Waterside 2003, day 2

Gee, it’s tough to blog about each panel and also find time for all the schmoozing, catching up, drinking, and chat. Grabbed a few minutes with Molly Holzschlag this morning to talk about a book I’m coauthoring, FrontPage Savvy. She’s going to be our tech editor and she’ll be holding our feet to the fire on the matter of helping FP users meet accessibility standards and transcend the limitations of Microsoft’s website-creation tool.
I took a few notes on Ed Tittel‘s discussion of the certification exam-prep market’s up and downs through the last few years, but I’ll try to get ahold of the PPTs and post them, because they’ll be more thorough.
Before that was the Open Source panel, featuring Bruce Perens, Mark Taub of Prentice-Hall-PTR-Addison-Wesley (who is spearheading an open source publishing series with Bruce), and Bill Pollock of No Starch Press, who has also published some books under open source licenses. Very interesting debate about the risks of making books copyable online. Bruce thought that e-books won’t compete until you can “curl up” with them, and thus the risk of sharing a book’s content online is minimal at this time. Bill was a little less sanguine. Anyway, I will transcribe my notes and post some more highlights when I can.
Right now I’m listening to the publishers panel. Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel of Peachpit Press just spoke (her press experienced double-digit growth in the past year, which saw retrenchment among most other publishers), and now Scott Rogers of Osborne/McGraw-Hill is giving a talk called Hypergrowth, named for Osborne founder Adam Osborne, who passed away just last month (March 25). (Scott’s point is tht the hypergrowth we experienced in computer-book publishing in the late ’90s is over, and that it echoes the PC boom-and-bust of the early ’80s.
Funny moment: as an example of a bad proposal, Scott put up a Nigerian scam letter. If it’s CONFIDENTIAL he asks, why is he sending it to everyone? Also, he said, we’re willing to negotiate on royalties, but 70% is just ridiculous….