Making it on Amazon

Kevin Kelly on how to get your book/cd/dvd listed on amazon.

Henri Yandell on the tech book market.

Reference books used to be king. Take Java in a Nutshell, it used to be the best book in Java by a furlong. Back in the ‘old days’ when people still had dial-up and Internet lag was a common occurence. Nowadays, I can store the JDK javadoc and the J2EE javadoc on my watch (must look to see if any browser can read a .html.gz file). So reference books are much less important. O’Reilly have made two noticeable attempts to find new legs in the reference world; the pocket reference book and the Cookbook series. I own something like 20 pocket references, and I’m increasingly finding them to be worthless. I’ll probably go this entire year without opening a single one of them. Cookbooks are better, though they suffer from the brilliance of the first book (Perl Cookbook) and subsequent titles have a hard job matching its standard. Manning are into cookbooks too (Recipe series), I’ve not read one of them yet, but they’ve got quite a few coming out.

My comment (after having read and reviewed a lot of python/plone books). It’s really hard anticipating what books are going to come in handy. I wrote a slashdot review of Andy McKay’s plone book, but am almost finding Cameron Cooper’s book to be better. Still, my intimate familarity with McKay’s book means that I know exactly where to find what I’m looking for. I found Mark Pilgrim’s Dive into Python book to be first-rate, but when I do need a quick reference, I’ve been checking the von Rossum tutorial, How to think like a python programmer and Python in a Nutshell reference books. With xml books, I’ve found them all fairly useful as background material, but nothing I refer to on a regular basis (admittedly, I haven’t gotten into xml as much as I’d like to). Interestingly, the book I’d really like to have, a collection of documentation for gentoo linux distribution, is still not out. Also, I haven’t seen a decent recent gimp book out (something I really could use). It’s mind-boggling that one of the gimp tutorial writers hasn’t written a screenshot laden guide to gimp.

Probably the books I refer to most often are my apache book, a Mark Sobel linux reference and a webmin how to.

I could really use supplemental material for some of my tasks. I like reference cards (like visibone’s css cards) and have even made some of my own for plone and python. But I quickly find that I’m becoming more dependent on open source documentation sites like the plone documentation site and individual developer’s sites.