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Linux Books: The Best and the Brightest
Putting It Down on Paper
August 19, 2002
The computer book publishing world changes slowly. It's an unfortunate fact of the sheer volume of work that goes into a full book; the need to coordinate perhaps a dozen people, including author(s), project editors, copy editors, technical editors, artists, sales folk, layout specialists, indexers, printers, and more.
Some estimates bring the cost of printing a single computer book (well, okay, about 10,000 copies of one) at around $50,000. I speak from experience and personal bias when I say that the authors don't get a big chunk of that initial layout, and so it's not just the publisher that's hoping the book will sell like crazy and bring in lots of cash.
Ultimately, it is the publisher that decides when and whether a book will be updated. That update isn't going to happen until the book has not only earned back the money that was spent in its making, but has earned on top of that whatever the publisher considers to be a solid profit margin. I'm not the only author who's had an award-winning book go out of date and then extinct from sheer lack of sales.
Books do continue coming out regardless of the ups and downs of the economy, however, and people fortunately continue buying them. Some of the ones that the Linux crowd makes heavy use of are old favorites, updated for today, and others are new. Let's take a look at some of the best and the brightest stars in the Linux book sky. Be sure to look in all of the sections, because I may have something in, say, the Newbies section that an experienced user would actually find useful as well.
Some of the books listed in this article are strictly Linux, some are for Unix in general, and some are related items that Linux enthusiasts found particularly useful. I'll include the full titles and ISBNs to try to help you in your searches, but keep in mind that if there's a newer edition at some point, that edition will have a new ISBN.