Fun_People Archive
28 Jan
Books -- Bulk Over Content?

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 99 15:36:42 -0800
To: Fun_People
Precedence: bulk
Subject: Books -- Bulk Over Content?

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649

From: Todd Larason
On 990122, Christopher R. Maden wrote:
> I have noticed that some publishers seem to value bulk over content.
> In fact, take a look at the paper quality next time: many use thicker
> paper to pump up the width of the book.

Kernighan and Ritchie's _The C Programming Language_, 2/ed, clocks in at a
mere 272 pages, and has been available for the past 10 years as a very thin
book.  The first edition of this book was the definitive guide to the
language prior to the 1989 standard; the 2nd edition is widely regarded as
one of the best 2-3 books on the language (one of the others, Harbison and
Steele's _C: A Reference Manual_ is 455 pages, but also printed on very thin

The latest printing of K&R was on noticably thicker paper, for no stated
reason.  Dennis Ritchie speculates in that it was a marketing
decision, to stand out better among the current giant books.

From: Steve Lamont
Re:  books by the pound
> It is universally accepted truth in the SA community that once upon a
> time you could buy a new O'Reilly book based simply on the publisher 'cos
> you KNEW it was going to be chock full of usefulness.  NOW you gotta read
> the ToC and selected chunks of text, just like any other publisher.

Since we're ragging on O'Reilly at the moment, let me toss another tome upon
the flames -- _Programming Python_.  Did all the O'Reilly editors go out on
strike or {mat,pat}ernity leave and hand the place over to the gang at  What's with the damned smiley faces and dumb Python
(Monty) ripoffs?  One or two might have been tolerable but the whole book
is stuffed with them.  If I want the Dead Parrot sketch, I'll pop the tape
into the VCR, thank you.

Ah.  All better now.

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