On 8/4/06, Rob Sanheim <rsanheim / gmail.com> wrote:
> [snip]
>
> I don't know if any O'Reilly authors read this list, but maybe this
> thread should be sent on to the authors of the Cookbook or someone
> else at O'Reilly.  Seems they are missing what the market wants.
> - Rob

I think they already know that many readers want pdf's. But they have
to balance that with knowledge that many other folks (some of them
prospective buyers of the book) will just copy and freely distribute
the pdf if one were made available. It's probably just a business
decision for them: do they make more sales by offering the
complimentary pdf, or do they lose more because people will share it
online.

Since a pdf is more of a convenience rather than a necessity for (I'm
guessing) the majority of folks interested in their books, they
probably try to stick to paper books.

Since one big benefit right now of a pdf is searchability, if I were
Oreilly, I'd focus on making their paper books easier to search by
humans (i.e.,

* even better (or perhaps multiple) indexes,

* maybe using those edge-of-page marks so you can more easily flip
quickly to the chapter you're looking for,

* easily human-scannable table of contents (and maybe even adding a
"contents at a glance" along with a more detailed TOC)).

The nutshell books seem to have more features like this. As for the
other big benefit -- portability -- I guess we're stuck there. I drag
a number of books to and fro work most days.

BTW, one of the things I like most about my books is that I can mark
them up with highlighter or pencil.

---John