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Henry King
Henry King

Addison Wesley Ebook Buy

For a full-time technologist, I can be remarkably ludditlysometimes. Even as 2009 drew to a close, I was resisting getting holdof an ebook reader. While the weight of the traditional paper readerwas a drag, I appreciated its lack of DRM and the battery life too muchto switch to an electronic form. Now a year later, I prefer to buybooks in electronic form. I only get paper for a book I really wantand can't get virtually.

addison wesley ebook buy

My initial revelation was the iPad. Although I hadexpected to like the device, I was surprised by how much I likedit. After a few months of using it I decided to get a Kindle as well. I did this in the fullknowledge that it was really a waste, since the kindle software on theiPad did everything I needed, but as an author I wanted to get a feelof what many readers would be using. What I discovered was that thekindle was so light (and small) that I find I carry it with me ontrips in addition to the iPad. It contributes negligible extraweight, and its lightness makes it more comfortable to read prosebooks.

One definite change I made with this book was to number mysections. In the past I've not done this, as people can refer tosomething within the book by a page number. But since ebooks don'thave pages, I now need a regular way to point into the book. Mostlythis does not affect the design of the book, since section numbers andcross-references can easily be automatically generated in theproduction software, but it does make a subtle difference. In P ofEAA, my chapters were groups of related patterns. However if I didthat I'd end up with subsections with 4 part numbers ( which Iprefer to avoid. So for the DSL book I gave each pattern its ownchapter. This led to lots of chapters, but allowed me to retain 3 partsection numbers throughout the book. My suspicion is that we'll findmore of these subtle interactions between the logical structure of abook and the way that structure plays out in its variousrepresentations. While it's nice to focus on logical structure in away that's independent of its presentation, there are always caseslike this that disturb the comfortable abstraction. [2]

The other thought is go beyond the ebook formats themselves andpublish material as a tablet app - which allows full use of the capabilitiesof the platform itself. At the moment I'm not tempted by this. There'stoo much churn the in app formats - and when I'm working on a book Iwant something that will last for a decade or so. This does, however,raise some interesting questions of what can be done with relativelyopen formats, such as HTML 5, and a tablet form factor. Or perhapssome specialized variant of book format for particular kinds ofbook.[3]

The alternative is for publishers to get a direct relationship withreaders. A great example of a company doing this is the PragmaticProgrammers (usually referred to as the "prags"). The best way to buyan ebook from the prags is to go directly to their website. Once youget the book you can download it in multiple formats: PDF, epub, andkindle. You can download it as often as you like and in as manyformats as you like. You can get a paper copy too at a reducedprice. I really like that I can read their books in multiple formatseasily. And I'm sure their authors like the fact that they get moremoney by disintermediating the distributors.

One of the open questions around all this is what does the readerbuy? The traditional approach is that the reader pays for therepresentation of a book, each physical copy of a book is a separatething to pay for. The Prags' model is different, when I buy an ebookfrom them I am buying access to the content of the book - and I cantake as many representations (epub, kindle, etc) as I like. The onlyrepresentation I pay extra for is the paper one, should I wish to haveit.

The demands of ebooks places a lot of pressure on the production process. If you want to be able to produce output for multiple different formats easily, you need a highly automated process. Furthermore the source files for that process need to be based on the semantic structure of the book, as opposed to its physical representation on paper.

Here again the prags have led the way (in no small part because they are programmers themselves). They have built up a complete tool-chain that goes from an XML source file that captures the semantic structure of the book and can produce camera-ready output for print and multiple ebook formats. On top of that they make use of source control on the book text itself to enhance collaboration during the book production process.

Self-publishing has always had a reputation of being for cranks, yet there are some well regarded exceptions - Edward Tufte is a good example. With ebooks there is much more of an argument for self-publishing. There's a growing segment of authors like Amanda Hocking and Joe Konrath who are doing well selling lots of copies of very cheap books (under $5). By self-publishing there may be a route to lower the prices of books to the reader and still getting more than the traditional route offers. (An author usually gets about 5-10% of the cover price of a book.)

And that's without even considering cases where the physical representation is part of the book's design. In Refactoring, the opening chapter uses the left and right pages to show before and after code segments. I like how that worked really well, but it's impossible to do with ebooks.

As I continue to write Volumes 4 and 5, I'll need to refer to topics thatbelong logically in Volumes 1--3 but weren't invented yet when I wrote thosebooks. Instead of putting such material artificially into Volumes 4 or 5,I'll put it into fascicle form. The first such fascicle is in factready now (see above): It describesMMIX,a RISC machine that is used in Volume 4A; MMIX will alsotake the place of MIX in all subsequent editionsof Volumes 1, 2, and 3. 041b061a72


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