Food for thought: just in thinking how to maximize the value of experimenting with distribution; an alternative approach would be to print the first book and distribute to the math olympiads then invest the rest of the money into converting HPMOR into a podcast/audiobook that can be shared more widely and outlining a “next steps” resource to guide readers. If distributing the books fails (depending on your definition of distribution being a “success”) you avoid sinking $28k into books sitting on shelves at home and now have a widely available podcast (to access for free or a small donation) that can increase HPMOR’s reach over time. (FYI the funds raised through small donations for access could be used to sponsor future printings for youth competitions).
A podcast or a revamped online version becomes a renewable resource, whereas once those books are distributed, they (and the money) are gone. For those interested, the model that comes to mind is HP and the Sacred Text. Using Harry Potter to convey certain ideas or messages is not uncommon given its global reach. HPST is using it for different reasons obviously but HOW they are distributing the idea might be worth pursing with HPMOR too. HP Alliance is another group using HP to convey a message (their focus is on political and social activism). HPMOR could have greater value long-term if there were alternative methods for accessing it beyond a 2000 page series.
A high quality podcast has been made (for free, by the excellent fanbase). It’s at www.hpmorpodcast.com.
This is great, thank you! Surprised I haven’t stumbled across this before… Even better if it’s already an available resource, it seems worth sharing with the IMO students and other relevant groups (which was the essence of my suggestion above).