May 12, 2005 spout

Survey: Windows Forms Programming 2ed Length

There has been some publisher/author controversy around the length of the 2ed of Windows Forms Programming. WF2 has essentially doubled in size, so I was happy that it looks like we’re be less than twice the number of pages (700 for 1ed vs. estimated 1200 for 2ed). However, when I sent this estimate to my publisher last month, they were less than pleased. Apparently if you go above 800 pages, that tends to scare people and may cut into sales. Here are the options we wrestled with:

  1. Cut 400 pages of material out of the WF2 book, leaving it on the cutting room floor
  2. Ship a 1200 page WF2 book, increasing the cover price by $10
  3. Move 400 pages of material out of the WF2 book, releasing them as freely available PDF files on the web (continuing to index and refer to this material in the printed book)
  4. Split the book into two volumes, priced accordingly (probably $35 each)

There’s one piece of information that I’m share later that caused us to lean one way more than the other, but I’m curious what readers would choose when given this choice.

P.S. Believe me when I tell you that we’ve been diligent about cutting stuff that doesn’t belong in the book, although I admit that we’ve been unwilling to cut material that will be generally useful for WinForms programmers, even if it does decrease sales. I’m still hoping we’ll be able to get the page count below 1200, but the upshot is that option #1 has always been a non-starter for me.

P.P.S. I expect the first three reviews on Amazon to be complaints about whichever method we choose and reminising about how wonderful it was to get all of WinForms in 700 pages. Those kinds of complaints should be forwarded to the WinForms team in emails that start with You put too much good stuff into WinForms 2.0!” : )