What The Reader Wants

If you still want to sell books just remember this:

  • I have never found a book with an index that listed up the 5 most relevant words.
  • I am not interested in your life, your family, your prof, your funny jokes or what you had for lunch. No prologue, no preamble, no preface, no introduction, no proem and no whatsoever I don’t care about. If I want to read stories, I buy books about stories.
  • I want a book that is complete in itself, when I see that book in an online store and just below the corrections, I will not buy it. Work hard and you will deserve my money I worked hard for.
  • I will not buy a book that is just in my shelf behind me to impress my customers in my office.
  • I need a reference, a book that is so well organised that I can find information faster than if I had to read all top 5 links provided by google.
  • I have never managed to compile given code in the way it was described in books, not even when the compiler was on the same cd in the envelope, necessary adjustments and customising had always to be done.

If you want to sell me books, make it worth it ..

Harry Pachty commenting on Mark Pilgrim’s The “book” is dead post which was in response to David Flanagan’s post about the piracy of his Javascript books.

2 thoughts on “What The Reader Wants

  1. Is it acceptable if the book is complete by itself but provides links to additional information? Seems like information changes so fast that providing links that can be updated later is a good way to keep the book relevant.

    • Yes. I like these points because they dispel some of the myth of what a book is and how what they means to people is changing.

      The only thing I would add is that short print runs let the book be updated more often. If what we wrote was important, let keep finding ways to update it in all its formats.

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