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   Re: [xml-dev] Re: xml, books

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From: "Jim Ancona" <jim@anconafamily.com>
> Simon St.Laurent wrote:
> > XSL-FO, RELAX NG, XForms, and Open Office XML Essentials are all, I
> > believe, going to remain "open" - O'Reilly will sell them on paper, but
> > electronic versions will remain available on the Web.  This is not
> > unusual for us, though it isn't typical of publishing in general. We
> > suspect there are some lost sales, but also some additional sales and
> > benefits that wouldn't happen otherwise.
> Interesting. Phillip Greenswpun confirms that other publishers don't see
> it that way:
> "Two publishers have approached us wanting to do a hardcopy version of
> http://philip.greenspun.com/internet-application-workbook/ (the textbook
> for 6.171 at MIT).  Both have lost interest when we said that we wanted
> to keep the text online.  To a traditional publisher the Web is a place
> for stuff that isn't quite good enough to sell."
> -- http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/philg/2003/10/09#a2589

I got a different spin from a publisher when I inquired about doing a book
on a subject for which there is an existing book with an online version. The
question was, "How are you going to compete with a free book?"

I think the fact that O'Reilly publishes a free, online version as well as
(and in advance of) a print version has a pre-emptive effect. Whereas the
free version may actually stimulate some sales of the same book in dead tree
form, it discourages other titles on the same subject from publishers who
aren't ready to embrace the "pay nothing or pay $50" philosophy. ;-}

Bob Foster


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