O’Reilly print technology struggles to keep with digital

October 6, 2008

I saw an O’Reilly book on .NET development at Borders over the weekend. I’m one of the last surviving geek types who looks for IT books at a big box bookstore, yes. Indeed, the shelf space devoted to IT books at my local Border’s has been cut almost by half in the past year.  The book was not a traditional paper bound IT book, it had a clear plastic hardcover and was a three ring binder.  Half of the pages in the binder were blank. Why? You buy this binder with some printed pages, and as O’Reilly posts updates as PDF files on its website, you download the PDFs and print addendums to your physical book using the provided blank binder pages.

Now, couldn’t somebody, or would somebody rather just the print off the whole thing at once, than try to splice chapters together in a binder? I don’t know. I don’t buy nearly as many IT books as I used to  (no doubt a trend that O’Reilly and other publishers can’t to cranky about), and I don’t print off whole books. It’s more convenient usually to look at documents onscreen. Some material is definitely better in paper book format, but not that much.

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