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Wrox bankrupt?

A friend of mine got a letter in the mail today from Wrox stating the same thing (he's expecting payment on an article he submitted).


Thursday, March 20, 2003

They were never consistent on their books - but the bankcrupcy issue had more to do with their parent company, thatn them...

Prakash S
Thursday, March 20, 2003

No great loss

Tony E
Friday, March 21, 2003

Yep, they're belly up.

This is a company that started out with good potential but very rapidly became the ultimate Shovelware publisher.

In a rush to get books out, they often had four, ten, even fifteen authors on each book. Editing appeared to be non-existent. The books were terrible even when each author tried their hardest. The covers looked like the Chess Club page in a high school yearbook -- a dozen mugshots of men who hadn't had a shave or a haircut since learning Perl. Chapters repeated things and left things out. Certain chapters were unreadable, depending on the author, and you could NEVER learn a technology by reading a WROX book because there was no overall intelligence behind the book, just a bunch of chapters by a smattering of writers, some good, most terrible.

Amen to the "Good Riddance". Long live Apress. ;)

Joel Spolsky
Friday, March 21, 2003

Plus Wrox book covers often had gratuitous
photos of butt-ugly developers/authors.. damn!!!

Friday, March 21, 2003

Well, the Wrox books were better than quite a few Sams books, to their defense.

Nontheless, I think that's proof that some things just don't work as an assembley line (which was basicly how Wrox worked)

flamebait sr.
Friday, March 21, 2003

What's wrong with Sams books. Some of the 24 hours series are good, and some are ordinary, but I've never seen a bad one.

In general they chose a good author or at most a pair, told him/her/them to produce 24 chapters with a few easy exercises at the end of each, and get on with it.

Seems like a pretty good way to run the show.

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 21, 2003

There are really three GREAT publishing houses for technical stuff: Addison-Wesley, Apress, and O'Reilly.

Anything else is suspect. :)

Brad (
Friday, March 21, 2003

I suppose you could toss in MSPress if you're a Microsoft coder, but even then I've seen some rather uneven MSPress books, enough so that I wouldn't trust a book from them without either knowing the author or having a recommendation.

Brad (
Friday, March 21, 2003

Gee, I did not think worx was that bad. But the only book I ever had from them was one that came in the Visual C 6.0 c++ box. I had two of those books sitting around here for awhile. The book was a single author, and looked ok to me. It was a beginning  c++ book. I only read the first chapter, but only stopped because I did not need to learn C++. But Microsoft did see fit to include a copy with each version of C++ sold (we talking the VC6++ standard edition).

I just needed the C++ compiler to run all my tour software, but I still don’t know much c++.  I was using a cross compiler that takes pick basic (mv-basic) code, and converts it into c++ and then runs on windows. This amazing produced is jbase

Anyway, my experience with the sams books are quite good. I had a Visual Basic for Application (Unleashed series), and the book was quite good.

And, last but least, I certainly do think that the process that Addison-Wesley uses for making their books is very good (they use reveiwers). And, their process better be ok, as I am waiting for a check from them in the mail!!.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada

Albert D. Kallal
Friday, March 21, 2003

Actually, I've had good experience with some Wrox books because they contained the snippets of code that did exactly what I needed at the time. 

But I have to agree, they had horrible looking book covers considering they weren't intended to be scary or alarming.  Blood red color scheme with creepy looking programmers, all having glasses, messy beards, and bad haircuts; they were just awful!

They were so bad, I had to either cut off the front cover or at least make sure the book was crammed between two others on the shelf so that the cover wasn't visible. 

I like O'Reilly books much better.  They have pictures of cute, furry animals on the cover :)

Immature programmer
Friday, March 21, 2003


There's one book that has a mostly naked guy on the cover, I forget the title or publisher.

I think the point of the Wrox covers was to show that the authors were programmers, just like you and me.

Personally, I don't *want* to look like that.  If they want to show that the authors were programmers like all of us, they shoudld put attractive muscular dudes and attractive ladies on the cover.  Very few programmers actually look like that, but I think we'd all like to think we do.  Well... except for those coders who are furry-fans outside of work. ;)

flamebait sr.
Friday, March 21, 2003

"There are really three GREAT publishing houses for technical stuff: Addison-Wesley, Apress, and O'Reilly. Anything else is suspect."

Addison Wesley is indeed of the absolute highest quality. Amazing the number of timeless works they have. O'Reilly is usually good but there are some dogs. And not usually all that deep. And sometimes not as well put together.

Prentice Hall and Dorset House are both consistently good and also both well edited and well typeset. Fifteen years ago, Prentice Hall was what Addison Wesley is today. Microsoft Press is about as good as O'Reilly -- quite a few good ones but you'll want to leaf through each first on a case by case basis before buying.

Dennis Atkins
Saturday, March 22, 2003

Actually, Wrox's fate and the quality of their output is a good portent of the way software might go with all the emphasis on cheap programmers.

Quite a few publishers had a business model of just finding authors from web forums, allowing and encouraging them to rewrite product documentation, paying them hardly anything and then putting out lots of titles in the popular fields of the moment.

The authors, rank amateurs, would accept doing all the work in return for the "kudos" of being an "author." The quality of their code samples was poor, the writing was abysmal. They were an embarrasment.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Out of curiousity, I looked through my bookshelf to see how many Wrox books I had. Most of the Wrox books were purchased back when I was less experienced. Since then, my bookshelf has been filled with titles by Addison-Wesley, O'Reilly, and Prentice Hall.

It's also fun to look at the ACCU book reviews by publisher:

Under Sams, I think I found my favorite book title of all time: "Teach Yourself C++ in 10 minutes" by Jesse Liberty. Classic!!

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Matthew Lock
Monday, March 24, 2003


Similar to oreilly but also different. Unfortunately the depth of safari with aw in the mix outshines their ebooks.

Bbut you can include manning with oreilly.

Don't you just hate the ream of uml books from aw though?

Monday, March 24, 2003

I would imagine the reason why Wrox put nerds on the cover was a way to attract authors: "Hey, you get to have your face on the cover! You'll practically be famous!"

Joe Grossberg
Monday, March 24, 2003

I've written a few articles for their web site and I just got the notice in the mail about their insolvency. I guess I'll never see that money....

Wrox used to put out a lot of good books, but I'll agree that their quality has largely gone down the toilet. However, there were still some good titles to be had, but you had to be choosy. (And the idea of putting the author's pics on the books...Baaad idea. Faces made for radio.)

Their web sites were much of the same story..Some good articles, lots of bad. (Naturally, I think my articles were in the former category and the feedback I received seemed to suggest that.) But I always wondered how they turned a profit, since they paid $600 for an article.

Mark Hoffman
Monday, March 24, 2003

"Learn C++ in 2 weeks" - By A. Lamer

Chapter 1 - Time Dilation

Thursday, April 10, 2003

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