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Date: 2007-05-23 (04:47)
From: Paul Snively <psnively@m...>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Book sales
Since we seem to be airing our opinions here, I'd like to take the  
opportunity to add mine.

I purchased Jon Harrop's book, am glad that I did, and have never  
minded his occasional reminders to the list that it exists. I'd also  
like to note that he has made chapters and some code freely available  
so that people can judge the likely merits of the book before  
purchase and can gain some understanding of the kind of material that  
will be covered. There's no question in my mind that this fills a  
void; it's important to a language that it not be perceived as a  
"toy," and demonstrating O'Caml's applicability to scientific  
computing, as opposed to its more obviously natural habitats such as  
compiler-writing and theorem proving, seems like a good thing.

By contrast, Dr. Harrop's critics seem to take issue with the notion  
that Dr. Harrop might actually make a profit, either directly or  
indirectly, from this. While I appreciate that the list is primarily  
a mutual information-sharing resource, I have difficulty seeing  
anything wrong with periodically informing people that there is at  
least one commercial resource available for those such as myself who  
desire it. In any case, for those who feel that way, it would seem  
that the simple solution of filtering Dr. Harrop's messages would be  
sufficient recourse.

Best regards,
Paul Snively

On May 22, 2007, at 5:20 PM, Oliver Bandel wrote:

> On Wed, May 23, 2007 at 12:54:11AM +0100, Jon Harrop wrote:
>> Tim O'Reilly recently published an article about book sales and, in
>> particular, gave a breakdown of units sold per programming language:
>>   http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/05/state_of_the_co_10.html
>> As the author and publisher of a book on OCaml, this naturally  
>> caught my eye.
>> So I spent some time dissecting the results and the conclusions  
>> were quite
>> interesting:
>>   http://ocamlnews.blogspot.com/2007/05/ocaml-revolution.html
>> Most notably, we are outselling APress in terms of units sold.  
>> Also, the OCaml
>> community is desperately short of cheap introductory books.
>> I should also note that the publication of Practical OCaml, rather  
>> than
>> reducing our sales due to competition, actually increased our sales
>> substantially. This indicates to me that the OCaml market is  
>> sufficiently
>> small that there is no risk of competition and anything done to  
>> promote the
>> language improves the situation for others in the community.
>> Consequently, I would like to encourage any budding authors to  
>> write books on
>> OCaml and help to promote the language.
> [...]
> So your mail is not altruism ;-)
> For my taste you too often mention your book here in this list....
> it's ok, if you tell it once or twice, but this is not your personal
> advertising channel.
> Why don't you pay the television for sending advertising spots on  
> your book?!
> Ciao,
>    Oliver
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