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I buy some tech books, but only in digital format. When learning new technology I'll have the book open on a tablet while I work. This is not as convenient as a hardcopy book, it's easy to read but hard to pick through. OTOH, I've always got a 100+ books in my pocket.
Most of my career was spent as a consultant. When I needed a book, I convinced the client to buy it. When I moved on to a new assignment, the book remained the client's property. Which was fine -- I got the book I needed, I didn't have to pay for it, and when I moved to a new assignment the book was either outdated or I was now working in a different technology. On a few occasions I convinced the new client to get the book I had left behind. This strategy was a win for both sides.
Now days when I need to learn a new technology (which is often) I go to SyncFusion and look at their Succinctly books. They are free -- quick primers to get started in a new technology.
Once I have the basics of a technology, I rarely crack books. Online searches work much better for solving problems, but not for learning.
My employer pays for PluralSight, so I use videos sometimes. That's good for an overview, but for hard learning I need to play with the tinkertoys ...
Great post and a lot of interesting details of your experience with books.
When I needed a book, I convinced the client to buy it
That's interesting and amazing to me...that the client would buy them and that they wouldn't necessarily be concerned that you didn't "already know everything". I'm sure this is due to your relationship with the clients.
Way back around 1999 or so a company I worked for bought us a subscription for the Safari Bookshelf. It mostly contained the O'Reilly books which was really great anyways.
I've been a member since then because every book you can imagine is basically available on there.
I am on an old 10 book thing were a book has to stay on the shelf for 30 days but you can cycle them on regularly. It's only $19.95/month and you can read just about any book you will find. There's something like 16,000 books on there and they're fast at adding them.
PluralSight, so I use videos sometimes. That's good for an overview,
I feel that same way there. Videos are sometimes more annoying than books because you can't easily find the section of the stuff that you want to learn. I always play pluralsight videos at 1.7x their normal speed.
reat post and a lot of interesting details of your experience with books.
Glad you liked it!
Some clients were a hard sell on buying books, but when I told them that I had no intention of keeping the books, it helped. This way they had a library of books for the technologies they used.
Safari Bookshelf looks interesting, but I don't read enough books to justify the price. It might be a good idea for an employer, depending on situation.
Funny story -- some years back I worked with a guy who constantly bought books and never discarded any. When he moved offices (he was FTE) his books took 40+ copier paper boxes to move. It took him a couple of days to pack his books, move them, and unpack/arrange. His new office was 30' down the hallway ...
I asked him why he didn't get rid of books on ancient technology (well, ancient in IT terms) that he hadn't touched in over 10 years and never would again. His response? "Do you have any idea what I paid for those books??!!!"
I used old books for target practice with a .44 magnum. It's quite instructive. We got to see bullet paths through the thick books -- perfect bore through the front (looked like a drill did it) for a couple of inches then rips the back out with a huge hole after the bullet becomes deformed.
Very cool science. Since I had a lot of tech books stacked in front of each other we were able to "capture" the bullets and see how deformed they become.
I'm currently working on a hard copy, print published book for Packt, so there are obviously books still being sold in enough volume that the publishers are still confident getting authors on board to write content.
However, MOST of the content I actually get paid to write comes in one of two forms.
1) Very short, quick learning books, typically only released as eBooks, that I get paid a one off for and the company hiring me get to keep all copyrights. These books typically are used for pure marketing purposes, and are often given away free. The daily build news letter from CP, often has a few linked in it. The purpose of these books is simple. For the reader, they are quick to consume, quick to learn from, and in the case of some publishers (That don't cater to developers, but to CEO's, CTO's etc) they are designed to get non techs to a level where they at least sort of understand what the techs are on about.
2) Paid blogging. Pure and simple. Most of the sites I blog for are media outlets, they make thier money from advertising, but people won't come to view the adverts unles there is suitable content for them to visit the site. An awfull lot of these sites, are happy to go for the lowest common denomitator they can, and often pick up citizen developers at half the price folks like me charge, who then write content that's only just enough plausible to look as though it's true fact.
For the "in print" books, I typically don't get paid, well not in the "truest sense", that is I don't get X amount per hour for writing Y, typically the publisher will make a guess at how many thier going to sell, and give me a slice of those royaties up front.
What then happens is I get none of the royalties from the sales until that amount exceeds what I was given upfront.
So, if I get say £5000 (Yes I'm in the UK... deal with it ), but the book never makes any more than £2000 it sales, then I come out on top.
If I get £5000, and the book makes £10000, the I'll see another £5000.
Note that I picked those figures out the air, it's not typically a fixed portion of successive royalties, it's typically a single fixed pre payment, then a given percentage after that.
So I might make £5000 up front, but on £10k worth of sales the % might be lower and I might make only £2k, things are often stacked in favour of the publishing house for in print books.
So what's my actual point.
Many tech authors don't do in print titles any more simply beacuse it's not worth thier while, The book I'm on with will only net me some nice income if it sells in excess of about 30,000 copies.
Since it's a .NET core 3 title, I and the publisher do expect it to sell quite a lot, as where hoping to release when DNC3 goes first public release.
In general though, writing in print books really doesn't bring in a huge amount these days, unless (as has beenpointed out) you have what's called a perpetual title, that continues to sell in absence of any particular technology or platform.
The money is to be made in short marketing focused titles and paid blogging, but beacuse of the lack of a royalty scheme with these titles, you generally have to spend more hours writing if you want to use it to provide a full time income.
Hopefully this has given you guys a little bit of an insight into the current state of the market from a writers point of view.
OK, so I cloned the tiny 1TB disc on this lappy to a 2TB one (which is pretty much the smallest that's not a PITA for me), and got a huge boost in file-op speed because of the bigger cache and general "I'm a sh1tload better than that old cr@p disc you had before" element, and that's cool.
But the big thing is that I accidentally hovered over a username in the Lounge, and the user pop-up thingy popped up!\
I haven't seen them on this lappy, before, so I just assumed it was because I had, yet again, changed my default browser.
And this is a clone, remember, so it should behave exactly the same!
So I'm chuffed pink!
The next time I want to make a snarky remarkwrite an intelligent comment about a the superbowl not being played in Australia, for example, I'll have more information on hand, to help perfect the snarkconfirm the appropriateness of what I write!
I wanna be a eunuchs developer! Pass me a bread knife!
For the difference SSDs make to what I do, they're not worth the loss of disc space (or the price for the space I need).
E.g. I booted this machine yesterday, because I installed a new disc. It won't be booted again until it absolutely has to be (read: only ever because of poorly-made windows updates), so boot-up and load-up times of apps don't bother me, and I'm maxed out on memory, so normal running/restarting apps wouldn't be much affected by an SSD.
SSDs are fine if you shut down your machine often and you don't need a lot of space, but they don't make too much difference, otherwise.
I wanna be a eunuchs developer! Pass me a bread knife!
On my nice fast machine running firefox, after a new page, I see a brief flash as the popup appears then disapears, then all hovers after that result in a tiny (what looks like) 1px black dot about 10px the to and left of the user name, which vanishes when I move away.
F5 refresh the page, get the flash again (Literally half a second or less) then black dot.
".45 ACP - because shooting twice is just silly" - JSOP, 2010 ----- You can never have too much ammo - unless you're swimming, or on fire. - JSOP, 2010 ----- When you pry the gun from my cold dead hands, be careful - the barrel will be very hot. - JSOP, 2013