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December 10, 2009


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Another thoughtful peice about things that matter in our state. Thank you.
Ron F. Rowley

There is an opportunity that exists today to save the printed Michigan Manual and save money at the same time. The answer is on demand printing. Need a copy? The state can provide several Michigan printing companies a copy that can be printed on quality archival paper as needed and still have the e-publication that can easily be downloaded and viewed by many. By using Michigan printers, the money stays within the state and if there are several printers that are able to print the manual pricing will remain competitive and affordable.
It's a win, win - old school, new school technology showdown where creativity helps fill the needs of our ever changing society.

Certainly the Michigan Manual should be preserved at all cost -- our collective state history is important. However, I don't see how publishing it online fails to do that?

Mr. Lessenberry's complaint strikes one as a generational gripe, which is fine but perhaps not as dire as he makes it seem. He could still utilize the manual on a daily basis if it were online. However, he would not be able to add to his collection.

Mr. Lessenberry states that not publishing the Michigan Manual would only save a pittance, but he doesn't give a precise figure. Why not?

I don't know about other people but I like to have specific facts in order to form an opinion. Impassioned rhetoric is fine, and Mr. Lessenberry is very good at it -- it's one of the reason I regularly read his column -- however it needs to be balanced with some facts -- the amount that is a pittance in this case.

Print on demand sounds like an excellent compromise.

Also, is there not some local publisher that would enjoy the benefits of the publicity if they were to take on the publication of this manual, perhaps charging only the cost of the production for it?

No offense Mr. Lessenberry, but I think this article is an example of the problems you typically rail against as causing our State's paralyzation and decline. As everyone knows, our fiscal situation is dire, and while revenue increases may be needed to support beneficial services, each dollar of state tax revenue should be carefully considered to make sure its benefit trumps the lost opportunity cost of being spent productively and innovatively by our citizens. While this book may have made far more sense in the days when the costs were high for distributing this essential information to our citizens, all of the facts you currently cited can be obtained much more cheaply and easily from multiple private and public sources on the internet (provided for free at the same libraries). In my experience, no one in this state disagrees with the statement we need to cut "wasteful spending" and focus on what government expenditures are necessary to bring unique benefits to the citizenry. However, nearly everyone equates essential government expenditures to those which benefit them personally or which they have particular interest in seeing supported regardless of the overall weighing of costs and benefits to the state. I believe this mentality become toxic, especially in a state where we have been fortunate to enjoy the largesse of over a half-century of near-monopolistic automotive income and are now forced to decide which services are those worth supporting with our own hard-earned incomes. When we are scrambling to scrape together couch change to fund education for our states next crop of productive intellects, I find it hard to justify expenditures on this book, or State Fairs, or anything which could be more directly funded privately by those citizens with a special interest in making or enjoying those goods and services.

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