Books and Legos

Those of you who really know me know that always in the middle of more than one book. Books are a kind of hobby for me. Recently I picked up a interesting Adobe Photoshop book – photography is another one of my hobbies. Someone once commented to me that just putting the words Adobe Photoshop on the cover of a book automatically allowed the stores to charge you more for the book. Looking at my new Photoshop book I started to think he might be correct and that got me thinking about the general price of a book . So to forewarn you, this whole post is of little practical value. I grabbed a stack of books of the shelf and started to compare them. I was interested so see approximate price for each page or what it cost me each time I finished a page. Interesting way to value you purchase isn’t it? So here is a very small glimpse at a stack of books on my shelf. It is by no means the only stack of books on the shelf. There are way too many to sit and compare approximate price per page.


Cover PricePage CountApprox Price/Page
Test-Driven Development in Microsoft .NET $39.99 273$0.15
Code $17.99393$0.05
Essential COM $34.95 440$0.08
The Build Master $39.99 249$0.16
Microsoft SharePoint 2003 Unleashed $49.99 856$0.06
Microsoft SharePoint 2003 in 10 Minutes $14.99213$0.07
SharePoint Advanced Concepts $39.99 257$0.16
Advanced SharePoint Services Solutions $59.99 365$0.16
The Photoshop CS2 Book $39.99 457$0.09
Joel on Software $24.99 362$0.07
SharePoint User Guide $14.95 136$0.11
Beyond Bullet Points $24.99 223$0.11
The Rational Guide to Building SharePoint Web Parts $14.99 175$0.09
The Rational Guide to Google Blogger $14.99 215$0.07
ASP.NET V.2.0 Beta Version $39.99 620$0.06
Framework Design Guidelines (Hardback) $44.99 346$0.13
Programming “Indigo” $49.99 598$0.08
Rapid Development $35.00 647$0.05
Presenting Windows Workflow Foundation $29.99 296$0.10
Idea to Image in Photoshop CS2 $39.99 202$0.20
WIKINOMICS (Hardback) $25.95 324$0.08
Dreaming In Code (Hardback) $25.95 401$0.06

Interestingly the overall average for a technical book is approximately nine cents per page. These numbers are only an approximation. Not all of the books were purchased for the cover price and I make no mention on average number of words per page or if there are additional content outside of the actual pages. For example Rational Guides generally have additional chapters that can be downloaded and Framework Design Guidelines (I recommend this book) contains a CD. I also do not compare images and Photoshop books tend to have full color plates. In the end after comparing a stack of books at least one of the Photoshop books was comparatively expensive and one was actually middle of the road.

So what does this post have to do with Legos? Not much other than there is an interesting similarity. Take a look at this next table of Lego kits that have found a home in my basement.

KitCostPiece CountApprox Cost/Piece
LEGO AquaRaiders Deep Sea Treasure Hunter$5.9976$0.08
Lego Star Wars Classic TIE Interceptor$19.99212$0.09
Lego Star Wars Classic B-Wing Fighter$34.99200$0.17
Lego Star Wars Episode III V-Wing Fighter$19.99119$0.17
Lego SpongeBob Squarepants – The Krusty Krab$29.99295$0.10
LEGO Aqua Raiders The Shipwreck$24.99244$0.10
LEGO AquaRaiders Tiger Shark Attack$29.99341$0.09
LEGO Aqua Raiders Angler Ambush$9.99132$0.08
LEGO Star Wars AT-ST$19.99244$0.08
Lego Boeing 787 Airplane Dreamliner$79.991197$0.07
LEGO Aqua Raiders – Aquabase Invasion$79.99845$0.09
Lego Star Wars Classic Jabba’s Sail Barge$74.99539$0.14
$430.88 4444$0.10

Interestingly the overall average for a Lego kit is approximately ten cents per piece. Well not enough for a conspiracy theory but it is interesting to think that a single Lego piece is the same approximate value of a page of knowledge. Who would have guessed?

As a footnote I showed these numbers to a friend who promptly pointed me to this post which was another interesting read on evaluating books.