That sensational Kindle bargain: UPDATE (includes rant)

Last September I blogged about this very exciting discount available from Now, please restrain yourselves…I’m only talking about a mere $467 price reduction on a single-volume book! I guess the downside was the remaining outlay. A lot of people felt the tag of $7,322.60 (inclusive of reduction) for the Kindle edition of Nuclear Energy by K. Heinloth (Ed.) was, well, a bit expensive. But, hey, just keep your eyes on that discount…$467.00. Pretty amazing, huh?

However, it looks as though readers who procrastinated since September may now have missed their chance. As is typically the case, when it comes to Amazon discounts, you snooze ergo you lose. The Amazon price is back up to $7,665.36, and while that continues to come in below the original cover price (of $7,790), it represents a measly saving of just 1.6%.

Still, this discount comes to a cool $124. This would enable you to buy seven copies of my own book on historical and conceptual issues in psychology with your leftover cash. (I’m serious. Please do consider this. If you are a little short, I’d be happy for you to buy just, say, four copies for now. You can get the other three later.)

You may recall that one notable feature of Heinloth’s Nuclear Energy was the amazing reviews. Well, little has changed since September. The positivity continues to flow:

Yes. Yes, it was.

You can read the other new reviews here.

And overall, despite the hardcover equivalent being ranked at number #9,690,787 in Amazon’s booksales chart (which is pretty amazing when one recent estimate suggests that Amazon offer just 1.8 million print books for sale), the feedback from readers remains superb:

The (statistically average) customer is always right

So I am personally delighted to be able to draw your attention to two ways in which you can obtain this scientific publishing sensation for less than the current Amazon price:

  1. The first is to contact Amazon directly and hustle for some bucks. At least one plucky customer has succeeded already. She/he saved her-/himself ten dollars by doing so. Every little helps, I suppose…
  2. The second way is perhaps a little more attractive: you can simply buy the very same book from Books Unlimited for $4,917.31. Yup, that’s a whole $2,750 cheaper — that right, I said $2,750 — than on Amazon.
WARNING: There now follows a rant

For those of you growing tired of the satire-cum-sarcasm, I suppose I could try to manoeuvre the narrative of this post into a serious discussion of the money-making monster that contemporary academic and scientific publishing has become. For while the scientific enterprise is undoubtedly a noble and, at times, high-minded pursuit, it is more or less completely reliant on the publishing industry as its core means of dissemination, and thus for ensuring the very progress of science itself. One ugly implication of this is that the communitarian business of science has become beholden to the capitalist business of commercial publishing.

People often wonder why academic texts (including single articles from scientific journals) are so darned expensive. Well, this might relate to supply-and-demand issues. Or to the complexity of the production line. Or maybe to other causes…

You see, while scientists conduct their research as part of their day jobs, and then provide the content, reviewing, and editorial work to publishers at a nominal cost (if not in fact for free), publishers keep up their end of the process on a very-much-for-profit basis. Moreover, many academic scientists are paid salaries funded by taxpayers, and work on research projects that are also funded by taxpayers, only to see their output disseminated by private-sector academic publishers who then sell the work back to the employing institution (typically a university), who then end up paying the publisher for those ‘products’ using even more taxpayers’ money. Phew! So, yes, you got that right. The taxpayer ends up paying three times.

So maybe one reason why academic texts often seem so expensive is because scientific publishers know a gravy train when they see one.

Now, I could manoeuvre the narrative in this direction. But I won’t. Instead I will encourage you to consider buying Nuclear Energy from Books Unlimited. And then, consider the fact that you will have effectively saved yourself $2,750 in the process. This will leave you enough of a surplus to go buy a healthy supply of 162 copies of my book (which is much better anyway).

You know it makes sense.

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  1. There’s a nice post about how a book on flies reached a price of $23 milliion on Amazon. Although I share your thoughts on greed of publishers, in such cases, most of the blame rests with an automated algorithm that increases prices in relation to the competition.

    • Brian Hughes

      Woah, brilliant example! Yes, a $23 million book on flies makes Heinloth’s Nuclear Energy look a snip.
      It occurred to me that it would be interesting to check the Springer website to see if the Amazon price here was inflated by algorithmic pricing. But no, it appears not. Springer say they are out of stock at the moment, but their regular price of Heinloth’s tome is €5,990.00 (approx. $7,600) [see ].
      So there we go. It just must be worth it… 🙂

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