Beefy Boxes and Bandwidth Generously Provided by pair Networks
more useful options
 
PerlMonks  

Re^3: Perl books I'd like to have

by tlm (Prior)
on May 17, 2005 at 09:16 UTC ( #457712=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^2: Perl books I'd like to have
in thread Perl books I'd like to have.

By definition the applications I have in mind are bigger and/or described at a greater level of detail than could reasonably fit into a magazine article. By "greater level of detail" I mean full source code, in which every module, subroutine, and variable is described. I don't think there is anything like this in the market at the moment, in any language, but years ago I saw a book that described, at this level of detail, how to implement an RDBMS in C. The typical chapter described a module of the program: the specs, the important design options and tradeoffs that had to be considered, and finally the gory details of the implementation, function by function and struct by struct. One could think of it as the programming equivalent of a kit for the weekend hobbyist to build a working car or airplane, providing every nut and bolt for it, and a diagram of where each goes.

the lowliest monk

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re^4: Perl books I'd like to have
by merlyn (Sage) on May 17, 2005 at 13:05 UTC
    Ahh, I'm actually thinking of a book like that for a typical 10-page web-based application, using CGI::Prototype, Template::Toolkit, and Class::DBI. Well, not exactly thinking of it... more like being encouraged strongly by my clients to write such a book to give a broader overview than all the details that are out there so far.

    The problem with books is that unless your book is wildly successful, you end up getting paid roughly minimum wage to write it. And no, I'm not kidding. I could make more money flinging hamburgers than writing some of the books I've written. {grin}

    So, the purpose of writing a book is to act as a credential, or to be done as a labor of love, or to support a class as a textbook. I already spend time here (and everywhere else) as a labor of love, so I'm sort of labored out there. And I really don't need another credential.

    The third option is intriguing, but I'm not sure what the classroom sales would be of a course that covers the "small web app" market. The problem isn't that there aren't a lot of people doing it: there are! The problem is getting 10 to 20 of them in the same room for a week. Ugh.

    -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
    Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

      And no, I'm not kidding. I could make more money flinging hamburgers than writing some of the books I've written. {grin}

      Why not self-publish? I know of one person who makes a good bit of money by selling his own books online as PDF files. Certainly, he sells much fewer copies than even a weak O'Reilly title, but his profit margin is almost 100%. And yes, the final product isn't as polished as an O'Reilly book, but who cares? Your audience is used to slogging through man pages and source code. They won't miss the fancy graphics and the cutesy bear-trap icons.

      the lowliest monk

        Why not self-publish? I know of one person who makes a good bit of money by selling his own books online as PDF files.
        Well, let's do the math on that.

        I'd have to put in the same amount of work. In fact, I'd probably have to put in more, and almost certainly hire professional illustrators and copy editors to do the work that O'Reilly is providing for me. So, my sunk cost is higher, not lower.

        Next, because I'm self publishing, I'm not going to sell anywhere near as many copies as I would get because O'Reilly isn't out there pimping it for me. In fact, I'd say the figure goes down to about 10% of being published by O'Reilly. But, just for grins, let's call it 20%, because I'm a hell of a self marketer (let's say).

        Now, in the current scheme, I'm already getting about $2.50 a book from O'Reilly. So, let's just say I charge $3 per PDF instead, so that minus the overhead of setting up websites and credit card fulfillment systems, I'm still getting the same per book. But oops, I've just cut the number of sales by 80%.

        Do the math. I've just made 1/5th of what i did before. If it was minimum wage before, and now I'm putting in even more time, and getting far less back, that's like subminimum wage.

        OK, so let's charge more per PDF copy: say $10. At that point, many people will start saying "screw it... I'll pirate a copy from my friends... I know he got one last week". So my sales go back down. $5 is probably a sweet spot there, for a softcopy.

        And if we go back to hardcopy using an on-demand printer, then they're likely to pay $15, of which I get about $5 again at best.

        The math doesn't add up. People really underestimate the value of having a good publisher to pimp and clean up your book and legitimize your offering. Self-publishing is a nightmare. Just ask my friend Wil Wheaton about the difference between his self-published Dancing Barefoot vs having had O'Reilly pick it up. And he has a huge built-in marketing channel.

        Ask your friend about how many hours he really put in to the book, and what his true rate of return is. I think you'll find that he'll agree here.

        We write technical books as a labor of love, or for a credential, or for classroom support. But never as a way to make a living (except indirectly in support of consulting or training practices).

        To make a living writing books, you've got to end up on the NYT best seller's list at least once or twice. {grin}

        -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker
        Be sure to read my standard disclaimer if this is a reply.

Log In?
Username:
Password:

What's my password?
Create A New User
Node Status?
node history
Node Type: note [id://457712]
help
Chatterbox?
and all is quiet...

How do I use this? | Other CB clients
Other Users?
Others taking refuge in the Monastery: (2)
As of 2018-07-23 06:06 GMT
Sections?
Information?
Find Nodes?
Leftovers?
    Voting Booth?
    It has been suggested to rename Perl 6 in order to boost its marketing potential. Which name would you prefer?















    Results (459 votes). Check out past polls.

    Notices?