Re: Book types most favored

Subject: Re: Book types most favored
From: Jim Grey <jimgrey -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 30 Sep 1996 08:36:00 EST

Tim Altom (taltom -at- iquest -dot- net) asked about one of my favorite subjects:
>There has developed a split in the field of computer books between the
>"get-started" easy books, like the "Dummies" series, and the full-scale
>"kitchen-sink" books like the "Unleashed" series. I think I know why people
>would buy each type, and under what conditions, but I wanted to ask the list
>for input.

>In my case, I usually try to buy a simplified book first, one that's written
>friendly and folksy. That gets me off the ground, after which I usually feel
>the need for a book that has everything in it, just for reference.

>Are others of the same mind, or do you buy one or the other?

I have _Modems For Dummies_ and the authoritative _The Official Hayes Modem
Companion_ on my shelf. When I have modem woes (and who doesn't, from time
to time?), I go to _Modems For Dummies_ first. It is better organized than
_Companion_, and because it is not exhaustive, I find answers in it more
readily. _Companion_ is exhaustive -- it tells me far more than I want to know.

On the other hand, I wouldn't trade my copy of _Windows 95 SECRETS_ for
_Windows 95 For Dummies_. _Windows 95 For Dummies_ is a good book, but it
doesn't have the level of detail I want.

But I'm cheating; I got all of those books for free when I worked for IDG. :)

Because I know what shenanigans go on "in the biz," I always ask around
before I buy a computer book on any subject. Book quality varies wildly,
even within a series. I have some great _Dummies_ books on my shelf. I've
seen some truly awful _Dummies_ books. I've _edited_ some outstanding
books, as well as some horrible books.

Price is also critically important to me. I don't like dropping $40 to $50
on a computer book in the _Unleashed_ or _SECRETS_ size class. I'm much
more willing and likely to spend $20 on a _Dummies_ book. But if a trusted
someone recommends a particular book, I'm likely to buy it regardless of price.

jim grey |beebeebumbleandthestingersmottthehoopleraycharlessingers
jimgrey -at- iquest -dot- net|lonniemackandtwangin'eddiehere'smyringwe'regoingsteadyta
"There. Enough crankiness. Time for more coffee!" - R. Thaler-Carter

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