In article <Xns9312680B280CprobertmNOSPAMacmorg / 47.129.29.57>,
Mark Probert  <probertm / NOSPAM_acm.org> wrote:
>Rubyists,
>
>I have recently had a very interesting discussion with
>a book publisher about Ruby and Ruby books.  One of the
>things that he mentioned is that Ruby books are not
>really selling many copies.

I am having similar discussions with a publisher who is raising similar 
questions...

>
>Do any of the authors on this list have any comments on
>the truth of this statement?  

I think the statement is generally true: in the US, anyway,  Ruby books 
are not flying off the shelves...

>Anyone care to speculate
>as to what may be the cause and what we could do?

One datapoint: I've been told by someone in the industry that last year 
sales of technical books were down by ~35% from the year before and the 
year before (2001) they were down ~15% from the year before that.

I think the recession has to by playing a part- though that's not the 
whole reason.

>
>One comment was that the presence of the Pickaxe book,
>a truely excellent book, at no cost, is having an impact.

I really doubt that the fact that the Pickaxe is available for free is 
impacting sales of other Ruby titles all that much (or sales of the paper 
Pickaxe either for that matter).  In some ways you could look at the 
Pickaxe as potentially helping sales of other more specific Ruby books 
because it brings people into the Ruby 'fold'.

>
>Personally, I would like to see more books on Ruby. More
>shelf space can create more mind-share.  -laugh- Or is
>it the other way around?

Well, it's a classic chicken-or-egg problem.  We do need more Rubyists to 
support more Ruby books.  More people will try Ruby if they see a shelf 
full of Ruby books down at their local bookstore.

But as far as sales of Ruby books go, I think there are two major factors:
1) the recession has hit all technical book sales and since the market for 
Ruby books was already relatively small it's had a proportionately greater 
impact.
2) We need more Rubyists in the US (Sales of Ruby books in Japan seem to 
be fine...)

Phil
-- 
"Or perhaps the truth is less interesting than the facts?" 
Amy Weiss (accusing theregister.co.uk of engaging in 'tabloid journalism')
Senior VP, Communications
Recording Industry Association of America