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Lack of IT books in bookstores - who's to blame?

Amazon, pirate-book sites?  A Border's by my work doesn't have an IT book section, and it's not an Express either.  A Border's half-way between my work closed down.  It's the first time that mall has not had a single bookstore in it, either.  The Barnes and Noble across the street has a "general computing" section - very sparse, mostly "dummies" books.

I searched the different Borders stores for a Java Swing book in stock.  The grandest one had two books on swing, the others I checked online said one or none (after looking through a lot of titles).  It's pretty sad, in any case, regardless if you think I'm exaggerating.

Oh, and the Fry's I went to didn't have any Java Swing books, sold out of 'em.  Even these general Java book that covered it was gone, pretty sad.

How many of you think I'm completely BSing.  hehe.  Tschhh, I've gotta go with the Sun on-line documentation - luckily, it's pretty good.

Any bookstore stories to share?  Are they still relevant to you?
Permalink Send private email LinuxOrBust 
April 20th, 2007 2:37am
BTW when I say first time at that mall, I've been going there for a good 30 yrs.
Permalink Send private email LinuxOrBust 
April 20th, 2007 2:38am
There was one bookstore with dirt-cheap old IT books that went out.  Another store was selling IT books for a buck a piece and I bought between 30-40 of them (but they don't get "new" ones in).

Weird how the IT job market can be jumping but the books are going in the opposite direction, would appear to be the trend.
Permalink Send private email LinuxOrBust 
April 20th, 2007 2:43am
The Borders & BN in my area both have good sections, taking up a couple of full aisles. Each store has multiple copies of Design Patterns, Refactoring, Joel's books, and sometimes even a set of Art & Practice, plus hundreds of others. Not sure what's going on where you are, is it not a city with much technical activity or something?
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 20th, 2007 2:43am
OK, you're in LA right? I know there are bookstores there with tech books, I think there are even one or two specialty stores that have nothing but tech, including obscure books on embedded design using rare architectures, and how to design a sewage plant for cities with more than 10 million people, and how to build a space probe.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 20th, 2007 2:47am
Try these bookstores:

http://www.opamp.com/
http://www.lattc.edu/

The first one is supposed to have a vast collection.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 20th, 2007 2:49am
They have a gateway into the ones you want starting here:

http://software-engineering-books.com/

It looks like if they don't have it in stock, it doesn't exist.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 20th, 2007 2:52am
hehe.  Yeah, but they also do a lot of ordering and if I remember their website correctly get the books in quickly (opamp).  I've been there once.

The Borders in Brea and Montclair are both good.  I was thinking of Puente Hills when I was writing that.  It's almost as if someone were racially profiling the area (lot's of Mexican-Americans and Asians in that area).

It's alright.  I'm probably just being too argumentative again.  It's just weird how this seems to silently happen.  I never hear anyone else mention it.
Permalink Send private email LinuxOrBust 
April 20th, 2007 3:04am
Are there still BookStar's or did they go out of business? They were cool.

The tech-only bookstores I don't like as much as a real well stocked Borders since I can look at other things at the Borders like comic books, cook books, see the latest pop books, go through the funky art and DIY magazines, and there's coffee and hot nerd girls.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 20th, 2007 3:11am
LoB your in LA and theres no IT books? Thats quite shocking.

I'm in a medium sized City and we have a fair few book shops that all have good IT sections.

Back home in Reading its even better (probably because of MS/HP being near by) but i've never had trouble walking into a store.

Mostly I just buy from amazon.
Permalink what are you reading for? 
April 20th, 2007 5:32am
Here, Barnes & Noble has hardly any tech books, but BORDERS has tons.  They reduced their stock of them by half recently, but what's left is still pretty impressive.
Permalink Send private email muppet 
April 20th, 2007 6:49am
Thank god for bookstores.  Buying tech books from the internet is difficult because you can't skim them ahead of time and decide if it's the right book.

I often go to the bookstore, choose the best book, then go home and order it from a discounter (Bookpool.com has some great tech deals).  It's probably kind of scummy to do that, so I always try to buy an overpriced coffee or something while I'm there.  They probably make more profit on the coffee shop anyway.
Permalink AMerrickanGirl 
April 20th, 2007 7:03am
>> It's almost as if someone were racially profiling the area (lot's of Mexican-Americans and Asians in that area). <<

The managers are responsible for recommending titles that will sell in their store.  So if a particular Borders or B&N doesn't have much of an IT section, time to find a different one, or start pestering the staff.

We've got a fairly high Otaku population here, so lots of tech books, and a fair amount of manga.
Permalink Send private email xampl 
April 20th, 2007 8:44am
Same here.  Tech books.  Manga.
Permalink Send private email muppet 
April 20th, 2007 8:51am
They go by their own sales. If sales fall off, due to dotBombs and offshoring, they'll stop carrying tech books. It is a proxy measure of the health of IT in your city.

tech book sections:
B&N: about 1/3 the size they were 3 years ago.
Borders: about 1/2 the size they were 3 years ago.
large independant bookstore chain: about 1/2 the size they were 3 years ago.
large indy computer store: 1/2 the size they were 1 year ago.
small indy chain that only sells tech books: same size they've always been.
Permalink Peter 
April 20th, 2007 9:08am
Are you kidding?  Everybody I know buys tech books off the web.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 20th, 2007 9:47am
A good site for buying technical books is www.bookpool.com.

(And no, I don't work for them, but they do offer some good discounts.)
Permalink Full name 
April 20th, 2007 1:01pm
Do tech people buy books? Do a perp walk down cube land and you'll see very few books. IT is not a profession to most people, it's just a job, and they don't generally buy books to get better at it. So why carry books nobody buys?
Permalink son of parnas 
April 20th, 2007 1:11pm
Oops, I didn't see Dana's post. My bad.

sop, you've got a good point. So less demand translates into higher prices for the rest of us willing to fork over our money.

Then again, I can't blame some IT folks not wanting to spend money on books, if they're not going to get reimbursed by their employers or if all they need/want is already available on the Web.
Permalink Full name 
April 20th, 2007 1:42pm
"Do a perp walk down cube land and you'll see very few books."

I wonder if people with private offices have more books? Since they are in a more professional environment so maybe that environment attracts a more professional worker.

I have two full floor to ceiling bookcases with tech books at home. At work there's not as many, maybe a couple dozen on a shelf, mostly references, and the shelf is shared by everybody. At any time, probably a dozen of my personal books are loaned out to various others. Often it seems permanently. Hm.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 20th, 2007 2:14pm
>IT is not a profession to most people, it's just a job, and they don't generally buy books to get better at it.

What a completely nonsensical opinion.

We have this thing called the "Internet" now, you see, and many developers spend probably *too* much of every day absorbing information from their profession, trying to get better at it.

Show me any other profession that spends as much time on self-improvement as the average developer.
Permalink DF 
April 20th, 2007 3:26pm
Uhm, I've been in exactly one programmer's office who didn't have books, and she was a programmer as much as I am a dentist.
Permalink JoC 
April 20th, 2007 6:25pm
>> Show me any other profession that spends as much time on self-improvement as the average developer. <<

Medical Doctors.

But you're right -- if you're a district manager for a plumbing company, you're probably not spending a lot of money on job-related titles.
Permalink Send private email xampl 
April 20th, 2007 8:41pm
there are bookstores in LA?
Permalink hello. 
April 20th, 2007 10:18pm
I don't know if it's just Saudi but there was a boom in the number of technical books available in shops (something like 30-40% of stock at its height) but now there has been a massive decline.

I suspect the tendency now is for people to learn online or by doing. When they needed to gain the basics then books were  more necessary.
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
April 21st, 2007 6:05pm

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