It wasnâ€™t long after one item in my baseball budget became available to buy that another popped up to join it.
Flicking through the satisfyingly hefty Baseball Prospectus annual for the first time each year has become a ritual for me. Itâ€™s another signpost along the road to the baseball season springing to life.
However, this year Iâ€™m contemplating changing this ritual slightly.
After the initial joy of gazing on 600 pages of baseball commentary and stats, the bookâ€™s weight and size does become an issue. Itâ€™s simply not made to be portable and if youâ€™re not blessed with a lot of space in your home, itâ€™s another significant item to find a spot for.
So, the news that various electronic versions of the annual will be available this year really caught my eye. It wonâ€™t be quite the same at first, but the positives outweigh the negatives. A big part of the bookâ€™s appeal for me is that itâ€™s something I dip into on a regular basis all season long and dipping into it â€“ wherever I am â€“ will be much easier in electronic form.Â
When I saw a tweet today from the bookâ€™s publisher, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, that the Kindle version was already available at a bargain $9.99, I couldnâ€™t click through to Amazon.com quickly enough. However â€“ as you may have already worked out â€“ my joy was short lived.Â It might be available to Americans at $9.99 (Â£6.40), but when the site picks up that youâ€™re from the UK, that price more than doubles to $22.50 (i.e. the Â£14 that itâ€™s listed for on Amazon.co.uk).
Because VAT is payable on e-books and not on print books, if you opt for Amazonâ€™s free Super Saver Delivery itâ€™s actually cheaper to get the print version from Amazon.co.uk â€“ think of all that paper, ink, and work to deliver it – than to click a couple of buttons and download it in minutes. That seems a bit mad to me, but there we go.
Currently that means the choice comes down to waiting until at least 15 March (its listed UK release date) and paying a bit less for the print version, or buying it now, enjoying the benefit of its greater portability but dealing with the pain of paying more for an e-book than the good old paperback.