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NOTE: use Perl; is on undef hiatus. You can read content, but you can't post it. More info will be forthcoming forthcomingly.

All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • "It seems like O'Reilly has finally succumbed to the trend for thick books ... O'Reilly is living in an industry where competitors are using all sorts of dirty tricks to get books with wide spines to the market"

    Translation: I just bought a thick O'Reilly book. We've always done thick and thin books. The editorial motto is "write as much as needs to be said, no more and no less". If there's 1200 pages in a MySQL Cookbook, it's because we couldn't fit it into 1199, not because the first draft stopped at

    • Translation: I just bought a thick O'Reilly book.

      Not exactly.

      A while ago, I was approached to write a book about SOAP. I'm not exactly interested in the topic, but I've a fair share of presentations about it, and written an article or two about it. The publisher who approached me out of the blue started the conversation by talking about the process of writing a book for them: make sure that it's at least 300 pages at a bare minimum, because the book won't sell unless the spine is at least 4 inches

      • As a co-author of an upcoming O'Reilly Cookbook -- PHP Cookbook -- I can assure you that there was no pressure from the O'Reilly staff for our book to be any length other than what we felt was the correct one.

        In fact, we cut material from the book towards the end because we didn't think it was of the same quality as the rest.

        Also, the Cookbook format lends itself to longer books because of the Question / Solution / Discussion division. We could make it more compact, but it'd be harder to skim and it'd take you longer to find what you want -- it's a trade-off.

        Last, the new O'Reilly design and format actually makes shorter books than the old one. I don't know if this is on purpose, but it'd be easy to keep it the same -- if not lengthen it -- so I guarantee they're not looking to produce long books for the sake of length.

        • I can assure you that there was no pressure from the O'Reilly staff for our book to be any length other than what we felt was the correct one.

          I never said that there was any pressure to fill pages, or water down the quality of a title to fill a length requirement.

          Also, the Cookbook format lends itself to longer books because of the Question / Solution / Discussion division.

          This is exactly my point. The cookbook format at O'Reilly is about 5 years old. At the time, the Perl Cookbook was one of O

        • Hi Adam! :-)

          Yes, you're right--the interior design was changed to fit more on a page. Headings take less space, we can get more columns of code in our examples, and we get more words per page overall than before. All contribute to a lower page count.

          --Nat