Date: Jun 28 1999
From: Yinon Bentor
To: ask_tim@oreilly.com
Subject: Non-animal covers

Hi Tim,

As a big fan of O'Reilly books, Open Source, and general quality computer book publishing, I have a question for you. Why do you choose non-Animal covers for your Security (I've noticed one other, but you might be hiding some more under covers of your NT or Oracle sections -- which I haven't explored yet)? I am proud to say I own the owl book, the mouse book, the camel book, the crab book, the armadillo book, the horse book, and the tiger book, and will soon likely buy the tarsier book (never heard of that one before -- I'll just call it the lemur book), the grasshopper book, and whatever bird is going to be featured on MySQL & mSQL. Somehow, the "Vault book", "Helmet book", or the "Lock book", while they make sense, just don't carry along the same "magic" others have. I'm sure these books are just as good (I'm about to find out -- just ordered the "vault book") content wise.

Thanks,
Yinon


Good question, Yinon. The answer is simple. Like a lot of great ideas, it wasn't always obvious that the animal covers were the way to go. In our early years, before we'd really established our reputation, they were a little far out for a lot of people. Now, they mean "quality and depth" but then, they meant "who are these guys?" and "Why do they use those weird animals on their books?"

The security sub-series was just an experiment, an attempt to do something different, which had a tie to our animal covers, but went in a different direction. Once we got the series started, we just kept it up.

As a bit of historical trivia, you might be interested to know that Usenix had a contest when we first came out with Practical UNIX Security (now Practical UNIX and Internet Security), the book with the safe on the cover. The question: "What is the animal inside the safe?" I don't remember for sure, but I think their winning entry was "a salmon--now smoked and in the form of lox."

--Tim

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