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Suggestion for a Book Series

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In case people like me comprise a market of significant size, here's what I'd like to see:

The "200 pages of ..." series

200 pages of Linux
200 pages of JXTA

The idea is to target experienced or semi-experienced developers who are too busy to read 800 pages, no matter how good the book. The 200 pages should provide IN DEPTH coverage of the material (to whatever degree 200 pages permits). In other words, it should be the opposite of Sam's SQL in ten minutes, or the "for dummies" series. Instead, it's highly dense and highly relevant material (although it assumes on prior knowledge of the target technology).

I'm tired of getting to page 150, and realizing I only learned 5 pages of useful material, plus how many track medals the author won in high school. When will publishers learn that technical people don't have hours and hours to sit around in casual dialogue with a technical author? Sorry if that's rude, but I get the feeling most books are too long simply because there aren't enough authors who are talented at both technology and writing. And believe me, I understand how difficult good writing is. But somehow I think that if someone could solve this problem, they'd make a decent chunk of change. (Or maybe vendors should subsidize this series, requiring authors to pass a standardized writing course before getting the job. Plus they should have specialized software to help with the task. For example, if a vocab word is tagged like this: {vocabularyword}process{/vocabularyword}, then the software would automatically notify the author if the word "process" appears anywhere in the text before it has been defined for the reader. I guess it just seems like there's no standardization out there. When you go to Outback Steakhouse, you know exactly what you are going to get. That's the point of franchises - you see the sign, you buy - because you've tried it before and you know it's going to meet your needs. I think O'Reilly has attempted this kind of standardization, but they've yet to achieve it. Some O'Reilly books get right to the point while others ramble. Somehow they need to provide more standardization or automation for the authoring process.)

The Head First series provides an excellent example of what technical books should be. Those books are long, but there's no extraneous material. (Even the repetition is helpful, as it seems carefully thought out to occur only when repetition is needed or appropriate.)

Anyway, don't mean to rave here. I'm just wondering if the 200 dense pages series would be useful for people like me who want to become "versed" in something fast, and who plan to become an "expert" the way most people become an expert - on the job training.
[ September 07, 2004: Message edited by: Wally Flint ]
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