newsstand. Even if the solutions are available free of charge, the reviewer at Amazon may find it cumbersome to go to the computer and open a file every time she wants to check a solution rather that just look in the back of the book. It may of course be that she doesn't realize the solutions are free of charge because you don't explicitly state so (even if it should be clear from the context), but she is unlikely to have made that mistake. I think her beef is entirely with the "usability" aspect and that she would have preferred it if the book had contained fewer puzzles to make room for miniature solutions. Also, if she is not familiar with killer sudokus, she may be disappointed at being referred to online resources (however excellent they may be), and she may be extra reliant on having solutions at hand at all times to see if she got the concept right.

Maybe you should go "e-book only" in the future and abandon the paperback format since e-book buyers are less likely to have this kind of issue with the books (and you aren't making any money on the print editions anyway). Of course there are the three very positive Amazon reviews of "Calcudoku, 101 Advanced Puzzles", which are a very nice kind of exposure. But maybe expectations are different when a book has "Sudoku" in the title?

Got too long-winded again, sorry [blush]


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Posted on: Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:57 am




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Post Re: reviews?
bram wrote:
probably aren't bothered that the e-books don't contain solutions.

On top of that, solutions are only really needed when you're stuck with a puzzle.
Checking a solution can be done without seeing an actual solution (as you know :-) )
bram wrote:
Of course there are the three very positive Amazon reviews of "Calcudoku, 101 Advanced Puzzles", which are a very nice kind of exposure. But maybe expectations are different when a book has "Sudoku" in the title?

Not sure, I think it's just luck. A few days ago I got a very nice e-mail
from someone who bought the book on Amazon and really liked it (so I asked them to write a review).

The 101 Advanced book is the "best selling" book (where best selling means ~ 2 copies a week),
and that's probably because of the reviews.

Patrick


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Posted on: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:26 pm




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Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 4:55 pm
Post Re: reviews?
pnm wrote:
Checking a solution can be done without seeing an actual solution (as you know :-) )

Yes, but as a former proofreader I am somewhat of a professional neurotic [scared] and acutely aware that I could myself be mistaken. Specifically, if you have worked intensively on a particular puzzle (or text) you may be overcome by a kind of "snowblindness", meaning that you may have lapses of concentration even when doing the trivial task of calculating the sum of each cage.

Just to give you an example of how paranoid I can be, I even checked the rigourousness of your solution-checker: At some occasions I would submit the puzzle code for puzzle number n together with the (presumably correct) solution to puzzle number n + 1 in order to test if the checker would accept just any solution that didn't violate the Rule of 1. Needless to say, it wouldn't – but you knew that [wink]

Point is, when I observed the solution to puzzle number n + 1 being rejected as incorrect when submitted together with the wrong puzzle code and then accepted as correct the next day when submitted together with the correct code, I would feel more certain that it was indeed correct than I would have if I had "proofread" it myself.

Oops, must go now, need to slip back into straitjacket before nurses come back [blink]


Last edited by bram on Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Posted on: Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:30 pm




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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: reviews?
bram wrote:
Yes, but as a former proofreader I am somewhat of a professional neurotic [scared] and acutely aware that I could myself be mistaken. Specifically, if you have worked intensively on a particular puzzle (or text) you may be overcome by a kind of "snowblindness", meaning that you may have lapses of concentration even when doing the trivial task of calculating the sum of each cage.

Yes, I see your point.

In any case, I've left a comment with that review (didn't know you could do that),
am still trying to contact the reviewer, and am busy creating an edition with
solutions (which will necessarily be a bit more expensive)...

Patrick


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Posted on: Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:33 pm




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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:40 pm
Post Re: reviews?
bram wrote:
Oops, must go now, need to slip back into straitjacket before nurses come back [blink]


honestly way too funny
thanks
i needed that today:)


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Posted on: Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:00 pm




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Post Re: reviews?
pnm wrote:
I also tried to contact the writer of the review (so should someone be thinking about that: please don't).

I managed to contact her, and she updated her review to 5 stars [woot]

I also created a version with solutions, and will publish that too
(it will take at least 4 weeks before it'll be on Amazon though).

Patrick


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Posted on: Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:13 pm




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Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 4:55 pm
Post Re: reviews?
pnm wrote:
I managed to contact her, and she updated her review to 5 stars [woot]

Congrats! [thumbup]


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Posted on: Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:18 pm




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Joined: Thu May 12, 2011 11:58 pm
Post Re: reviews?
bram wrote:
Congrats! [thumbup]

Thanks. it was necessary, a 1 star review is essentially "end of book"..

The "2nd edition with solutions" is ready:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/patrick-min/th ... 34686.html

Now I have to order a proof copy, approve it, and then 4-6 weeks later it'll be on Amazon...

Patrick


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