August 9, 2007

Handbook Cover and Clarifications

This is the cover of the book and some clarifications prompted by readers comments.

Following my last post introducing my self-published "Delphi 2007 Handbook", here is the cover of the book. It is the work of a a professional designer and I like it a lot:

The blog post had many comment and deserves a few clarifications. Rather than responding to the various comments in the thread, I think it is better to provide extra information on the project in a new post.

  • Lulu's printing system is superb. I bought a few books (including the one from Bucknall) and the quality is very close to that of a good quality traditional book print. Still, not having to make a print run, the is no upfront cost and the actual print can take place in a location close to the final destination (Europe, US, and so on), cutting on shipping costs and time.
  • IntraWeb (now also called VCL for the Web). After a lot of doubts I decided that having a chapter covering only the AJAX-oriented features of IntraWeb was not really worth. And covering the technology in full would have been out of scope. One of the options is to write a specific book on Web development in Delphi, including but not limited to IntraWeb. However, if there is a huge demand for an "update-only" or short summary of IntraWeb, I might reconsider my decision and add it.
  • Pricing. The book might seem expensive, but one of the problems I'm suffering a lot is the strong Euro or (to see the other side) the "devaluation" of the US dollar. This is siphoning 30% of my royalties earnings, compared to a few years back. It takes almost one dollar and 40 cents to buy a Euro today and I pay all of my bills in Euros...
  • Lulu only vs. distribution is quite a messy story. If you want to sell both on Lulu and Amazon you need to set the same cover price, with Amazon offering a discount. So even if readers could buy on both, Amazon would be cheaper (attracting more readers) and a writer would get much less money. If I got it right, of course. This changed over the last year and I had missed it.
  • A book on writing Delphi components is certainly possible. More generally I'm looking for ways to update and republish my Delphi Developers Handbook, of which I bought back the rights from the former publisher, along with thsoe of a few other books.



Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

The cover looks great.It made me think of Escher's
beautiful air and water:
Comment by Jan Derk on August 9, 01:08

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

Hello Marco,

The cover really looks nice. Very professional and
modern. And the USD vs EUR issue is affecting a lot of
European ISVs (including us) so I can certainly
understand the reasoning behind the price. Good luck
with the book!
Comment by Dennis [] on August 9, 01:12

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

I've bought hundreds of books on programming over 
the last 12 years.  Seriously, if you could see what 
I've bought, you would ask the same question I get 
all the time "Did you read all those books?”.  I 
always respond with they are just there for 
reference to get me out of trouble when I need it.  
For years I have checked the book stores for some 
new book on Delphi and year after year the books 
have just dwindled to where I don't look anymore.  I 
think about it and I really don't want a 
new "Everything you ever wanted to know about Delphi 
book", what I want and need is a very 
useful “vertical subject” book on a task or subject. 


  Open Tools API (I know it exists, it’s a little 
out of date)  
  Delphi for IntraWeb
  Delphi IntraWeb VCL Component Writing
  ISAPI Programming for Delphi  
  PALM Programming for Delphi
  Delphi Cerification Prep-GUIDE
  Delphi - "Your first week" (not for me, but the 
new guys)
  And a lot of others if I really want to put my 
mind to it.

Very “SHORT” books – around 100 pages each of useful 
information on one subject where I can use "all" of 
the information in the book.  Not a $60 book that I 
can only use about 10-20 pages out of 500.  I would 
pay $60 for 100 pages of solid “vertical" 
information ($99 for a book on IntraWeb).  And again 
I would buy ALL the books, especially if they were 
Delphi specific. And maybe one day when I am asked 
if I had read the books on the shelf I can say "Yes, 
I didn't chew the covers".
Comment by Brett Graffin [] on August 9, 02:40

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

Nice cover. Question though....
Is this book new content or just updated content from
your previous released Mastering Delphi series?
Comment by Brian on August 9, 03:00

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

 now THERE is a disturbing phrase that justifies 
Lulu's entire business model :

"bought back the rights from the former publisher"

Too many of the big publishing industries have become 
abusive with their powers.  Did they need the 
rights?  No, but it gives them options and powers 
they would not otherwise have while limiting those of 
the author.  When everyone plays the same game, it's 
tough to get a fair deal.

Lulu is definitely the wave of the future.  Sure, 
they are small now, but once upon a time, Ford was 
just a guy name Henery's last name.
Comment by Xepol on August 9, 03:10

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

First of all, I think the book cover is really nice:
migration is the core concept.

Second: Books of specialties are, IMHO, what Delphi
library lacks of. You know, Delphi was spreading its
fingertips in so many, and rather diverse technologies
in the last years, but just a few of them seems to
have a clear path to expertise or at least to updating
expertise. I'm talking about IntraWeb (or VCL for the
web), Indy from the Delphi perspective,
multithreading, web services, open source projects
like those from JEDI, some new subjects like Together
or ECO, long time awaited theories (at least by me)
like Agile for Delphi or Delphi integration  with
Java, or RIA, etc.

Maybe Mastering series from Sybex has some kind of
limit in the quantity of pages a book could have,
right? Maybe Lulu will be of some help here.
Comment by Salvador Gomez Retamoza [] on August 9, 10:24

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

I would love to see one of your books on VCL for the 
web, intraweb is something I've just never gotten 
into, and have little time to tinker!
Comment by Mark Robinson [] on August 9, 10:41

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

Hi Marco,
Your books (MD and DDH) have a really valuable place
in my programming career. I deeply welcome your new
book. Also, a separate and complete work on Web
Development in Delphi will be appreciated in my opinion. 
Comment by Rozan Nas [] on August 9, 10:51

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

Good news about your e-book.
I think this is the right move.. the future is 
definitely in this direction!

About content, I hope will be there a good coverage 
of new features/changes in DBExpress4, as I haven't 
seen any material regarding this, neither from 
codegear nor from anyone... 
Comment by Roberto on August 9, 12:06

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

1. To be honest, When I saw the title "Delphi 2007
Handbook" at first, I was happy, because I thought
it's an updated version for your former Book "Delphi 3
Handbook", but then when I saw the content, I saw it's
more book for Beginner level  more than other level,
sorry to say that.

2. I highly suggest to write new book for Delphi for
the Web, IW may be a great tool but it's lake the good
documentation, doing something easy sometimes took
long time, I'm doing my web on ASP.Net, but if I saw
native Delphi solution with good features and doc, I
will consider that.

3. Writing Delphi components, I WILL BUY IT As soon as
it published.

I wish CodeGear will help you for writing more books,
and bring "CodeGear Press"
Comment by Mohammed Nasman [] on August 9, 13:47

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

How about adding a Series Title. Since you are likely
to publish more and perhaps invite guest authors. 

Such as "The Mastering Delphi Series" or
"Mastering Object Pascal Series"

Re-use the artwork to create a visual continuity.
Comment by David Champion on August 9, 19:44

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

Nice looking cover. Isn't that the "old" Macromedia 
Comment by Stefan on August 10, 00:49

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

I look forward to see your book; also I would welcome 
smaller books 100 pages and less on specific topics. 
The bible books are getting to big...
Comment by chris on August 12, 18:09

Handbook Cover and Clarifications 

I would like to second Chris' post about writing 
smaller books that focus on a particular topic at a 
more advanced level.  I have the Mastering Delphi 6, 
7, & 2005 as well as most other Delphi books but at 
this point in my career I would love to see more 
advanced books.  Since you don't have to worry as 
much about distribution, or whether a traditional 
distributor is willing to print a particular book, 
maybe you could make a few bucks from those of us who 
would love to see your experience reflected in more 
focused, deep topics.  I'd pay premium even just for 
a pdf that comprehensively covered a topic I'm 
interested in.  And I don't care if the English is a 
little off due to less editing.  In programming I've 
grown quite accustomed to getting my information from 
non-native English speakers and don't even notice any 
more.  So intense editing like happens with the big 
distributors could be reduced a little IMO.  Anyhow, 
I encourage you to please keep writing books for 
us! :-)
Comment by Ron Grove [] on August 20, 18:27

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