The Associated Press publishes their stylebook each year. The 2010 edition is scheduled to be released in May. They call their stylebook the “journalist’s “bible” . . . an essential handbook for all writers, editors, students and public relations specialists.”

I have a hardcopy of the 2008 edition and use it regularly at work. The spiral-bound edition costs $11.75 per copy, if you are a college bookstore or an AP member newspaper. For others, it costs $18.95.

You can buy an online version, as well. Or, if you need to share the online version, you can buy site licenses.

The online version costs $25 per year. Subscribers to the online edition can add comments (like company preferences) to their own instance. If you are an online subscriber, you can submit questions to the editor. For hardcopy users like me, we are limited to reading the weekly questions and answers.

The stylebook is quite interesting, as are the online questions and answers. I can keep up with the latest changes. For example, the AP now uses “website” instead of “Web site.” However, the term “Web page” is still considered correct because “Web” is part of “the World Wide Web.” I know this is must be just as fascinating for you as it is for me. And yes, it is fascinating to me.

If there’s more than one of you at your company who want to access the online version, you may want to consider the site license option. The more you buy, the cheaper it is. The basic site license for 10 users is $200. For 100 users, $1,400. For 1,000 users, it’s only $12,000.

See how much cheaper it is when you buy in bulk?

Wait, there’s more!

A site license for 20,000 users will put you back $240,000.

And last but not least — and I do mean not least — is a site license for 50,000 users for $500,000. But not to worry, renewing subscribers get a discount. Yes, these are annual rates.

My agency has about 3,000 employees. We don’t have even the basic site license for 10 people; there are just a few hardcopies floating around. I wonder what companies have enough employees to have 50,000 writers — writers, not just employees — who need access to the AP stylebook online. Just how big are these companies, anyway? And what do they do? How many companies buy this site-license level? Or maybe no one has purchased this level, but it is there in hopes that there is such a company?

In looking at the Web page for the site licenses, I notice that the Associated Press doesn’t use commas in their numbers (for example, 10000-pack, $20000 and 50000-pack, $500000). Maybe these aren’t big numbers to them and they don’t need help reading them. I have to squint to read them and count the zeros in hopes that I’m reading them correctly. Maybe they think that if you can afford a $500,000 site license, you can afford glasses that are good enough to read those numbers without commas.

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