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Which Publisher?

By Paul Dunne in News
Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 10:26:33 AM EST
Tags: Books (all tags)
Books

What publishers do kuro5hin readers favour? We all know O'Reilly is the best, but what about the others? Are there some you'd gladly turn to if there wasn't an O'Reilly book on the subject, and others where your reaction is, "I don't like to touch that stuff with my hands"?


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Which Publisher? | 28 comments (28 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
This question is a bit too vague. D... (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by raph on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 04:17:01 AM EST

raph voted 0 on this story.

This question is a bit too vague. Don't buy a book based on the publisher any more than you would based on the cover. Sheesh. Other publishers I like are Addison-Wesley, which is probably the most credible publisher of academic computer science books, and Morgan Kaufmann, if for no other reason than doing such a good job on Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing. Graphics Press is a fabulous small publisher, as well. Foobar!

Re: This question is a bit too vague. D... (none / 0) (#9)
by Paul Dunne on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 10:38:51 AM EST

Of course no-one would buy a book just because it's from a certain publisher. The question I'm asking is, what publishers have the reputation, like O'Reilly, of producing consistently high-quality books? With an O'Reilly book, for example, you know that you are getting the right stuff. This is important, because you wouldn't be buying a computer book unless you didn't know that much about the subject. You could wait for the reviews, of course, but they aren't always reliable.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Let's see... for computer books, OR... (4.00 / 1) (#1)
by rusty on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 05:02:10 AM EST

rusty voted 1 on this story.

Let's see... for computer books, ORA hands-down. However, I personally don't read all that many computer books, so I'm just gonna go straight to more pleasant reading.

For Po-mo type theory and essays, Routledge is one of the best. For fiction, Vintage paperbacks are usually very high quality, as are Penguin Books (plus, y'know, gratuitous penguin!)

I bet this isn't the type of publisher you had in mind, but hey, we all need to broaden our horizons a little :-)

Oh, yeah, and City Lights Publishers for keeping pretty much everything Georges Bataille ever wrote in print. "The Story of the Eye" is actually online, in it's entirety now, but you're really gonna have to find that yourself. And don't tell them I sent you. ;-)

____
Not the real rusty

Re: Let's see... for computer books, OR... (none / 0) (#10)
by Paul Dunne on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 12:51:17 PM EST

> For Po-mo type theory and essays, Routledge is one of the best. For
> fiction, Vintage paperbacks are usually very high quality, as are
> Penguin Books (plus, y'know, gratuitous penguin!)

I find I only really pay attention to the imprint when it's a computer book I'm considering. I find with say, a novel, that it is either the writer's name, or the impression I get from reading here and there in the book while in the store, that decides the issue. I would think the majority of my books are cheap Penguin paperbacks, but to me that doesn't say anything about the publisher. Although, it should be noted that Penguin do have an honourable history, being the first mass-publisher of quality paperbacks in Britain.

> I bet this isn't the type of publisher you had in mind, but hey, we
> all need to broaden our horizons a little :-)
What, you mean there's life outside this 38-line, white on blue (think /bin/setterm) screen? Nah.... You've been reading too much sci-fi, Rusty...

> Oh, yeah, and City Lights Publishers for keeping pretty much
> everything Georges Bataille ever wrote in print. "The Story of the
> Eye" is actually online, in it's entirety now, but you're really gonna
> have to find that yourself. And don't tell them I sent you. ;-)

I struggled through a very large work by Bataille some years ago, even the name of which I can no longer recall. Sub-Joycean, I remember deciding. Céline is the only French writer from this century worth reading, I think (although I liked Sartre and Camus when 17 -- but doesn't everyone at that age?).
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]

Re: Let's see... for computer books, OR... (none / 0) (#12)
by Skippy on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 02:14:35 PM EST

Well as long as we're doing non-computer books :-) Shambhala Publications usually has good stuff on eastern religion/phillosophy just stay away from the translations by Cleary. Harper Perennial usually has good lightweight general philosophy.
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
[ Parent ]
Re: Let's see... for computer books, OR... (1.00 / 1) (#16)
by FlinkDelDinky on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 03:48:23 PM EST

You know, I don't care for Shambhala Publications because I got pissed off at
their 'Art of War' by Sun Tzu translation.  I forgot what got my blood boiling
about it but I remember thinking that it had been edited for flower children.

I forget the name of the translator who did my favorite translation but he was
some type of U.S. Military officer.  I think his last name was Griffin???  Any
way, back then (about 10 years ago) his translation was a pretty small black
and red book.

"The Art of War" rocks though.	Read any translation you can get your hands on.


[ Parent ]
Re: Let's see... for computer books, OR... (none / 0) (#18)
by Skippy on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 07:26:16 PM EST

I did. Actually I was too cheap to buy it so I read the Project Gutenberg version on my Palm Pilot. It was VERY good but I don't know the text well enough to judge the quality of the translation. I find that modern translators usually add a TON of fluff to their books which really pisses me off. I want the text, not their commentary. Grrrr. For example, the Ellen Chen translation of the Tao Te Ching is very good, but it ends up being a 200+ page book. (For those unfamiliar with the text, the original is 81 one-page chapters leaving about 150 pages of commentary).

I'll bet dimes to dollars the Shambhala version of The Art of War you picked up was translated by Cleary. He did a version published by them. Can't stand the guy's translations. They're very scholarly and the translation itself is always very literal, but the man makes EVERYTHING dry. Its like eating an entire box of saltines without a drink.

And just out of curiosity, what are you doing with the formatting of your text? Its barely readable in any of my browsers. :-( Good conversation though.
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
[ Parent ]

Re: Let's see... for computer books, OR... (1.00 / 1) (#19)
by FlinkDelDinky on Sat Apr 08, 2000 at 01:25:52 AM EST

Well, my text was in regular format and not HTML. I'll put this one in HTML and you can tell me if the text looks better.

Unfortunately I don't do html so I don't know the codes yet.

I also read the Project Gutenberg which is very much like the translation I liked. I'm also very cheap but ten years ago I didn't have the net to go browsing around.



[ Parent ]

Re: Let's see... for computer books, OR... (none / 0) (#22)
by Skippy on Sat Apr 08, 2000 at 11:21:08 AM EST

Project Gutenberg is a great resource. The have thousands of free, public domain texts in raw ASCII text for download. If you're too cheap to buy a book, get an e-text there. Since I'm sure there are some non-Linux/Unix people here, another great publisher is the The Linux Documentation Project which serves up free technical e-texts in various formats including PDF to print out if you are one of those hardcopy-needing people :-)

As for your post, much better. I can read it now. The only HTML tags you need for posting are <br>, which makes a line break, and <p>, which is a paragraph break that puts a blank line between paragraphs. If you really want to get fancy, you can do <i>italic</i> or <b>boldc</b> .

And for those of you who know HTML already, now I never want to type another ASCII code as long as I live :-)
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
[ Parent ]

Re: Let's see... for computer books, OR... (none / 0) (#23)
by Skippy on Sat Apr 08, 2000 at 11:26:44 AM EST

Dammit! Thats <b>bold</b>. Damn typos.

Rusty, is there any way to fix the preview? When I type something with ASCII codes in in HTML format then hit preview, it previews correctly. Then if I make changes and hit preview again (cause you can't go back to make changes) I lose all the ASCII formatting.
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #
[ Parent ]

Potential for good information here... (2.00 / 1) (#6)
by The Big D on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 06:08:31 AM EST

The Big D voted 1 on this story.

Potential for good information here: personally I'm in love with Wrox press' Beginning Linux Programming. It assumes that you are familiar with C but not necessarily any good at it and would be very helpful to anyone moving over from windows as it explains the whole shell deal, and introduces HTML, CGI, TCL, C, Pipes, Sockets and more!
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines

Frankly, my shelves are laden with ... (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by nate on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 07:36:16 AM EST

nate voted 1 on this story.

Frankly, my shelves are laden with O'Reilly animals. But I have heard good reports from others for Addison and Wesley.

Knowing which publishers are favore... (3.00 / 1) (#8)
by dvicci on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 09:15:57 AM EST

dvicci voted 1 on this story.

Knowing which publishers are favored as being the most reliable in terms of quality of information about a given topic is very valuable. This is constantly changing as publishers update their libraries, so this is a topic that should be revisited a couple times a year, at least.

There are other publishers? :) ... (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by eann on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 09:25:55 AM EST

eann voted 1 on this story.

There are other publishers? :)

To be honest, I haven't noticed as consistent a trend of quality in other publishers. I think it's because O'Reilly isn't afraid to let the books be technical, which appeals to a much smaller target audience (namely us), whereas the other companies try to release books to appeal to everyone that touches a computer.

I buy non-computer books online or at small local stores. For computer books, I go to nearby "big-box" stores and go through the shelves. I generally skip anything that looks like its cover was designed to work as a magazine ad, and anything that looks like it's more than 600 pages or so (especially when there's a comparable O'Reilly half that size next to it). Of what remains, I toss out anything that's written below my level (possible even for subjects I know nothing about). Only rarely am I left with something other than O'Reilly.

I've gotten good books from New Riders (see their "Professional Reference" series), Prentice-Hall, and many many college textbooks that I've kept as reference from Addison Wesley. I've probably put down twice as many ans I've bought from each publisher, though; I'm not very good at keeping track of who published I don't buy.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


I typically will look at Que after ... (2.00 / 1) (#2)
by bmetzler on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 09:30:07 AM EST

bmetzler voted 1 on this story.

I typically will look at Que after O'Reilly.
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.

What happened with the online publi... (2.00 / 1) (#3)
by Nyarlathotep on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 09:49:23 AM EST

Nyarlathotep voted 1 on this story.

What happened with the online publishers? Especially the ones where they will print and bind copies for individual buyers.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!

Re: Which Publisher? (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by Paul Dunne on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 12:58:43 PM EST

This is something I should no doubt have including in the story, but better later than never. I have my computer books shelved right beside me, and the publishers rankings are:
  1. O'Reilly
  2. Prentice-Hall
  3. Addison-Wesley
  4. Wiley (Modern Unix, Obfuscated C and Other Classics)
  5. McGraw-Hill (The Elements of Programming Style)
  6. IDG
  7. miscellaneous others
ORA take first place, of course, but there was life before the Irish arrived in Amerikay -- Prentice-Hall and Addison-Wesley have the Bell-Labs laurels about equally divided, I think. Surprise entry at number 6 for IDG, with "The Unix Hater's Handbook" (exaggerated, but well worth a read) and "Unix for Dummies -- Quick Reference" (bloody good in parts, actually, if you can stand the too-chummy tone).
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
Re: Which Publisher? (none / 0) (#15)
by henrik on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 03:22:08 PM EST

I think most people here would agree with that list of publishers...

anything but "for dummis" "in $foo days/hours" and "$bar unleashed" books, and then i'm usually happy. :)

-henrik

Akademiska Intresseklubben antecknar!
[ Parent ]

ORA, A/W, PH, MK (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by kmself on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 02:35:11 PM EST

That would be O'Reilly, Addison/Wesley, Prentice Hall, and Morgan Kaufman, in about that order, for technical books. I've been disappointed, but very infrequently.

I avoid any of the TITLES THAT SHOUT!!!: "...for Dummies", "...for Idiots", "...UNLEASHED!", "...in 24 hours", etc. I find most contain largely superfluous fluff, waste shelf space (no mean consideration), insult my intelligence, and top out far too early. I've been surprised, but very infrequently.

A well written technical reference is both accessible to the novice and useful to the master. The SHOUTING books have missed this fact.

Essential books for Linux/Unix: Linux in a Nutshell, UNIX Power Tools, Nemeth, Snyder, Seebass, & Hein's UNIX System Administration Handbook. Beyond that, your purchases should be driven by your interests. My interests are broad <g>. Networking, security, crypto, general programming, project management, analysis and statistics, publishing tools...

Though my interests rarely lean toward Microsoft products, I've found Steve McConnell's Code Complete to be among the classics. While Microsoft's documentation series structure is a reasonably good one ("Using", "Running", "Resource Kit"), the content bogs in my experience. 'Course few others do better, though I've got the NT nutshell book from O'Reilly.

Classics are often well worth buying. Jon Bently's "Programming Perls" series, Kernigan and Pike's "The UNIX Programming Environment", and Kernigan and Ritchey's "The C Programming Language" are also near at hand. Not to mention Knuth and Stevens.

More important than books IMO is a good technical bookstore in which you can browse. Shout out to Stacey's in Palo Alto and San Francisco, Cody's in Berkeley, and as a fallback, Borders, which tends to do pretty well around the Bay Area and Chicago (two locales I'm familiar with). A local technical bookstore is a treasure. Let them know you appreciate them.

--
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.

Re: Which Publisher? (none / 0) (#14)
by Emilio on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 03:02:03 PM EST

Dover... definitely

Re: Which Publisher? (none / 0) (#17)
by FlinkDelDinky on Fri Apr 07, 2000 at 03:58:30 PM EST

Well, mostly I've got O'Reilly.  "Essential Python" by David M. Beazley is
published by New Riders (and they published some C/C++ stuff that I really
like),	I haven't gotten into it but it looks like something that's going to be
valuable to me. I've also got some Prentice Hall.

I really don't go by publishers much except O'Reilly gives me a warm fuzzy.


Re: Which Publisher? (none / 0) (#20)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 08, 2000 at 04:11:03 AM EST

I had a look at my book shelf and found my favorite computer books.

Design Patterns
Refactoring
The TCP/IP Illustrated series
Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment
The C++ Programming Language
Effective C++

Addison Wesley seems to win hands down.



Re: Which Publisher? (none / 0) (#21)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 08, 2000 at 10:13:35 AM EST

The chapters in TCP/IP Illustrated that are written by dbaker are absolutely delectable. Best pieces of writing I ever read. Moo!

[ Parent ]
Re: Which Publisher? (none / 0) (#24)
by shepd on Sat Apr 08, 2000 at 11:37:08 AM EST

Anything from the waite group has always been a good buy for me.  I prefer them
to Oreilly, to tell you the truth.  But then again, I'm not a "real" coder
yet... :-)


New Riders (none / 0) (#25)
by driph on Sat Apr 08, 2000 at 01:41:27 PM EST

So far I have loved every book I've read by these guys.. (well, okay, I've only got two of their books, but they are both excellent.)

I was totally unaware of both books being from the same publisher, until I noticed a similar use of shades of blue and green, and took a look..

If you are interested at all in web design, I believe both "HTML Artistry" by Ardith Ibanez and Natalie Zee and "Designing Web Usability" by Jakob Nielsen should be sitting on your shelf, or better yet, on the desk right beside you.

Both books are entertaining enough just to read, and very helpful, with strong explanations and examples. "HTML Artistry" is probably the one book out of all the HTML/Web work books I've read that I refer to the most when working.. I'm still reading "Designing Web Usability" (just picked it up last week) but I'm enjoying it quite a bit..

--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
On the available evidence (none / 0) (#26)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Apr 09, 2000 at 04:27:39 PM EST

Slashdot.org... ducks :-)

slashdot publishers (none / 0) (#27)
by rusty on Sun Apr 09, 2000 at 05:50:25 PM EST

My favorites are "First Post for Dummies" and "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Trolling." I've also heard good things about "Maximize Your Karma!" but I haven't read that one.

...ducks too ;-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Which Publisher? (none / 0) (#28)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon Apr 10, 2000 at 08:34:09 AM EST

Sitting here at work I have on my desk:-
9 O'Reilly's,
3 Wrox,
1 Addison-Wesley,
3 assorted others (telecoms books rather then computer ones),
Which seems to sum it up.
Wrox books are very good and definatly my second choice if O'Reilly dont cover a subject.

bil

Which Publisher? | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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