One of the most popular questions I hear is regarding book shelf space. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, but if you go into a bookstore, most likely you will see an entire bookcase dedicated to Oracle books and another to Microsoft books and in most cases only a single book about DB2. Why is this?
First of all, if you look very carefully, you may find a few other DB2 titles hidden away in other bookshelves. Try looking under "Certification", "Networks" or "Operating Systems". I know, it doesn't make any sense to look in those sections, but I've personally found DB2 titles in each of those categories! The biggest problem for a bookshelf stocker is that they have no idea where they should put our books. Some will even put our books in the Oracle bookshelf. In my opinion, there should be a Database Section, not an Oracle section. Or better yet, let's get a shelf for all IBM SW products or technology. It seems that this would make it easier for those stocking the shelves as well as those buying the books.
I'm hoping that now that we have an IBM Press (http://www.ibm.com/ibmpress) series of books published by Pearson Education, that we'll publish enough books about various IBM technologies to have a book case dedicated to IBM Press. Then you be able to find titles for DB2 next to the Cloudscape books, next to the Lotus, Rational, Tivoli, and WebSphere titles. This makes sense to me and it cannot happen soon enough for my liking.
So when will it happen? That depends on a number of factors. The first thing that we need is enough titles in our collection so we can fill a whole bookshelf. On the last count, there were 47 IBM Press titles published! Put 5 of each title in a bookshelf and it won't be very difficult to fill a book case.
But, the bookstore buyers aren't yet willing to take a risk on our books. Last year I convinced 60 key Borders stores to stock DB2 titles, but they didn't sell! No surprise, really. If you've never found a DB2 title in a bookstore, why would you ever look in a bookstore to find one? So the titles were sent back to the publisher and again, very few bookstores are carrying our titles.
Is it really a big deal though since the books can be purchased online, usually at a lower price than in the bookstore? Well, yes and no. I would assume that most people buying IT books are buying them from a favourite online bookstore. Amazon.com is probably the most common place. But what we're missing is MIND SHARE.
Assume that you are a university student and in your spare time you wandered into the database section in a bookstore. You see Oracle, MS SQL Server, MYSQL, and a few others, but nothing on DB2. Are you going to care about getting skilled on DB2 after witnessing this? I doubt it. But the problem can get worse if an executive is making a database buying decision by browsing in a bookstore. Does that happen? Sure, why not? Does the number of books available indicate the size of the skilled population using that technology? Maybe.
So what can we do to get shelf space for our books and therefore mindshare for our products? One simple thing that we can all do is to support the authors and the books that are available. If you've read a book and liked it, consider putting a review of the book in a public place such as amazon.com. If you are giving a presentation and there is a related book, consider recommending it to your audience. If you have customers, partners, or co-workers using DB2, mention to them that there are great books available. It may sound simple, but the more books that we sell, the better chance we have that the bookstores will take the chance to carry our books.
I look forward to reading your comments.
IBM Press Program Manager
The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM positions, strategies or opinions.