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A unique gem of a Lotus Notes book that nobody buys

Thu 30 Dec 2010, 12:22 AM

by Ben Langhinrichs
The Virtual Library in the Lotusphere 2011 Sessions database now has thirty-three books, which is more than I thought I would find. A few are on Websphere or Dojo, but most are on Lotus Notes, Lotus Sametime, etc.

But the thirty-third book surprised me. Just Enough Governance for Notes by Craig Schumann of Teamstudio. How could I not have heard of this? How is this not a very popular book in Lotus Notes circles? It is pricey, which may be part of the problem, but I would think a number of companies would snap it up, especially with a ringing endorsement from Thomas Duff, reviewer extraordinaire, whose imprimatur should count for a lot.

Sadly, the book is ranked #2,110,607 on Amazon, which means it sells less than pickle-and-onion ice cream.  But we can do something about that.  Take a look at the description, read Duffbert's glowing and comprehensive review, and see if there isn't a company out there which would love to snap this up.  If five people bought the book between now and Lotusphere, that would probably bring the rank down below one million (SWAG).  More importantly, this is a topic which means something in the corporate world. Sure, XPages development is sexy and sells, but IT governance is critical too.

Maybe we could even convince Craig Schumann to drop the price a bit, if he has any say in the matter, or ask him to convince the publisher.  Either way, this book belongs on your bookshelf. Now, go convince your boss.

Update: I'm sorry, but I think this is funny. The sales rank on Amazon is now #139,312.  I don't know how they calculate, or how many have just suddenly bought the book on my recommendation (not likely), but dropping from #2,110,607 to #139,312 overnight?

Update2: Now, by the end of the same day, the ranking is #298,017.  I guess wild gyrations are the norm when you don't sell many copies.

Copyright 2010 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

945.1. Nathan T. Freeman
(12/30/2010 06:10 AM)


$70 for content that I'm pretty sure is on their website? WOW.

945.2. Bart Severein
(30-12-2010 10:17)

It would help a bit if you linked the book, state an ISBN (or a title). Not everyone is going to LS11 and/or is using the sessions db.

945.3. Ben Langhinrichs
(12/30/2010 12:37 PM)

@Bart - Sorry, it is the book directly below the text, but I modified the post to make that more clear.

@Nathan - Craig believes in the subject enough to build it into Teamstudio's way of doing business, but the difference is that on their website, it is focused on their products, their way of doing things. The book, on the other hand, deals with the topic without the confusion and distraction of the vendor's products. Similarly, much of the knowledge that Group's experts tout is available for free on various websites, but I imagine that Group expects clients to drop *CHOKE* a great deal more than $70 for that knowledge to be applied by one of your consultants on their particular needs.

The book is overpriced. No question about it, but even at this price, it is about half the price of attending one session at Lotusphere, assuming you go to a session in every available slot and the price is the same for each one. Gives a different perspective, doesn't it?

945.4. Doug Finner
(12/30/2010 12:51 PM)

If you work in a place that has little governance and your environment is, or is heading, out of control, then this is a great book to help you design a flexible change control environment and is well worth the $70.

If you work in an environment that has so much change control you can't get any work done, then this book can help you push back on 'THE RULES' and establish something more reasonable and flexible and, again, is well worth the cost.

If you have a balanced change process, then this book will just confirm you're doing things right.

In my case, I'm always looking for best practice advice to help me keep the change control process at a level that keeps us in regulatory compliance (work at an FDA regulated shop) without killing us with paperwork. The book validated our approach to change control.

Ben, side comment about your 'how did you miss this'...apparently you weren't spending time at LDD when the book was released. TS and the publisher had a bit of a mis-communication and the publisher pretty much spammed LDD for a couple of days. It got so annoying that I contacted TS about the issue. The apologized, contacted the publisher, and the spamming stopped. I bought the book too...guess spam can work.


945.5. Ben Langhinrichs
(12/30/2010 01:15 PM)

@Doug - Thanks for the history lesson. It must have been while I was heads-down developing. When I disappear for a while from LDD, it is usually because I am deep in the bowels of rich text or ODF or something and don't come up for air but once a week.

My kids throw bars of soap at me during those time.

Anyway, glad to hear another recommendation for the book. Maybe you could get on Amazon and add a review?

945.6. Craig Schumann
(01/12/2011 03:03 PM)

Thanks for the recommendation everyone! Just for the record, Teamstudio doesn't have much say in the price of the book unfortunately. I'm not sure if this has any effect, but, the publisher is in the UK and exchange rates may be affecting the price a bit also.

The idea for the book absolutely came from our experience with all these topics in various Notes shops all over the world, so there is a lot of Teamstudio in the book. That being said, we tried very hard to be as neutral about the topics as possible. Nothing about the requirements for controlling development/test/production is unique to the Domino world. We did try to put a Notes spin on it and keep it as easy to read as possible.

To Nathans point, you won't find any of the material in the book on our website... mostly because we don't have the rights to it anymore... However, you will find lots of detailed documents on how to implement the topics in the book. Here again, we tried to be open about how you solve the problems and give lots of options in terms of procedures and tools. Sometimes a Teamstudio tool can help, sometimes not, but all options are explored.