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LinuxPlanet: The StartX Files: Why Johnny Can't Read Linux Books

Jun 04, 2001, 13:16 (32 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

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Lately you may have noticed a few less Linux books on the shelves of your local bookseller: Brian Proffitt explains that this is the result of a fickle publishing industry ever looking for the next big thing, and the self-reliant/self-documenting Linux community itself. Here's an insider's view from a published Linux author.

...But the Dummies series has just about reached its saturation point on the market, if it hasn't already. There are some good books in the series, even today. But I think the series pretty well went over the edge with the best seller Sex for Dummies. Since I am a big believer in natural selection, the thought of people needing a beginner's guide to sex was a bit off-putting, to say the least.

Okay, cheap shot. But you see what I mean about saturation.

Now Hungry Minds is scrambling around trying to find the next Big Thing. And so is every single one of its competitors. Not just for series, mind you, but for topic ideas as well. About two years ago, the potential Big Thing was Linux.

And the publishing companies poured their resources into this (to them) fledgling technology. (That statement alone shows how much trouble they were in for.) As more and more users were migrating to Linux, they reasoned, they would need books to help guide them on their way.

On the surface, this is a logical argument. It might have been true, once upon a time. But just below the surface was some hard reality that the publishing houses would have to face up to.

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