January 26, 2007

Tim O'Reilly on the computer book industry

O'Reilly has posted another of his two part quarterly updates on the computer book industry here and here.

I won't summarize or quote in detail this time, but I will give a few extracts, first from Part 1:

As you can see, the strong start to the year faded in the second half. In the first quarter, it really looked like we might be about to break out of the holding pattern we've seen for the past three years. The second quarter was a disappointment, but we had a brief resurgence in the third, which didn't stick. While the year as a whole ended with a 2% increase over the previous year, most of that increase happened in the first quarter.

From Part 2:
The entire market was down 4% in unit sales versus the same period a year ago, but a quick glance at the treemap shows where the biggest problem is: Consumer Operating Systems and Devices, down 18%, Business Applications, down 8%. As I wrote last week, we're assuming that the market is waiting for books on Vista, Office 7, and Mac OS X Leopard. However, much of the Professional Programming and Systems Administration super category is also down, albeit at a smaller 4%, and even Digital Media applications are showing an anemic 1% growth, despite the huge growth in the sales of books on the iPod. (But for that, even the digital media category would be down.) But once again, the market is awaiting new releases of Adobe products some time next year. Web Design and Development, up 7%, is the only top level category showing continued growth.


At this scale, all the percentages are readable, so I won't belabor the obvious, other than to note that Ruby is now ahead of both Python and Perl. And it's worth noting that Actionscript is really just a variant of JavaScript, and that books labeled .Net Languages are books that include both C# and VB.Net, so they should be counted with C#. The net-net is that C# has definitely passed Java in the book market.

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