Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 0
As I was already on my way to make my usual donation to
the cause of increased deforestation, I went ahead and
took down some numbers at the local Borders and Books & 
Company bookstores.  (Borders is a national chain,
whereas Books & Co. is a relatively large local store
which was recently bought out by a larger chain whose
name I forget.)  I've tried to conform to the "shelves" 
unit and categories that JeanDavid used earlier.
So, on to the data:

Category:                        Borders    Books & Co.
Total # of computer-
related shelves:                   147         235

  Windows 3.1/95/98:                11          11
  Windows NT:                        5           5 1/2
  Microsoft Office or individual
    members of Office:              16          14 1/2
  Visual C++:                        2 1/2       5
  Visual Basic:                      4           3 1/2
  MCSE, MCSD (1):                    7          14
  ODBC (2):

  Microsoft total:                  45 1/2      53 1/2
  % of total comp. shelves:         30%         22%

  Linux:                             3 1/2       1
  X-Windows (3):
  Other Unix:                        4 1/2       4 1/2

  Unix total:                        8           5 1/2
  % of total comp. shelves:          5%          2%

Other OS (4)
  OS2:                                          <1
  Mac:                                           6

Oracle:                              4           4

Internet-related(5):                42          58

My personal conclusions:
First, it's obvious that Microsoft is the overwhelmingly
dominant player today.  A quarter to a third of the
computer books in both stores are directly related to
products of the company, and a good portion of those I
didn't count were probably directly or indirectly
involved in Microsoft products.  Unix/Linux may be on
the way up, but it's still got a long way to go.  And
not only is the OS section owned by Microsoft, but so
is the word processor, spreadsheet, total office suite,
and even database section (Access books far outnumber
Oracle in both stores).  In the programming languages,
there seem to be only two kinds of books left: those
which talk about the language in general (C, C++,
Basic, etc.) and those which describe the Microsoft
Visual package for that language.  (This survey has
struck home for me just how much the term "monopoly"
really does apply to Microsoft now, at least in Dayton
area bookstores.)

Second, the growth patters of Unix are not uniform.
While the support of Unix (and Linux) has exploded at
my local Borders (there wasn't nearly this much support
last year), the Books & Co. support has declined (which
is where I used to do the majority of my Unix-related
shopping -- I'll have to start changing my habits).
While I'm hoping it does well, and there seems to be
more interest out there, I can't say that there is yet
an overwhelming sense of momentum gathering here.

(1) "Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer" and
    "Microsoft Certified Solution Developer" training

(2) I wasn't able to find more than a few ODBC books
    scattered around either store; there wasn't an
    organized shelf for them in either place.

(3) There were only one or two books on X-Windows in
    either store.  I do remember there being a lot more
    at Books & Co. last year (I bought two then), so
    this has definitely decreased.

(4) I forgot to look for OS2 & Mac at Borders.  There
    were practically no OS2 books at Books & Co., but
    a fair amount of Mac books.

(5) Since so much of the book shelf space was devoted
    entirely to the Internet now, I thought I'd mention
    this.  (It certainly has grown fast!)

Well, this has taken far too long to write.  I now
return you to your regularly scheduled Fooldom. :)

Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.