Typically, the announcement of the reproduction of 80+ years of Missouri in online form would go unnoticed by most people who are not somehow thrilled by these events (you know, history enthusiasts and the such).
But Kevin Engler, fresh off his heroic stand against litter, is making a stand to say that the Official Manual should be published online only.
One issue is that of money. Representative Mark Parkinson’s comment was helpful for pointing that 40,000 Blue Books are published for a cost of $490,000. Quick math shows that is a high cost of $12.25 per Blue Book.
Now, it’d be interesting to see what sort of costs other states which publish similar manuals deal with in the publication of their manuals. Also would be interesting to check into how the 40,000 copies are divided up between libraries, elected officials and others. But digging too deeply is harder than just ending the publication in the eyes of the Veruca Salt wing of the Republican Party. And if there’s anything better than a well-thought out solution, it’s a quick and easy solution.
Really, If $490K for Missouri Official Manuals is the worst expenditure of $490K being made by this state, then we’re all way more fortunate than we’ll ever know.
Also, I wish to point out this Engler quote, which has to be up there for “best simplistic quotes of 2009”:
“We are not talking about withholding information from people. Everyone in the state has internet access, either in their home or at a local library,”
It’s always good to have a quote that is technically true (depending on how you define “local”) but still flawed. I’d also hope that every local library in Missouri has internet access, but I can’t confirm or refute that claim right now.
Engler also noted that he wouldn’t be receiving his supply of complimentary Blue Books to give to constituents. Which is unusually consistent for someone making a stand.
If you’re unfortunate enough to have Mark Parkinson as your state Representative, you verify if Parkinson is doing the same thing. But it’s worth noting that the Parkinson Blue Book elimination bill went nowhere in the 2009 session, and probably won’t go anywhere in 2010 either unless the House gets bored and wants to defeat it by 130 votes like they did on the slot machine bill. When the 2009 session of the Republican General Assembly doesn’t care enough for your anti-spending bill, that’s a heck of a rejection.
Oh yeah, here’s the Blue Book collection for those of you who wish to check it out. (My apologies to the MU Digital Library which is close to losing a certain bookmark in my Firefox soon.) A good portion of the pre-1923 Manuals were already available in other locations because of copyright “expiration” (Google Books is too busy conquering the Universe to notice which books are not copyrighted and can be reproduced anyways).
Also, the 2009-2010 Official State Manual will be available very soon and that will make a great Christmas gift for the relatives that you only talk to twice a year.