Dec 14, 2009

An unfortunate truth about NXT books

Well, our One Kit Wonders book just took another hit with a 2-star review. The reviewer writes

"... I purchased this book thinking it meant what it stated in the title by "One Kit," meaning the main NXT kit and no other additional parts. This book requires many parts that don't come in the original main kit, and none of the extra parts I do have. The parts are not labeled and you must hunt and peck through your system to find the parts you don't have in your main kit and hunt them down and order them (not exactly a truthful title)... I've yet to build anything with this book and I've had it for over a year now. Plus several parts I have ordered turned out to be wrong, do to poor picture quality and lack of measurements."

Let's ignore the fact that the reviewer states he's had the book over a year... I'm guessing by the review that he's possibly purchased a 2.0 kit (or the Education kit). I think a lot of the problems with buyers not being happy with their books is that they're not doing the research to determine to which NXT kit the book applies. This is a 1.0 book... but Amazon makes no attempt to encourage buyers of the NXT 2.0 kit to buy this book (and others)... even when WE know the two are not compatible.

Sales on NXT books are low... not sure if it's because the product has matured or whether there are a lot more choices in books or a combination of these (or other factors). But the fact remains that reviews hurt sales... and bad sales cause publishers to pursue other topics. I've spoken with publishers who are concerned about sales of the NXT and the confusion that the multiple versions are bringing to the table. All it takes is one new NXT 1.0 owner to come and read this review and they're likely to NOT purchase the book even though, IMO, it's a great book for 1.0 owners. We can't request that the review be removed because that's not how Amazon works... (to be honest, someone could write "This latest Steven King novel stinks" - give it a 1 star review - and Amazon would still unlikely remove it from the OKW reviews).

Not sure what the solution is, but once gain I want to encourage you, the NXT book owner, to speak your mind and write reviews, good or bad, of the NXT books you use. Reviews can make or break a book... and they do have an impact on publishers who are considering doing more NXT books. It's unfortunate that studies have shown that unhappy people are more likely to write an unfavorable review than happy people are to write a favorable one.

I don't know if No Starch will ever consider another OKW book (or Idea Book) - I'm not sure what the deciding factors are... but I do believe that these negative reviews will impact sales which are likely to impact (negatively) the odds of more NXT books being done.

I wish this OKW reviewer had written a more fair review - I wonder how many parents of 1.0 owners are looking for Christmas books right now and will pass this one by because the latest review basically states (inaccurately) that this book is misleading, incorrect, and a bad buy?

Jim

One more thing: I do think that all NXT publishers should request Amazon (and other online seller) to update their book descriptions with something that clearly states whether the book is for 1.0 or 2.0 or mixure. What do you think?

25 comments:

sqiddster said...

That's a real shame. Its sad that people who didn't research the book properly ruin it for everyone else.

Parax said...

Yes it should be obvious which 'one kit' the book refers too on all websites and even why not put the set number in the book subheading! "One kit wonders for set xxxx"

You don't just go to the store and buy a Haynes Manual you buy the one with you car on the front!

I think its right that this guy's review is still their. It is his experience. it is a shame you cannot reply to his comment though.. (not that it would help him in this case.) but perhaps others will see it and think to check their set before buying!

Christopher R. Smith (Littlehorn) said...

I replied to this review just after it was added. Sure, it's only one review...one couldn't hurt...could it?

I can't ignore this and wish some select people would have some sense of what is real and what is perceived within their own minds before spewing and perpetuating distrust. The lazy and uneducated (and the unwarranted, purposely hateful) reviewers will destroy the greater good if they are left to throw their own inventive dirt. It's like giving the bus keys to an all-knowing infant. It grows and over the cliff we all fly. Amazon is no help! And, publishers are more destructive than they will believe.

I can't believe the "original kit" part of the review. Maybe more will see the inaccuracies in the reviews before believing them as the truth. The fact is no one can begin to fathom the book creation process (especially for MINDSTORMS books) until they are actually in the mix. It is absolutely over-whelming...between the fights with publishers and these flaky reviews it is surprising that we even try to make these books.

Amazon's review 'feature' will probably destroy most writers and publishers if mindless folks are allowed to continue to crack farts in church.

Chris

Jim Kelly said...

I don't think the reviewer shares all the blame here, but certainly if you buy a 2.0 kit, wouldn't you think a book that's been out since 2007 would be for the 1.0 kit??? Or at least check?

That said, I think publishers and Amazon share a big burden of the blame here - now that different versions exist, it should be made apparent to potential buyers what they are getting... this is hindsight, of course, but something that can easily be done now.

Jojoguy10 said...

I bought this book, and I have a 1.0 set, and I LOVE IT!!! It's a GREAT book for new NXT owners. But it will NOT work for 2.0 owners, your right there. Anyway, GREAT book!!!
jojoguy10 -
www.lego-extreme.blogspot.com

Enrique said...

We have to acknowledge that there are different kinds of NXT owners, some more informed than others. Maybe the reviewer was not not even aware of the existence of 2 different NXT kits, with a different assortment of parts. I totally agree with your last comment, Jim.

I feel we need to do something because IMO as an owner, the NXT books (I have all the NoStarch and some Apress and Variant) have been GREAT and they are an inseparable part of my NXT experience.

Amazon should at least have a warning in the product description section. And I think that on the cover of each book a sticker could be helpful (adhesive or pre-printed, like the ones that say NEW! or 2ND EDITION!) that tells the prospective buyer to which NXT version that book is intended to. Amazon should reproduce this updated cover with the sticker. Another idea would be for the author to write his/her own "review" of the book, just to further clarify the above, in order to avoid harmful/embarrasing situations such as this one.

And last but not least let me say that I have purchased the unofficial upgrade kit to supplement our NXT 1.0 set, and my son and I have just built Alpha2. With this superset of parts we are ready for the 2.0 books that are just hitting the market! This upgrade kit enables authors/editors to enlarge the target market of new 2.0 books and increase sales.

I have reviewed all the books I purchased and do not know what else I could do, I wish to help anyway I can. I mean, I would like to have new NXT books available and I am concerned that the incentives for that could be in question.

Linus said...

This review- or rating-problem has been on amazon and similar stores for a long time. And it's not a special "LEGO books" problem...

On amazon or other large stores, you get a fair average cut of the population. And apparently, many people don't do proper research, aren't observant enough, or just don't bother. They don't read full reviews, full descriptions, or buy on impulse. Some are smart, others not so much.

You get people who buy the wrong accessories for their mobiles, buy USB 2.0 devices when they've only got USB 1.1 compatible ports or they order DVDs with the wrong country code (not that often, agreed). Some of those people are angry and give a bad review. Others don't bother.

And there is again the old problem: Unsatisfied customers tend to give "worse" reviews (in comparision) than happy buyers. Even more, the majority of satisfied customers never post a review at all (or less compared to the unhappy ones). That's all old news.



How does this apply to LEGO books? You have to assume as little as possible. The average customer (or maybe the worst possible customer):

- has no idea there are different NXT sets

- has no idea different NXT sets could contain different parts

- doesn't know by heart which NXT set he/she owns

- doesn't know there were times when NXT 1.0 was sold and now NXT 2.0 is being sold

- doesn't know where to get single/spare LEGO parts

- doesn't know that each LEGO part has a unique serial number



You can try to work "against" that. Put as many information on the front cover as possible. Maybe it looks ugly. Maybe you offend more intelligent or more alert customers. Tough choice. Even harder if at the time you write a book, you have no idea another LEGO NXT set will come out 2 years in the future.

Well I can only say: These bad unfair reviews shouldn't influence buyers "on average", eventually. In an ideal world. And if you have multiple different "One Kit Wonders" books, those with a big fat "only applies to LEGO NXT Set 1.0 from 2006 with serial number #1234" might get less unfair reviews. "Evolution of reviews" might sort it out....

What can amazon do? Let people comment on reviews (is that possible)? Let people use the "was this review helpful? -- NO" feature more often. Make reviews by "good reviewers" more valuable. Don't take the average rating from just all reviews. Add more descriptions and tags (applies to NXT 1.0 or 2.0).

What can the book authors do? Be very clear about their requirements. I mean, if I buy a book about Microsof Office 2007 today, am I angry if it doesn't work with Office 2010? No, I should't be, because I never expected that. In software, different versions and releases (incompatible to each other) have long be a custom we all grew used to. It's new for toys.

What can we (the readers/users) do? Complain to amazon. Write our own reviews. Use the "this review was not helpful" feature. Buy the books. Write/implement our own rating systems. Use different online shops. Buy only the books that clearly indicate which sets they're intended for.

Finally at the end of my rant: Another guess why LEGO books might not sell so well: Maybe most people still see LEGO as creative toy, where you play and build in free-style mode. Or most parents might want their children to do exactly this -- foster creativity. Additionally, all you need to start with LEGO / NXT is the set. Initial building instructions are already included, so you're good to go. A great spot to save money now (by not buying a(nother) book).

I don't know -- but I guess the more complicated and sophisticated LEGO / NXT gets, the better books will sell. Just give it a little time...

Jim Kelly said...

Enrique, thanks for the reviews you have written. As a writer, I like to have feedback, good or bad. It helps with future books.

That's awesome to hear that the upgrade kit is working for you and allowing you to build 2.0 robots - thanks for letting us know about that.

As for future books, I worry, too, about publishers losing interest in the NXT topic or losing sales due to poor reviews and opting to stop new NXT books - only time will tell.

ianchowmiller said...

You think part of the problem is :...a lot of customers are not doing the research..."

If the picture of the book on this blog is accurate, it doesn't even mention on the front cover which set the book is for. People do judge a book by its cover, and choose books that way too. Surely the cover would be a good place to put some simple information like, "For use only with 1.0."

I don't like negative reviews and can understand how one person who doesn't quite understand what they're writing about can ruin (or contribute to hurting) a book's sales. But it seems here that the contributing factors belong with the book cover (publisher? author?), and perhaps Amazon for not listing some warnings with the purchase of one book or the other.

Laurens Valk said...

When this book came out, I was not able to post the book's video trailer in the "Related Media" section on Amazon, so I posted it as a video review.

I have just updated this review with a (hopefully) clear explanation with reference to the NXT 2.0 and NXT 1.0. I've included links to these particular kits to make it clear to the potential book readers.

At this point it is third in the list of "most poular" reviews. I bet more people will actually see it if it gets more positive votes. So if you have an amazon account, go ahead and give it a vote...

Brian Davis said...

There's actually a reason I haven't ever contributed a set of BI's to a book. OK, two reasons:

1) Such a book is going to be obsolete fairly quickly.
2) I dislike making BI's :).

While the second is personal in nature, the first isn't. The books I value are not cookbooks - they're textbooks. If the tools or available ingredients change, then a cookbook is useless (let's face it, if the average user can't do the research to figure out what the book requires in the way of parts, they aren't going to do the work of "modifying the recipe". But the procedures, ideas, and theory that's in a textbook remain. I still have the original "Building Robots with LEGO Mindstorms", and refer to it often, because the information contained therein still hasn't gone out of date (haven't even bothered to "update" to the NXT version - there's no good reason).

Is this a problem? Yep. It's already partly responsible for fewer authors (like me). But I don't think it's going to get better (sadly).

Fay Rhodes said...

My NXT Zoo! book clearly states on the cover and in the description that it requires more than the base kit, and reviewers have emphasized that. Just the same, the book's rating has been dragged down by people who disregarded or didn't read any of that. It's very frustrating.

People dislike seeing their child "disappointed" and, instead of encouraging them to find a solution, they blame the author.

My newest book, Robots Alive! Endangered Species, (which clearly states which kit I used) has yet to be reviewed---which I've considered a mixed blessing. Better no reviews than ignorant reviews. (The models can be easily modified to be built with the other kits, but that requires effort on the reader's part. Heaven forbid!)

These days there are a number of self-publishing options, which I'm experimenting with.

The good news:
It allows me to control the content---which means the book is in color and I can decide on the content. (People on this blog have repeatedly said they'd pay more for color. We'll see.) Also, the print-on-demand technology limits the risk.

The bad news:
You won't find the book in your local bookstore. At this point, you can only find it on amazon.com---and Amazon does not discount the books---even the ones produced by their own company, CreateSpace. It also is not readily available internationally. (If anyone has a solution to that, I'd love to hear it.)

As long as people won't read descriptions, there will be unhappy buyers. If the happy buyers don't step up to the plate and support the books they like, their options will become extremely limited.

Enrique said...

Again, let me emphasize that for my son and I, our enjoyment of the bare NXT set would be nothing compared to the fun and motivation we had from building the models from the books. Not only we were able to build complex robots, way above our skills, but we learnt in the process, both in building and programming. We were amazed by the design of most, bewildered by their complexity, and discovering very smart and creative techniques. We built some twice, wondering how the author reached that level of creativity and building ability. So at this point, the NXT set, the books, and the surrounding community, in our view, are inseparable. So we would like to help sustain (not just by purchasing books) the eco-system of readers/authors/publishers... Even TLG has a vested interest in this… I think I am not an exception, by considering a near-future purchase of another NXT set (and some sensors, and flexi-cables, and the new HT multiplexer, etc.) if it not were for the books… they were our “stepping stones”!. So, can we learn anything from all these comments to Jim’s post?

1. I once heard from a successful businessman that “nobody ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the average consumer”. So, Linus, unfortunately your description of the average/worst customer is an assumption we need to make.
2. We need to provide a “safety net” for these uninformed consumers. At least, to avoid their need to express their frustration with a negative review. For instance, is it possible to place a shiny gold or silver sticker just on the IMAGE of the book cover, at amazon.com? This virtual sticker (with large boldface letters) should make clear what set the book is targeted to. This label would have no cost, and may avoid problems with online shoppers, or at least you can tell the complaining customer…“Didn’t you see the large shiny label”? BTW Fay, I looked very carefully at the covers of your two books you mentioned at amazon.com, and I could not find the label, no matter how much I zoomed in (I apologize in advance if I'm mistaken).
3. There should be at least one page, the first one to be seen in the book, bound or not (as the separate "Errata" flyers) explaining which set the book is aimed at, with a picture of the set box and a e-mail address for “support”. Why? Let this frustrated customer complain to YOU (or your surrogate) and not publish a bad review (this is a sort of a “lightning rod”). Then you may even help the customer who purchased the wrong book to find the parts required in just one easy step, with the upgrade (for 1.0 owners) or retrograde (for 2.0 owners) kits that may be available. After all that tender loving care he/she can return the book if they want, but will not likely publish a bad review.
4. Do the same as above at the blogs, in the books web sites, in the video clips etc.
5. We at the community need to be more militant in answering each of these bad reviews (unless they are based on proper grounds, I meant to say these “wrong reviews”). For ex using the “Was this review helpful to you?” button, or posting a commentary. I did so, right after Christopher, at the review of the OKW book. At least we may mitigate the damage.

Sorry for the long rant, but I am looking forward to building a lot of robots with my son, and I lack the time and ability to create such formidable models. So I am being selfish: I need you guys to keep publishing!

Thanks
Enrique

Amy said...

I just purchased the One Kit Wonders book, despite the negative reviews on amazon! My son has the #9797 Education kit with the v1.1 software (1.0 plus upgrade) and the #9648 Education Resource set. I believe he should have everything he needs (and more!) with these two sets for the models in the book. Can you verify this?

Jim Kelly said...

Enrique,

I like some of your comment, but unfortunately I think it was you that zinged me with my single 1-star review on my NXT-G book - I quote:

"So when I read at the product page of Jim's book, that "This book is for people new to programming (10 years old and up) or for experienced programmers new to the NXT-G programming language", this last phrase prompted me to purchase the book... Well, much to my surprise, this book is not suitable for anybody with experience in computer programming....It is because of that misleading description that I am unhappy to rate it with just 1 star."

While your opinion is your opinion, I couldn't believe that someone would rate my book with a single star just because they believe that experienced programmers wouldn't benefit from my book. I've had parents who are coders tell me that the pseudo-code approach I used made it easier for them to shift gears from more complex languages to actually understanding the usage of NXT-G.

What really made it hard was your opening review sentence:

"I have a lot of respect for the author of this book and his work for the NXT community."

I'm sorry to have to push back here, but I'll continue to say that 1-star reviews can kill sales of a book, and the NXT-G guide, despite all the positive feedback I've received for it from coaches, parents, and kids, did not sell as well as Apress would have liked. Rather than a 1-star review, it left me wondering why you couldn't have rated the book based on its success or failure to teach NXT-G? Given that goal, I would have thought a 3 star would have been sufficient. Oh, well.

Adam Eyring said...

Jim,
Although I had been playing with the NXT for a while (and have a lot of other programming experience), I decided to get the NXT-G book and my jaw dropped. It was a god-send because there is so little info otherwise on how to use the wires between blocks. I will put a positive comment on it in Amazon tonight.

By the way, there are many copies of this book available new for less than MSRP - are you actually getting paid less and less the more the prices drop or you've already been paid - it's the distributors who suffer if they don't sell the books at MSRP? I understand if this is priviledged info, but I want authors and musicians to be paid appropriately for their work. Thanks.

Jim Kelly said...

Hi, Adam.

Thanks for the kind words about the book!

As for payment - no secrets there. Publishers typically negotiate an advance to write the book - this is money paid up front to the writer to write the book. Only after a set number of copies have been sold (to pay back the advance) will an author begin to make any extra money from a book... I still make a little bit from each copy sold, but that amount is based on the wholesale cost that the seller pays, not what the buyer/end user pays. So it's not much :)

Enrique said...

I received two unpleasant surprises today. Firstly Mr. C. Brooks at amazon.com would not reason about his original OKW review (the very reason that originated this discussion), no matter what. He published (and later deleted) an offensive comment including me as part of a “click” (I assume he meant “clique”) and he is suspicious of some sort of plot by a “lynch mob” against him. Even though English is not my native language, I believe that the concept of “mob” is opposite to “clique”. Anyway, Mr. Brooks is an ignorant person squared i.e. he does not know that he does not know. And he is pretty adamant to remain so, since he will not reason, no matter how much effort and good faith our comments may convey. His manners (or lack of them) somehow hints that continuing this exchange with him will be useless.

Also, Jim Kelly, moderator and main contributor of this terrific blog, brought up a matter, replying to a contribution I made to this discussion, which I think is not pertaining to it (weren’t we talking about the non-informed reviews of people who buy the wrong books to the sets they own?). Jim expresses his annoyance and lashes out at me for a review I gave to one of his books exactly one year ago, for completely different reasons. Jim “likes some of my ideas” about the subject of this discussion, but he does not elaborate further and goes on venting his frustration at me, quoting me and expressing his anger. Jim, I am sorry to have caused you this resentment and I am definitely available for a private discussion about my review. But not here, and not now. Let’s keep this discussion valuable to all. Let’s keep personal matters aside.

Let me finish by saying that:

1. I still think my review of Jim’s book was not without grounds (I put a lot of though before posting it).
2. I think that bringing this matter into this particular public discussion was out of line.
3. Since it distressed Jim so much, I will remove my review at amazon.com.
4. Jim made me feel “persona non-grata” at his blog. Accordingly, I will not post at this blog again.

Best of luck to you all
Enrique

James Floyd Kelly (Jim) said...

Enrique,

Sorry to hear that you won't be participating in our discussions anymore, but that's your choice.

I re-read over my response to you and do not believe my comment was out of order. The original post was about how reviews can negatively effect sales of book.

You jumped into this conversation, offering up your thoughts which were fine. Something chimed in my head and I had to go back and verify that the year-old review was yours.

My comment has no anger in it - sorry you read that. Annoyance, maybe, but not anger. And I certainly don't see how I've made you feel "persona non grata" - unless it's because I referenced you directly by name as the amazon.com reviewer.

I don't think my bringing this up was out of line - as a matter of fact, it helped solidify my point. You had the ability to rate a book between 1 and 5 stars and chose to give it 1 star because you felt it was misleading in stating that 'experienced programmers' would find it useful - well, I'm a semi-experienced programmer and I know many professional programmers who have told me they liked the book... but okay, let's assume the book truly went out of the way to mislead you on that fact - why not simply state in your review "I think stating that experienced programmers will find it useful to be a stretch" and then give it 2 stars or 3... or, heaven forbid, 4 stars. You provided nothing in your review that would benefit a potential buyer who wanted to know whether the book successfully or unsuccessfully teaches NXT-G programming. Did it? Because that's the goal of the book and of my writing it. Not arguing over whether a professional programmer would have issues with the format of the book.

Please read my comment again and then re-read yours - I did not "lash out" at you - I did not express anger. I just expressed my opinion (as have you) that I felt the rating you received was unwarranted and unbalanced given the complaint you had with the book.

Leave your review. It's your opinion. But please don't be upset with me (the author) if I feel slightly insulted when you state you have "a lot of respect for the author" and then write a 1-star review that impacts sales and, ultimately, my job.

I'm sorry you're upset with me, Enrique, but picking up your ball and going home isn't the solution. I hope you'll stick around and continue to participate in future discussions.

megamindstorm101 said...

difinately try to change the description because i would hate it if all these awesome nxt books would begin to fail just because of some silly people making nonsense reviews.

I have seen this in many places besides this such as people who would buy the wrong cable to plug their camera into the computer and then put a bad review because the cable wasnt meant for the camera. Or someone who buys the wrong batteries for an rc car/boat/plane/heli its just annoying and reviews really impact the way I buy things. If i see something with few stars I am afraid to buy it.

The "39 out of 42 people found this review helpfull" should be removed in my opinion as well. someone who has no clue about something and then saying someones bad review was helpfull is kinda annoying.

I hope people can either 1 learn to read instructions, descriptions, and reaserch books before purchasing, or 2 amazon needs to change descriptions. I want NXT book sales to go up not down as do many other lego users.

Fay Rhodes said...

Enrique,

I hope you will reconsider and continue to participate in the blog. Input like yours is important and holds us accountable.

For example, while my Robots Alive! Endangered Species book does list the kits used on the back cover, the covers of the Zoo! book do not (as I honestly thought they did) say that the models require more than the base kit. Because of your input, I'll avoid some future embarrassment.

In my defense, I would like to point out that the "First Pages" of the Zoo! book (using the"Look Inside" feature) direct buyers to a website where they can find part requirements for each animal model. The first pages also tell readers where to find parts. Add the early reviews that mention the need for extra parts, and I'd say the buyer should be adequately warned.

It was certainly my intention to inform the reader.

Linus said...

The more I'm following this discussion the more I'm worried about the basic "claims" of the problem: That wrong reviews with a bad rating affect sales and/or publishers.

I don't question that they do, the authors surely know what they talk about. I'm just interested in some hard facts. Do you have data about this? A percantage of the drop in sales? Do publishers "pressure" authors to achieve a certain rating on amazon, or to keep a certain amount of "sales per week"?
Are there visible correlations between a drop in sales and the number of bad reviews / the average rating?

Anyway, I'm trying to understand what average customers do after reading a 1-star review (which is based on false facts). Do they look for other, higher rated LEGO books? Do they totally refrain from buying LEGO books and save the money? Or do they maybe spend the money on more LEGO sets?

I know this doesn't exactly help. But it worries me that we live in a world where important decisions (wether or not a publisher will finance another LEGO book) are based on such uninformed and unfair reviews. Apart from that, reviews for books, films, and especially music, is a very questionable thing. You can review style, form, quality of pictures and so on. But whether or not a reader likes a "piece of media" is his/her very own decision.

I can only repeat my "demand" to change the system: It should be possible for readers and/or authors to comment on reviews! Unfair reviews should be voted down, as foolish youtube-comments are.

It's our duty as community to write fair and well-informed reviews for the LEGO books we buy to let those unfair bad reviews disappear as noise. And of course our decision to buy a book shouldn't be based on reviews and ratings alone!

Jason Sliss said...

The book authors on this blog make a very fair point about the motivation of readers to post positive vs. negative reviews. I am someone who probably should have posted a glowing review of the One Kit Wonders book on Amazon a long time ago.

Most of the reviews on Amazon for One Kit Wonders have been positive while including many of the caveats about 1.0 vs. 2.0 and compatibility. If you think Amazon isn't doing enough to address reader backlash, doesn't Amazon provide a section on the product's page where the author can post information, videos, web links, etc. related to the product? Might it help to communicate to your buyers and potential buyers in this fashion?

In any event, this appears to be a very sore subject for the book authors on this site. But airing your grievances online by blaming and insulting buyers and readers isn't going to increase sales. Anyone reading this comment trail who has ever posted a negative review of anything anywhere would not want to be grouped alongside those who would spew and perpetuate distrust, among being lazy and infantile. And, once you tell a reader that you are insulted by his comments (even slightly), he will never give you valuable feedback again, not because he's purposely hateful, but because he's actually nice and doesn't want to insult you.

There are always going to be a few negative comments on anything that has a high value. It might help to consider that people are posting a review of their experience with your book, not necessarily the book or the contents themselves. And while a comment may be unflattering on the surface, some part of the comment may be of value to you and your readership in the future. Isn't it all about growing the readership anyway, so that more will buy the next book?

If the publishers are giving you too many problems, or the resellers open up your books to too much negative commentary, then you still have the option of directly publishing, selling, and soliciting reader feedback on your own. nxtprograms.com has a nice project package available, while providing color instructions and online support for 1.0 vs. 2.0 vs Education sets. I know that it is too cost-prohibitive for the publishers and resellers to do this for your books, but it may make your readership's experience complete.

I certainly will be buying NXT publications in the future, and I wish you all well in your robotics endeavors.

Jonathan said...

I'm Jim's editor -- one of them -- over at Apress. This has been a very interesting thread. The idea of revisiting book description text on Amazon.com in light of NXT 2.0 is a good one. I'll make some time to do that for the current books that Apress publishes on MINDSTORMS.

megamindstorm101 said...

Linus... When I read a 1 star review and its a lego book I know it is usually fairly simple to contact the author themself and I ask them weather or not the book is good. I have contacted Jim K about his Mars Base Command because I was slightly confused as to how it worked and couldn't find any reviews. (Just to let you know Jim I would buy that book its just that having it online and at a website other than one like say borders, target, walmart, ect. It makes it much harder for me to buy).

so thats my answer If i see bad reviews I reaserch it more and or contact the author.


ps. I was thinking of getting guide to nxt-g but then nxt-g just popped out to me after seeing a program on nxtlog and then there was not much of a use for me to learn nxt-g as I have already learned it.

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