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O'Reilly's Latest "State of the Industry"

Oreilly_2It's that time of the year again.  Time for our friends at the O'Reilly Radar blog to provide their periodic analysis of the computer book sector.  Tim has apparently handed the reigns over to Mike Hendrickson and he does a marvelous job of reporting the 2007 Q1 results.  I wish the news was better, but as you can see from this chart, the year-over-year decline we saw in the latter part of 2006 has only increased in Q1 of 2007.  The table at the end of the post is also worth studying as it shows which topics are hot or not and their overall size in the category.

P.S. -- Be sure to read Jim Minatel's insightful comments about the O'Reilly post here.

P.P.S -- Here's the link to Mike's follow-up post on the technologies that make up the sector.


Michael A. Banks

Three points on this one:
1. The year-on-year decline is probably part of a multi-year cycle. Several book categories have cycles; as Jim Baen used to cite, science fiction has an 11-year cycle (ask any book editor or publisher). I notice the same thing with computer magazines, but more like a 5-year cycle. Computer books likely have their own cycle. I haven't plotted it out, but I remember a peak in the mid-1980s, a trough, then a peak in the early 1990s (helped along by the Web).
2. I agree that computer-and-society books will rebound, as Hendrickson suggests.
3. The post-holiday spike (or rise) is interesting. Perhaps everyone going back to work?

Joe Wikert

Hi Mike. We see that post-holiday rise pretty much every year. It's typically the result of a number of things including (a) high store foot traffic levels (redeeming gift cards), (b) interest in new gadgets that might have been received over the holidays and (c) post-holiday sales.

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