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Change has come to
Authored by: heyotwell on Sep 10, '04 08:48:21AM
And if there are two less profitable sources of income than running a niche website for geeks and writing a technical book, I don't know of them. Rob is quite lucky if MOSXH and a part-time job pays the bills; most comparable sites probably don't.

(And isn't "serving the community", like, the entire value of the web? I for one probably spent 80% of my time online on sites where someone's written something basically cause they think it would help people to know it.)

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Change has come to
Authored by: robg on Sep 10, '04 05:18:25PM
Just to clarify on the book thing a little bit ... as noted, Mac tech books (and websites) are not exactly the secret to retiring rich at an early age :). When Michael Crichton (a Mac user, hooray!) releases his latest thriller, it will sell literally millions of units. By comparison, I've been told that a successful Mac tech book has sales anywhere from 10,000 to 30,000 units. My first book fell somewhere south of the midpoint of that range, so it did OK by Mac standards -- well enough that O'Reilly agreed to do another :).

So you can see that there really isn't a lot of revenue to go around, especially when you consider what it takes to make a book -- there are literally something like eleven people directly involved in the production of the current edition of the book.

One other point I'd like to make regarding the books ... anyone can do what I did. Really. The database here is freely searchable for the entire four-year history of the site. So to mimick what I did, just cull the hints for all four years, find the ones you like the best, rewrite them from scratch (other than code snippets, none of the text from the web is in the book), take about 400+ screenshots, layout the chapters and put the hints in some order within the chapters, put everything together, and find a publisher :). I did all of this at night and during weekends, as my mornings were consumed with the site updates and my day job sucked up the daylight hours. I can tell you it's not a lot of fun, and it's by no means easy. But it is rewarding when it's all done, and you know you've put together something good.

The only advantage I have over someone else is that the site and its name are mine, and cannot be used as the title of another book (and I can directly search the database, which is a bit quicker than using the site's search engine).

But there's nothing to prevent someone from taking the knowledge (you can't copyright or patent a concept like "press command-` to scroll backwards through open apps") stored in this database and rewriting it in their own language and including it in a book of their own -- and I wouldn't want to stop someone even if I could. I want people to learn about, use, and like OS X, so that we keep the Mac platform going strong for another 20+ years :).


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Change has come to
Authored by: KingDoom on Sep 10, '04 06:22:23PM

Well said Rob!

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sales figures from O'Reilly
Authored by: hayne on Sep 11, '04 09:24:41AM
As Rob and others have said, writing a technical book is not the road to riches. Unless you are careful, you can easily spend so much time writing the book that the money received amounts to less than minimum wage.

Here's an interesting page where O'Reilly discusses the sales figures of their books and the amount of money an author might expect:

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