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  1. 1

    I’m thinking the folks who do co-op books are on the right track. Being responsible for only a few chapters seems the like best way to go.

  2. 2

    I think it is important to maintain a distinction between books about a specific technology and more general books. The person who wrote that article has obviously been writing books like “teach yourself X in 21 seconds for idiots” and the motivation seems more to be writing a book than a genuine interest in the subject matter.

    http://www.norvig.com/21-days.html is a rant by Peter Norvig (Director of Search Quality at Google) about that kind of books.

  3. 3
    Randolph Fritz

    The idea is that one tells people how to do what (one thinks) they want to do, without theory, which many people find inaccessible. Now, in combination with other approaches, this has something going for it. But I think it’s become the only approach because it’s the way some major software companies like manuals. And a big reason for that is a marketing advantage: it allows the author to avoid stating outright the limitations of a tool and getting the marketing people on his case.

    Compare with the old, old, old Unix man pages, which ended with a “bugs” section, indicating problems and limitations. My favorite of these: “this page is too long.”

  4. 4
    Mark Bernstein

    Kelleher’s discussion of revenue percentages is wrong.

    Kelleher is right that authors may wind up with about 5% of the cover price of the book. But publishers don’t wind up with the other 95%!

    First, bookstores get a markup — typically 40%. Sales through book clubs other subrights also get big break.

    Distributors get 10 or 15%.

    Manufacturing is a significant cost. On the one hand, computer books get a good cover price — and that drives the percentage down. On the other hand, they often have special complexities (CDs, lots of pictures, and LOTS of pages) that drive manufacturing costs up. Figure 10% or so, for starters.

    Now, we’re assuming we sell all those books! If we don’t sell them, the retailers can return them — that’s right, bookstores are consignment businesses, like thrift shops.

    It’s a tough racket, but let’s keep things in perspective:)

  5. 5

    I want to share my own exerience and oppinion. As I cannot afford buying all the computer books I need I try searching the Internet for information on the topic first. For example, if I need help with mysql I will make searches on google and other SE and/or go to mysql home site.

    Ofcourse, there are books I want to have on my bookshelf but they have to justify their price.

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