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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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  • If only more people followed your advice... Looking at the computer bookshelf you see the page count increasing as the subject matter becomes more specialised. Do you think that authors cover everything in detail because that takes less skill than determining what to include/exclude? Do book buyers relate page count to value?
    • by ziggy (25) on 2002.06.24 8:21 (#9924) Journal
      Looking at the computer bookshelf you see the page count increasing as the subject matter becomes more specialised.
      There's a self-perpetuating meme at work there. Because other books are thick and narrowly focused, new titles need to be thick and narrowly focused as well.

      I was approached by a respectable publisher last year (who shall remain Not O'Reilly (tm)) to write a book on some reasonably new and fashionable topic. In the preliminary discussions, the editor talked about writing a book that would be at least three inches thick. That was literally the first characteristic of the book we discussed -- before even the depth or breadth of coverage (which was left unmentioned, come to think of it).

      After talking about the 3-inch minimum shelfwidth, we also talked about the standard tricks used to get that width: thick paper, wide margins, 14pt typefaces.

      The rationale? Since everyone else is doing this, we need to do it as well, just to get customers to read the spine at the bookstore[*].

      Oh well. At least some publishers have the gumption to print a 200-page book when 200 pages is enough to cover the subject...

      *: How does the shelf width tempt book buyers at Amazon.com or Bookpool? I never figured that out...

      • Tech publishing, and publishing in general, is only as good as it has to be, and often worse. [greenspun.com]
      • Darn TCP/IP book I had to buy (textbook). Fattest book I own, thick pages, massive font, awful index, and I'd be surprised if, were it retypeset like an ORA, it were larger than the Perl DBI book. It's worrying, quite worrying.
        --
          ---ict / Spoon