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Our books section

I'm thinking of revamping our books section. Usually we only get three books in there, and sometimes only two. I'm thinking of moving the free FSF advert we run somewhere else in the magazine, freeing up both pages, then changing the format so that the pictures are smaller and we have slightly fewer words per book. The end result would be, rather than three books an issue, we have six.

But there's more: I'm also thinking we could, still depending on what you think of course, stray away from just having Linux and programming books. If we were to have six books an issue, we could have three Linuxy books then three non-Linux items that are still of general geek interest. For example, we might have a book on astronomy, a science fiction novel, and a DVD.

This is all hugely dependent on what you think, so let me know in a comment below.

Clarification: having more books on those two pages and printing a wider variety of book reviews are attached as an idea: we won't do one without the other, simply because we just don't have the time to read 6x dense technical manuals a month.

Your comments

Great idea! Love it. I

Great idea! Love it.

I didn't know that the FSF ad was free. Amazing. I'm happy thst yesterday I renewed my subscrption for the next couple of years.

More books but on topic please

Good idea to have more book reviews I find these interesting and useful. However, I'd personally prefer them to stick to Linux and programming rather than other topics.

Keep it relevant!

I buy Linux Format for my monthly fix of Linux goodness. Whilst reviews of books on related computer topics are of interest I would see a DVD review or similar as an annoying waste of valuable page space. So more book reviews by all means, but please keep it relevant.

On topic

Sounds like a good idea but save page space for Linux and put the other general interest stuff here on the web.

Keep it on topic

I agree with the others, above - more book reviews would be great, but please keep them restricted to Linux/Computer/Programming related topics, rather than straying too far from the magazine's domain!

Keep up the good work!


More books you say?!

Lovely! I agree with the idea.
But how about giving some books away too?

That would be a nice incentive for users to look forward to.
If you review a book and give it some score and what not...
why not giving one of the books reviewed as a present to someone?

Maybe filling up a form, or having a quiz or renewing your subscription,
could be the means to obtain it.

Not only do we benefit from the book, but you get rid of excess baggage.

Just a thought.

more books

Go for more book reviews!!!

Yes please for more book reviews!

I'd love to see more book reviews, and I like the general geek (or technical) interest idea too, especially if it could inform or inspire development of new software or push us to use Linux for different things.
Wouldn't books of a type ranging from Beginning Python Visualization by Shai Vaingast* to Envisioning Science: The Design and Craft of the Scientific Image by Felice Frankel; and The Animator's Survival Kit: A Working Manual of Methods, Principles and Formulas for Computer, Stop-motion, Games and Classical Animators by Richard E Williams be interesting to read about in Linux Format?

*which, I suppose, already fall within Linux Format's remit and you may well have reviewed

Not Convinced

Got to say, I'm not totally convined by the idea. I guess it depends how far you want to branch out. Books and DVDs on more general tech stuff would be cool, I personally wouldn't mind stuff on electronics/machines/AI etc..., but it would be a bit odd reading Andrew's views on the latest Tarantino film!

I also wouldn't want the reviews shortened too much. that other popular Linux mag in the UK seems to just re-print the synopsis for its book reviews. LXF book reviews have always been great, not least becuase the reviewer seems to have actually read the book!

BTW, Any opportunity to get free book is ALWAYS welcome and if you find you have too many books to review, I'll happily read some of them for you!



Awesome, it's great knowing a little more about a book before buying it, especially when reviewed by someone who knows what they are talking about.

Also, to those above, I believe the books that LXF gives away in the competitions are the ones that were reviewed. By the way, thanks LXF :D

Keep the detail please!

I think more reviews is great idea, I'd prefer them to have some relevance to Linux but really don't mind how tenuous the link is! :o)

I'd like to echo lithiumx' point that the reviews shouldn't be shortened too much. I like a review to dig below the surface, even if that means only having space for 4 or 5 instead of 6.

A compromise?

Personally, I love the idea but it seems not to be to everyone's liking. What if you went ahead with the idea but only reviewed novels etc. which are more closely related to FLOSS/linux/geekdom. You could work off a few guidelines. Would this keep everyone happy? This is somthing that I think is done very well by New Scientist (admittedly a very different type of mag) in their books section

Social and Technical

I already like the current mix of Technical and Social/Business type books that you currently review. Sometimes the pure techie types miss the point that Linux and Open Source are as much a social and organisational innovation as they are a technical one.

The techies would do well to read "The Success of Open Source" by Steven Weber.

+lithiumx that the reviews should not be shortened two much. One way you might do this is a couple of longer feature reviews along with a brief mention of some new titles.

One of the best things about Linux Format is the diverse content. Plus the British sense of humour!!

Book reviews are a Good

Book reviews are a Good Thing, but are there really more than three linux-related books coming onto the market each month that are worth reviewing?


More books = Even more Awesome!

I would suggest that you keep to a similar format, but with maybe 4-5 books
(I do prefer the current level of depth that you go into).

Also it doesn't HAVE to be completely hardcore Linux only, a little variety
is nice. (Although Fly Fishing by J.R Hartley may be pushing it a little bit...)

Could be good if criteria extended

Yes, more book reviews sounds good, as long as it is clear which are "excellent" and which are "poor". If they all end up being between 8-10 out of 10, then readers would probably lose interest in them.

Keep Books to Linux Related Stuff

Linux stuff (and related) is your forte, and that's what is appealing to most readers of your great mag. Please do not stray. Would be good also if you could cover tutorials/projects/howtos about Linux being used outside of the PC arena (e.g. embedded devices, Nintendo WII etc).

Yes, please!

I'm sick of seeing Stephen Fry and his triple chins!

Clarification is interesting..

Reading your clarification (which means only more book reviews, if they are not same technical as the already reviewed three ones, right?) and the other comments lead me to suggest this:

Why not continue to make more room/space for the current three technical reviews and maybe one additional other book/dvd?

But please keep review focus on Linux and FOSS. Or accept readers wishes for upcoming reviews.

Best regards, markus

Keep the reviews' depth

I agree with lithiumx and Pastyeater. Don't shorten the reviews much if at all. The depth is what is interesting; otherwise it's just a synopsis like others print and less interesting and less trustworthy. Free up the space and do one or two more reviews than normal. You don't have to jump from two or three to six reviews.

Page layout concerns

Adding to my prev post, I have to agree with the others about not shortening the current reviews too much. It is essential to preserve the integrity of what you already have achieved.
Perhaps you could simply have a small section, one or two lines per item, at the end of your (Linux related) reviews that points us in the direction of other stuff we may be interested in?

floss in depth reviews

I really like the book section and would be glad to see more reviews. But not shorter reviews, more in depth please.

And I agree with people above to keeping it linux/floss related.


More Reviews and Giveaways

More reviews would be great, but, like others have already said, don't compromise on the quality of the review. I'd rather have fewer reviews that go in depth than more reviews lacking substance.

As to the book giveaways, I would like to remind my fellow LXF readers that many book companies will gladly give you a copy of a book in exchange for you doing your own review.



Great, I like books. :D

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