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Puzzle 292: Room and Reason 20

This is unrelated to the puzzle below (which has symmetrical givens, for no reason), but I have a question that might concern my readers: in the theoretical situation that I were to hold a contest of some sort where one can win Nikoli puzzle books by solving a puzzle, should I let the winner choose the books they want from this page (within my prize budget, of course) and have Nikoli ship the prize directly, or should I buy some books before the contest starts and use them as prizes? The advantages of the former is that the winner gets a choice, and it's less expensive, especially if the winner happens not to live in the United States; the main advantage of the latter is that the winner will probably get the prize much sooner, although in my experience Nikoli's high-quality puzzles are worth the wait. Also, if I ship the prize, I could write something humorous like "do not eat" on the package.

4 comments

Connect4 said...

All depends on how likely it is that the audience has the book(s) in question. Saving yourself money is never a bad thing anyway

Anonymous said...

Personally, in the theoretical situation that you were to hold a contest of some sort, and in the even more theoretical situation that I were to win, I would be very unhappy to win a Hitori book.

Also, in the theoretical (etc.), I would be happy to win a book, no matter whether I receive it a few days sooner or later.

~ÔttÔ~

Grant Fikes said...

Connect4: I'm not sure how many of my readers happen to own Nikoli puzzle books already. Nonetheless, being able to choose which books one wants might be nice. Nikoli publishes both books with a variety of puzzles, and books with over 90 of one particular type, and to be quite honest, I like both kinds very much.

If I had to choose the prize in advance, I'd think a variety book is a safer bet. But then I have to decide, should I get Puzzle Box (widest variety, small and medium puzzles), Penpas Mix (11 popular puzzle types, and a great balance between small, medium, and giant puzzles), or Puzzle the Giants (page upon page of sadistic huge puzzles that often inspire awe in ways smaller puzzles don't)? I don't know which one my readers would prefer! :)

Otto: Don't worry about winning a Hitori book -- I'll make sure everyone knows what the prize is before entering. If the prize is a Hitori book, don't enter. :) (It won't be, though. As mentioned above, it'll either be variety books or whatever books the winner chooses.)

It usually takes a couple of weeks for books to ship from Japan to Texas, in my experience. I hope that people won't care whether it takes a day or a fortnight to receive the prize, and will enter just for the heck of it. I mean, it's not like I'm giving away a million dollars or something exciting like that. ;)

stigant said...

I would suggest, since you are likely already buying books for yourself to solve, that you just expand your order to include a few more that you probably wouldn't have bought but wouldn't mind having for yourself. Then, when the contest happens, offer people their choice off your list of books that you haven't started solving yet. This plan has the following advantages:
1. Keeps shipping costs down (not minimal, but down) as you can combine the order with the order that you were already going to get anyway.
2. Gives people a choice of books so if they already have a particular book or they really don't like Hitori (does ANYBODY like Hitori?), they can probably still find one that they like/don't have.
3. Since you are likely to have common interests with most of your solvers, you are likely to pick similar books to them
4. You don't have to explicitly say how much you are willing to spend on each book.

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