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Under Review

For most authors, Amazon.com is the closest we get to a stock market for book popularity.  Despite their apparent randomness, tracking the rankings can become an obsession; in fact, I’m not really sure why else Junglescan exists.  The reader reviews are also a source of potential obsession.

That’s why I’m unaccountably pleased that Eric Meyer on CSS has just completed the “Dash to One Hundred Stars”: since publication, twenty reader reviews have been posted, and every single one is five stars.  I’ve been rooting for this to happen ever since it passed a dozen five-star reviews, actually, which sounds stupid even to me.  After all, what this proves is that twenty people who use Amazon really liked the book; it’s not a conferment of sainthood or anything.  The book won’t be a five-star experience for everyone, which is one reason I wrote some material explaining the target audience.  Maybe that really did help the book get into the hands of those who would like it, and keep it away from those who wouldn’t.

Other books of mine haven’t fared as well.  The CSS2.0 Programmer’s Reference has recently picked up two one-star Amazon.com reviews, but both of them gave me an arid chuckle.  So far as I can tell, in both cases a person thought they were buying some sort of tutorial or guide, and when they discovered they had something else, they decided that was my fault.  One guy even looked through the book in a store, bought it, and then discovered the book was of no use to him… and then decided to go post a review on Amazon where he admitted to his mistake in the course of blasting the book.  It reminded me a lot of the guy who blasted CSS:TDG for being a “light tutorial” and “not a reference at all.”  (Maybe they should just swap books!)

I admit to feeling a certain regret that these people spent money on my books that could have been better invested in something else, but at the same time I can’t help but be amused.  Caveat emptor, if you prefer, but I think of it more as, “A lack of intelligent buying on your part does not constitute an authoring failure on mine.”

Anyway… one hundred stars in twenty reviews!  That feels pretty darned good, no matter how irrelevant the yardstick might be.  Somehow I feel like Will Smith in Men in Black: “Still, that was a pretty good shot, though.”

BD4D Comes To Town

Hey, By Designers For Designers (BD4D) is coming to Cleveland on November 15th!  The featured speaker is Derek Hess, a local guy with national exposure, and the co-sponsor of the series is New Riders, the people who published my latest book.  Assuming no major upheavals in my schedule, I’ll be there—how about you?

Speaking of Eric Meyer on CSS, it appears to have sold out its initial print run of almost 7,000 copies, and a sizeable second print run should be done within a few weeks.  So if you’re on back-order waiting for a copy, your patience should soon be rewarded.

Write a Haiku, Win a Book

In one of those surreal turns that really makes life worth living, I spotted a link (on zeldman.com) to a contest at Consolation Champs where the winning haiku gets a free copy of Eric Meyer on CSS.  I love haiku; it’s probably my favorite poetic form and about the only one in which I ever intentionally set out to compose verse.  Some of the entries are funny, others elegant, still others sublime… and I was very amused by the entry that says, in effect, “CSS is inferior to HTML-based design.”  Check it out!

With everything else going on, it’s nice to know that life still retains its capacity to surprise and delight.  It can be all too easy to forget that simple but important truth.

The Scrooged Prophecies

Happy anniversary to us.  If you like, you can work out the anniversary number from the text of our honeymoon journal.

Ser Zeldman did me the great favor of publishing a glowing note regarding my latest book, which adds to his already incredible favor of writing a truly wonderful Foreword for the same book.  Thanks, Jeffrey.

I don’t know how many of your remember the 1988 movie Scrooged (one of my favorite holiday movies, by the way, despite the fact that much of the primary cast and the director inexplicably wishes it had never happened) but it turns out to have been disturbingly prophetic.

Project 4 Now Online

Over the weekend, InformIT published the primary text of Project 4 of my latest book as an article (registration is required to read it).  The article elicited a few reader responses, including this one, which I absolutely love:

Great article. This article presents some new things about CSS that I didnt know. It also uses a very practical example which helps grasp the material. I have never heard of Eric Meyer before. From the detail and attention shown in this article, I expect to hear his name more.

Wow, tough room.  No matter.  It’s always nice to be regarded as an up-and-comer!

Really, You Can Buy EMOC!

Okay, here’s the deal: when Eric Meyer on CSS arrived at the New Riders warehouse, it apparently wasn’t a full shipment.  This led to the book being taken off the “coming soon” list without actually landing on the “available now” list.  I guess it landed on the “incomplete shipment” list, and the New Riders Web site took that to mean “no longer available.”  Or something.  Either way, the book is now available for order from the New Riders Web site!  Let the bells ring out in celebration!

As for Amazon, Borders, etc., the Web sites still claim the book will be published on 15 August 2002.  Not true: it’s already been published.  Somehow the data feed got polluted.  In fact, the book should be available for shipping somewhere around 9 July, as the Barnes & Noble site correctly states (or did when I wrote this).  So feel free to pre-order!  You won’t have to wait six weeks, but more like one or two.

And the book really is gorgeous.  I keep flipping it open to random points just to admire its design.  This means that I have to get moving on an update of the companion Web site.  Soon to come: project files for all 13 projects, bonus material that was cut from the theatrical release, and more!

Friday, 28 June 2002

I now have in my possession two real physical paper copies of Eric Meyer on CSS.  It looks as beautiful as I could have hoped—better.  310 pages of practical CSS, divided into 13 projects, each and every page in glorious full color to really show what CSS can do.  I’m really, really, really very happy right now.

Sadly, this joy is tempered by the fact that most e-tailers think the book will become available in August; Barnes & Noble is the exception, with a fairly realistic 9 July availability date.  Even the New Riders Web site claims the book isn’t available, and encourages you to search for a newer edition(!).  Trust me, folks: this baby is revved up and ready to go.  There just seem to be a few annoying roadblocks in front of the starting gate.  If you’re interested in ordering a copy, and of course I hope you are, please try again in a few days.  I’m looking at the two copies as I type this (please excuse any typos), so I know the book actually exists.

Wednesday, 26 June 2002

The first review of my new book, Eric Meyer on CSS, is now available at Digital Web.  The reviewer seems to have liked it.  The book should be available this coming Friday, despite what Amazon says.  Better to trust the information on New Riders site—I double-checked with my editor and she says it’s on track to start shipping within the next few days.  Two words: “ya” and “hoo.”  (Yodeling not required.)

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