Okay, I changed my mind, I wrote a book after all

Raymond Chen

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Back in 2003, I wrote that I’m doing this instead of writing a book. That was true then, but last year I decided to give this book thing another go, only to find that publishers generally aren’t interested in this stuff any more.

“Does the world really need another book on Win32? Nobody buys Win32 books any more, that dinosaur!”

“A conversational style book? People want books with step-by-step how-to’s and comprehensive treatments, not water cooler anecdotes!”

“Just 200 pages? There isn’t enough of an audience for a book that small!”

Luckily, I found a sympathetic ear from the folks at Addison-Wesley Professional who were willing to take a chance on my unorthodox proposal. But I caved on the length, bringing it up to 500 pages. Actually, I came up with more like 700 pages of stuff, and they cut it back to 500, because 700 pages would take the book into the next price tier, and “There isn’t enough of an audience for a book that big!”

Eighteen months later, we have The Old New Thing: Practical Development Throughout the Evolution of Windows, following in what appears to be the current fad of giving your book a title of the form Catchy Phrase: Longer Explanation of What the Catchy Phrase Means.

It’s a selection of entries from this blog, loosely organized, and with new material sprinkled in. There are also new chapters that go in depth into parts of Win32 you use every day but may not fully understand (the dialog manager, window messages), plus a chapter dedicated to Taxes. (For some reason, the Table of Contents on the book web site is incomplete.)

Oh, and those 200 pages that got cut? They’ll be made available for download as “bonus chapters”. (The bonus chapters aren’t up yet, so don’t all rush over there looking for them.)

The nominal release date for the book is January 2007, which is roughly in agreement with the book web site which proclaims availability on December 29th. Just in time for Christmas your favorite geek, if your favorite geek can’t read a calendar.

Now I get to see how many people were lying when they said, “If you wrote a book based on this blog, I’d buy it.”

(Update: The bonus chapters are now available.)

(Update: Now available in Japanese! [sponsored link] ISBN 978-4756150004.)

(Update: Now available in Chinese! [sponsored link] ISBN 7111219194.)


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