Attn: Gordon: Your "Electronics for Dummies"

Si Ballenger wrote:


Still, it is a finger in the dike, so to speak. The market for such books is dwindling. Gordon will probably admit it.
At issue is the added value which these books bring. Before the explosion of information on the internet, there was a limited supply of usable and current information available. Publishers made money conveying these works to retail outlets to fulfill demand. These days, demand is so low as the process of shipping materials to retail outlets is barely worth it.
In my business, I have worked with a lot of companies looking at this exact problem and there three basic forms of print media: periodicals and magazines, technical/non-fiction, and fiction.
Fiction is safe. H.G. Wells can be read today, as 100 years ago, and still be valuable as literature. Read page to page while relaxing.
Periodicals and Magazines will die and be replaced with web sites which can be profitable with advertisements and special offers.
Technical and non-fiction works are the most troubling. There is an assumption that there is a "value" to a learned opinion and work, but the question at hand is there a "market" for such work? Unlike a magazine or periodical, technical books are not usually updated every day. Unlike a fiction work, technical and non-fiction works are seldom read page to page and technical works become outdated rather quickly and require updates, further increasing cost and reducing the value of owning a specific printed copy.
So, technical and non-fiction works have all the worst qualities of both. Information likes to be searchable and indexed, books are not. Technical information can change with progress, printed books do not.
The billion dollar question is: How does this form of writing get funded? Can it be funded? Is it a buggywhip problem where there is simply no viable market?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Si Ballenger"

That's probably a good thing to do. A friend of mine here in San Diego got his account temporarily suspended because he had a copy of Borland Delphi on his shareazaa. I guess someone from borland noticed that, called Cox and they suspended the account for a few days as a first time warning.
Since that day, all of us (the san diego brazilian pirates) stopped "sharing" things over the internet. The consequence was that now I bought Delphi and VS2005 instead of downloading.
Cheers
Padu
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I went and took a look out of curiosity - holy crap! That guy oughta be banned for the sheer volume if nothing else - people like him make some newsgroups worthless - or at least not worth the time it takes to scroll all the BS and/or write filters/rules to avoid them. I can understand 1 or 2 chapters to see what the book's like, but even that should be from the publisher / authors. I have a dead, powerless, no brains-on-board robot in the corner with more integrity ...
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's sad - really - but out of personal experience (not with a book but a back then popular shareware) I can tell you that the influence is probably not as big as it seems at first glance. Most people enjoy a book because they can take it with them. I'm quite confident that the wast mojority of those who might download it would never have bought it in the first place.
It's amazing to see that most people actually are honest if the offer (your book) is fairly priced and actualy honner the effort and pay. At least that was the experience I made back then when once my software was posted in a newsgroup. I also remember though how sad I felt back then - that's why I thought to share my experience here.
HTH
Markus
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Markus Zingg wrote:

Markus, Much appreciate your sharing!
I agree that in the scheme of things this one instance doesn't mean a lot. What gets me down is the callous disregard by a small but brazen group to steal from other human beings (forget big corporations, I'm talking individuals), then justify their actions with bogus excuse or another.
-- Gordon
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gordon,
I for one still buy technical books...good technical books.
Your books are good technical books....all of them.
Thanks for the effort....I do alot of technical writing and appreciate the work it takes to make a good technical book.
FWIW
TMT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My sentiments exactly. I have been known to treat anything I find on the web as shareware. I'll download it, with whatever keys or cracks are offered with it, and try it out. If I find it useful, I'll go buy it. If I read through a downloaded book once and then never find use for it again, I delete and move on. In the case of programs, if I use it only a few times, the same deal applies. Delete or go buy.
If I had paid good money just to find out that it wasn't something I'd ever use again, that would have made me rather... perturbed!
What the publishing industry needs if it wants to survive is a machine that can print and bind a single copy of a book, and have it ready to ship to the customer's house next day.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
SumGie wrote:

They've had this for a long while, avtually. Way back in '97 Ingram (a major book distributor), IBM, and Barnes & Noble were in a co-venture to produce such "print on demand" books. The venture is still around, and is still churning out a million+ books per year: https://www.lightningsource.com . I was involved in a startup funded by B&N in 1999-2000 where I packaged several dozen books through this method.
With POD you have the benefit of zero inventory but at a *much* higher unit cost. POD has its place, but like everything else, it's not the one answer to what ails the publishing industry.
-- Gordon
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gordon McComb wrote:

I haven't heard of lightningsource.com but there's a relatively well known company called Lulu that was founded by Bob Young (co-founder of Red Hat). The do exactly what you're suggesting. You can upload your content and anyone who wants to can buy it in a variety of different dead tree forms. There's no cost to the author of any kind for the POD service. If you'd like, they also offer distribution services for a small fee.
http://www.lulu.com /
You can browse available books here:
http://www.lulu.com/browse/homepage.php
If you do a search on robotics, you'll find some interesting stuff.
-Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
R. Steven Rainwater wrote:

Most POD resellers use Lightningsource, which is the actual printer. Outfits like Lulu.com act as middlemen, and Lightningsource is designed to interface with the trade. However, if your book submission meets their technical requirements they'll work with individuals.
Lulu, Cafepress, iUniverse, Xlibris, and a whole slew of others are great if you're doing just one book, and/or you don't want to deal with the mechanics. But if you're going to do several, it pays to get your own block of ISBNs, learn the technical requirements of Lightningsource, and go direct. Rather than paying you a "royalty," you keep 100% of the net price of the book (i.e., minus printing and distribution costs, which you must pay regardless of who's used). You'd be surprised what "free" means to POD resellers.
-- Gordon
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Markus Zingg wrote:

It is also encouraging that MP3 downloads tend to INCREASE CD sales. Every independent study has shown this, it is only studies done by RIAA the try to show differently -- but they focus on previous trends and expected sales, not current trends and economy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mlw wrote:

I think it's more accurate to say MP3 downloads can increase *music* sales, as long as the full album is not widely and freely available elsewhere. The CD is just one delivery mechanism, and its sales are hardly booming these days -- entire CD retailers who have been selling music for decades are shutting down. The per-song download merely replaces the 45 single as a way to promote the full album, but it doesn't work if folks can go online and get a rip of the album for free.
I'm no fan of ther RIAA or its tactics, but I'm not aware they are still against MP3s and music downloads, just unauthorized music downloads.
-- Gordon
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gordon McComb wrote:

This has gotten so far off robotics it isn't funny, but, I think I need to clarify my statements. "illegal" downloads tend to increase sales of music. Time and time again, all statistics indicate that this increases overall music sales. The problem is that some people do not buy the music and simply use the downloaded version, but the flip side of the argument is that other people who would not have otherwise heard the music will and a percentage of them buy.
I dealt with some music creeps a few years back, they wanted to hire me to write bots to populate kazaa and gnutella with bogus music tacks. They are so anal, they can't see the forrest through the trees.
The internet is revolutionary in that it makes old ways of doing business obsolete. Any business model that has to be protected by law and not by economics is eventually going to be a failure.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mlw wrote:

Doesn't this imply that legal downloads would enhance music sales just the same as illegal downloads, assuming a wide enough distribution of the files? I don't think there is anything about the illegal files that makes them a larger contributor to album sales, except that the illegal stuff tends to get traded in ways the prime demographic of music (14-24 year olds) will more likely see. Grandpa isn't typically trolling Gnutella looking for Montovani. The labels are slowly learning how to cope in the Internet age.
Publishers could probably take a cue from the music biz (pun intended) and make more content available, but a surprising amount already is for people who know where to find it. For example, many of the technical books on Amazon are fully indexed and searchable, so you can get a really good sense if it's going to help you.
Your analogy of the record industry is wll taken though, and not at all off-topic. I feel publishers are even more behind the curve than record labels in dealing with business in the Internet age. That's why I'm not writing traditional books at this time. Publishers, especially of non-fiction, are seriously in need of new ideas. However, they are major copycats. Once some folks demonstrate a better method, they will all flock to it.
-- Gordon
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Gordon McComb wrote:

Absolutely not. A lot of people would buy a product if they like it, but won't pay for it if they don't know. The music business does not like the idea that people may listen to music *before* the companies are compensated.
Downloading (illegally, well, actually "fair use") music is a great way to experience new music and a great way to enhance the tastes of listeners.

Trust me, the *LAST* thing civilization needs is the publication business learning from the music and movie industry.
If the publishing business took queues from RIAA and MPAA, looking over someone's shoulder to read a headline of a news paper would be a license violation and punishable by prison time.

The question and fear I have is that they *will* take queues from MPAA and RIAA, lobby for draconian laws and a further assault on the "fair use" doctrine.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Gordon McComb"

This is interesting. The first time I saw that feature on Amazon and subsequently on google, I said: Gee, I'll never buy a book again. I can't speak for everybody neither offer any kind of statistics, but in my case, the opposite happened. I started to buy more books. When I need some information from a book and I check it online and it does solve my problem and I can see it is good quality, I'll buy it right away, even after my problem was already solved. Now, the other side of the coin is that if I see the book is crap, I won't fall into the trap of buying it and then getting frustrated latter.
I think the same is happening with music. I don't need to buy a 16 music CD to get one or two tracks that are really worthwhile. And I think that someday (soon) the artists will realize that and they won't spend time recording crappy musics they know won't sell. So I believe less music will be produced, but with more quality. Also, there is the thing that sometimes you don't buy a CD album because of the music it contains, but because you are a fan. No matter how good or bad it is, I'll buy the latest Pearl Jam album simply because I am their fan, and I can't put an MP3 on my stand.
Piracy will never end. The industry just need to come up with something to avoid mass scale piracy. Who never recorded cassete tapes from radio music before? How's that different from downloading a music from kazaa or similar?
Cheers
Padu
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Padu wrote:

This paragraph makes me shudder, it documents the eventual failure of music as an "art" form. Like most things of cultural import, not all things are snappy and "pop."
Reducing "Abbey Road" to its most popular tracks -- at the time -- eliminates, IMHO, it's worth as art. Pink Floyd's "The Wall" or "Dark Side of the Moon" are works that stand as a whole.
In the old days, the 45 single, was the snappy "pop" song to sell an album. Sure, some people bought just the 45, but a lot of people would buy the album and get more from the artist and the art.
IMHO, what's missing today in the music industry, is the view that it is art. It has been reduced to mere marketable product, leaving uncomfortable things like ideas, messages, and thinking by the wayside.

"Piracy" is a nonsense term created applied to a bogus concept, that people should not share. The history of civilization is that ideas and works need to be shared and economics be damned. Perhaps starving artists, unfortunately, are a real and necessary part of the mix. A person with little to lose is freer to express controversial ideas and concepts than one afraid of losing his [b][m]illion dollar music deal.
There is a HUGE problem right now in this country with the notion of "copyright," and "intellectual property." The original copyright statute was intended to be a limited protection for the author, but balanced for the better good of society. Read Benjamin Franklin's writings on the subject. Today, copyright is being assaulted by Disney and RIAA trying to make it into a form of wealth.
Don't even get me started on patents!!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"mlw"

I don't think you got the essence of what I'm trying to convey.

That's why I have them in vinyl and CD. These are definitely worthy, but I won't buy the latest modest mouse album because of 1 music only. If an artist want me to buy the whole album, then he better create something that's worthy.

That's why I don't buy albums anymore. Eventually there's one or two bands that will produce an album that's really art, others will produce one song that is art, the rest is filling. I don't buy filling.

Piracy is another word for stealing. I am a software engineer, and sometimes I produce software that is for share and some other times that is not for share. The latest is the one that pays my bills, and I'm not willing to share it. If someones insists in "sharing" a software that I'm not willing to share, than it is stealing.
If we lived in a communist (in the "community" sense) where the government would provide me everything I need to live with confort, than I would share anything I'd produce. Blame the system, not me. IMHO, if you are in a capitalist regime, be a capitalist. If you are in a socialist regime, be a socialist.

I agree that copyrighting an idea is complicated, but a song or an executable are not ideas, they are concrete objects made of 1's and 0's. I don't see them different from an MP3 player or a bottle of water.
Cheers
Padu
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
: Piracy is another word for stealing. I am a software engineer, and sometimes
Piracy is not the same as stealing, in a very important sense: When I steal something from you, you don't have it any more. When I make an illegal copy, you still have your original.
This is not to say it is right -- any more than stealing is OK because it's not murder. :-)
--
==========================================================
Chris Candreva -- snipped-for-privacy@westnet.com -- (914) 967-7816
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Christopher X. Candreva wrote:

Rethink this. Hard or soft goods, you're not stealing a *thing*, you're taking away from a person the *value* of the thing. When software is pirated you are depriving the creator -- more often than not an individual or a small company -- from the livlihood they would have made with the sale. It's no different than stealing money out of their wallet. You receive the value of the creation, but they get bupkis.
Some argue that they wouldn't have paid for the software (or whatever) in the first place. In which case they don't need it enough to either buy it or steal it. Leave it alone, and let the people who want it buy it. Or let it languish unbought, if it's trash. These days with so much available legally for free on the Internet any excuses for piracy is just so much drivel.

WTFF do I care if I still have my original? -- in my case, a manuscript. I'm in the specific business of selling the copies! To an author or artist this argument makes zero sense.
-- Gordon
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.