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Rock and a Hard Place

I appreciate everyone's comments regarding the NXT 1.0, 2.0, and Education differences and how we might find some common ground. I also wish to thank many of you for putting together some resources to share with the community - I've not got all them ready to put up yet, but soon.

I had an interesting conversation with an editor yesterday. The issue of how to satisfy the largest group of NXT users and minimize the number who are unable to use a book is a real hot topic. Hopefully you've all seen the image Laurens put together showing the overlap of the 1.0 and 2.0 retail kits - not a lot of parts to build with, is it? If the Education kit is thrown into the mix, the overlap of parts will be even smaller.

I didn't get a lot of feedback regarding the use of the LEGO Education Resource Set in future books, but the ones I did get were not very supportive of the idea (except for those who already owned the Resource Set for various reasons)... but buying the Resource Set simply to be able to build a new set of robots in a book does not appear to be what people want.

So, where does that leave us? Well, we can return to the Upgrade Kit that sellers like Bill are offering - they may include non-NXT-standard colors, and the Color sensor, software, and mat are not included... but the Upgrade Kit is $70.00 - only $10 less than the Resource Set... so my first guess is that if someone is unwilling to buy the Resource Set they're probably not likely to want to buy an Upgrade Kit either... at least at the current prices. I know nothing about the pricing of individual parts, markup, etc... but I can't fault Bill for trying to make a small profit (if any) on his Upgrade Kit - it takes time and energy to gather parts, bundle them, and ship - and if he's willing to do this, then I hope he's able to recoup his costs plus a little extra.

Another option is to continue to write books for the latest version that can be purchased in the stores and online - 2.0. But that leaves a LOT of 1.0 owners out in the cold and unable to use the newer books that will be coming out. I don't like that option, but designing multiple versions of robots using each of the kits AS WELL AS including those BIs in a new book is time consuming, eats up pages in a book, and reduces the number of robot designs that can be included in a book. Yes, I could write a 400-500 page book, but it won't cost $16.99 from - more likely it will approach the $30 range (or higher). And most of the publishers I've worked with prefer to keep the books at a specific price point that they know, historically, contributes to book sales.

My new book "The King's Treasure" uses the 2.0 retail kit. Most (or all) of the robots in that book can be easily redesigned using the 1.0 kit, but it will require some thought on the 1.0 owner's part... I struggled with this, but my publisher wanted the book to use the 2.0 kit and LEGO, while not putting any pressure on me to do so, expressed interest in my writing a 2.0 book. I'll definitely be curious to see the robots that 1.0 owners come up with to solve the 5 challenges I've created.

So, right now... I'm in planning mode. I have a request to do a new LEGO book but nothing is firm yet. Do I do a combo book - with 1.0 and 2.0 instructions? Do I focus on just 2.0? It has been suggested to me to do a book for the Ed version plus Resource Set - that might REALLY open some options for more complex robots...

I've got some thinking to do, but I always welcome input from the community.

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