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Seriously Overpriced Books 154

Josh Baugher sent us a link to a book (that none of you ought to buy!) over at Amazon. By our good buddy Bill Gates, but Check out that List Price. So you thought he got rich simply by enforcing a monopoly on the computer industry! Update: 03/23 01:15 by CT : Doh! Its a set of 24 books- so its only $40 a book. Practically a bargain. Go pad Bills pocket if you like.
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Seriously Overpriced Books

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    This must be the version you have to buy if you want to let 10 friends leaf through it.

    David Cornette
  • by Anonymous Coward
    That's correct, this is the server edition. It's basically the same as the regular edition, but it's optimized for group use.

    Note that if you want to let your friends read it, you'll also need to buy a license for the standard edition for each person who opens it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    If you read the fine print you will find out that the price is for a pre-packaged set of 24 books.
    Sorry but it seems like we can't complain about Gates on this one.
  • by drwiii ( 434 )
    At that price I'd better be able to reformat the book and install a Unix on it..
  • I didn't even spend that much on books when I was in school. Why the hell would I spend that much on a book written by Bill the Borg. That price can't be right! If you want a book to read go download the Linux SysAdmin book. ( dmin&F=1111111111&G=Y)
  • Try taking the "SlashdotA" out of the URL: 6/002-0082520-0099040

    Its the exact same entry. Prank? Clickthrough? I couldn't tell you. Either way I don't think I like the smell of it.
  • Posted by JerTheNerd:

    Either way, I'm willing to bet that within a year or two it'll be in the $5 bargain bin.
  • If it's anything like "The Road Ahead" it'll be on the remainders rack about tuesday.
  • Heh. The book is being serialized in the Financial Times. Check out [] (it's a registration site, cypherpunk/cypherpunk works) and giggle as Billy boy eulogises 'digital numbers'.
  • This is some kind of IQ test.

    If you pay $500 to read what Gates has to say, you fail. :)
  • Signed edition? For that price, I'd expect Bill G to come to my house, tuck me into beddy-byes, and read it to me.
  • I don't think I got my $500 worth. I wonder if they'll let my review actually get posted. I doubt it.
  • I'd bet Steve Balmer bought a copy and even had Bill autograph it.
  • Can it? I mean a $500.00 book? This is a joke, right... RIGHT??? :)

  • perhaps as a joke, all /. readers should pretend they actually read the book (ya, like we really would) and write up a review. would probably be rather humourous for to get a whole slew of bad reviews for the book. HA!

  • Maybe it's one of those corporate "training" packages-- and comes with a "instructor's guide" and "workbook."
    Personally, I can't wait until they come out with
    a "little red book" of Mr. Gates's "wisdom."
  • B&N has the the book for $18 ( uiry.asp?userid=1LC8ZS6LD3&mscssid=L2PRK 9W3UHS12M0100LHRV18MGMMFBT9&pcount=0&isbn=04465256 85).

    The price reduction must be because B&N uses ASP pages while Amazon does not. :-)
  • Whoah,

    what happened to the US-Dollar? It's DM 52,36 at, which used to be somewhat like 30 to 32 bucks.

    Nah, even that's way to expensive for a book by Gates. I read "The Road Ahead" when I found it for DM 8,50 (around $5 - before Inflation ;-).

  • $150??? Try 220 dollars for a goddamned Cobol book from the 80's!

    Yeah, but think of the money you (or your great-great-.......-great-Grandchildren) can sell this book for, when Y10K comes along ;-)

    If there is still money then. Cobol surely is gonna stick around that long.


  • Just think! You could be the proud owner of a genuine BillGatus of Borg signed/autographed/whatever book.

    Aren't you excited now?

  • Microsoft is just giving the customer what they want. By bundling the books together, they add value to the package.

    The fact that you can buy the books separately does not mean that the whole thing is not one whole integrated book.

  • While I'm not sure why this is showing up in Amazon, when you go that page click on the name "Bill Gates" (don't be afraid, go on and do it), and you'll see there's another listing at the real $30 list price. You'll also see listings for a paperback edition AND for a "paperback display" at Amazon's special discount price of $288. It seems reasonable to assume that this $504 price is for a hardcover display set (the cardboard racks that bookstores put up).

    Either that, or this is for the special 25-user license edition.
  • There are book price comparison tools elsewhere, though. Here's one a friend of mine put together that I use: [] --Joe
  • That means nothing, that is all amazon associates identify that the link cam from them. If slashdot has the standard agreement, they make 15% off each direct link like that, whne someone buys the book.

    So for this one they'd make $75 per book bought by them, not a bad deal.

  • I think this is just a Slashdot scam. The URL contains "slashdot" which is probably for clickthrough tracking. For every visitor that checks out this URL Rob gets a couple cents. Well, I guess Slashdot has to make money somehow.
  • Maybe was cracked!
  • Why in the fuck would anyone want 40 copies of this shit!?!

    Is this an educational discount?

    As if ...

  • Has anyone tried submitting a comment from the link at the bottom of amazon's page that says "I am the author of this book and want to post a comment on it"?
  • Personally, I like Amazon. Where else can you submit a review as the author [] of BG's books?

    I doubt it'd be accepted, but... ;)
  • slashdotA/002-0001738-2435449

    It has slashdot in it. Go to, search for the book, and it's $18. (You also get to see it's picture). This has to be a joke
  • What are you smoking?
  • Interesting that buying them in bulk actually costs more ... unlesss I read something wrong they are selling the book as a single for $18 (their price) and the 24 pack for $504.00 which means that they are selling each copy at $21.00 if you buy them in bulk.

    Resume []

  • Barnes-and-noble is selling a single for $18.

    $504/24 = $21 which means you'll pay more if you buy them in bulk..

    Which means that if you buy them in bulk they are twice as sure of your IQ.

    Resume []

  • by Yxes ( 7776 ) on Tuesday March 23, 1999 @04:39AM (#1967574) Homepage Journal
    I just used the booksearch program at: n/booksearch/ [] and found that:

    Barnes-n-Noble is selling it for $504.00
    Amazon is selling it for $504.00 is selling it at: $489.60 is comes in at the least at: $432.00

    I can't believe it!
    Resume []

  • P.S. Anyone know how to set FTP (redhat 5.2) to not timeout a user?

    this is from 'man ftpd'

    ftpd [ -d ] [ -v ] [ -l ] [ -ttimeout ] [ -Tmaxtimeout ] [
    -a ] [ -A ] [ -L ] [ -i ] [ -o ] -uumask ]

    so just edit /etc/inetd.conf, add a -t 9999999999 to the ftpd line and killall -HUP inetd
  • Compile that as native code and tell me how big it is. Makes C++ look darn lean.
  • BillG once said "you get through all of _The Art of Computer Programming_, send me a resume". This may have been back when MS actually paid top $$ for good programmers. Who burned out and churned out crap because they had to meet obscenely short ship dates.
  • I hear bookstores sometimes have more than one copy of a book. Wild, eh?
  • The temptation to post an Author Comment is almost unresistable. Help!
  • The link is set up so that if you actually buy the book (yeah, right), gets a percent or two. It's part of a deal they have with to refer people to them to buy books.
  • The URL is correct and is not a bait. Look at every book review with a link to Amazon and you will see slashdotA in everyone of them.

    Amazon uses it to identify the site from which the buyer came, so it can pay it(the site) some percentage of the book price if a sale is completed.
  • The slashdotA is a referrer code. If one of us was fool enough to buy the book, Sashdot would get a cut.

    As someone has already pointed out. The price is for 24 copies of the book.

  • I'm just going to wait untill it comes out
    on video and then not rent it.


  • by vr ( 9777 )
    It is obviously a misprint. lists it as approx. 15 pounds.

    Check it out.

  • Last I heard, that was 20-30mph, tops.

  • Our Philosophy professor actually recommended that we read Bill's new book for a good perspective on the internet. We EEs in the back gave him some really nasty looks...
  • It's a 24 seat license for the book.
  • qid=922201731/sr=1-2/002-0335228-5130212
  • Doh, you beat me hear. I went to where it costs $489.60, and has no mention of multiple books. Then I went to B&N. After searching for and looking at the results which had the $504 price, I followed the link to the more detailed description. There it was, on the bottom line of the description, pre-pack of 24 books.
  • Right next to dan quayle's book that I saw at Atlantic book store (a bargin bookstore/warehouse near me) at 2 for $1.50. 1 to bludgen yourself with and the other to use in your fireplace.
  • Let's see "Baby's first pop up book" or "Bussiness at the speed of thought"? I'm thinking Baby's first pop up would teach you more. And have cute little animals or something in it.
  • Neither Bill Gates nor Microsoft is making any money off this book. It all goes to charity.
  • Uhm, no. Slashdot would only get a rather small percentage of the sale of the item. It's standard policy. Many many web sites have links to off their site. Click-throughs get them NOTHING. Only sales.

    -Augie, has had the button on his site for three or four months now and is the only person who ever clicked through it!
  • I believe a superuser can use the SITE TIMEOUT command with as large a number as he or she desire. Note that most FTP servers don't allow the superuser to use FTP.

    An easier solution is to make your FTP client send the NOOP command every other minute (with standard Berkeley or GNU inet-utils ftp, use the `quote noop' command). This keeps the connection active.


  • Must be an error... Amazon has it for $18.00 US
  • It looks like there are two entries for the book @ Amazon. I found the more "reasonably" priced version by doing a title search. I suspect that the "ludicrously overpriced" one is either a data entry error, or a signed-edition that isn't marked as such.

  • be as rich as Bill Gates.

    I know many who will.
    People will think "If I read this book I can be a gazillionaire too!"

    But as noted before,
    this is for a 24 pack of books.
    (why would anyone buy that quantity?
    do they think this will make them 24 times as rich as bill gates?
    maybe multiply their chance to be rich by 24?
    maybe build a mountain of books?)

  • Of's so freaking plain! Uncle Willy has taken a chapter(pun intended) from the Open Source movement and is releasing the code in *printed* form! What the Hell else could be in those 24 volumes? Seriously...maybe this is why 2000 is overdue,overhyped and bloated like Willy's bank account..he's locked himself up in his lakeside mansion and gone serious "artist" on the world.
  • Yes Virginia. There really is a Bill Gates, and his book costs too much at any price.

    And, I hear it won't run linux.

    BTW: The link in Taco's article may seem like a prank to you if you noticed the clickthrough url that refrences slashdot. You think, eh, this is a hack?
  • How can you say the following is a couple of MB?!?

    sub hello()
    MsgBox ("Hello world.")
    End Sub


  • I know this $500 is for 24 copies of the same book, but come on. Who the hell wants 24 the same book written by butthead.

    I do love Microsoft though. Just think all the fun we would be missing out on if we didn't have Microsoft to laugh at. If it weren't for Microsoft we may not have Open Source. Maybe we would just have really high quality commercial software and os's. What then? What would the world be like if we never had a Microsoft? I digress.
  • $150??? Try 220 dollars for a goddamned Cobol book from the 80's! 8P

    Lukey Boy
  • Not that I don't believe you (I found another entry selling it for $18), but what fine print
    do you refer to? I don't see a lot size anywhere
    on that page.
  • Jeez, 24 copies of the book, not a 24 volume
    set. Those are called encyclopedea
  • I wouldn't be surprised if the book had a typical End-user License Agreement that appears on the cover when the packaging is removed. Of course, it would probably state that the $500 you just forked over didn't really buy you the book, but merely a license to use the book, which is really still owned by Microsoft. :-)
    Aron Burrell -
  • If you remove the /SlashdotA from the URL, it is the same price.

    However, if you enter normally and search for the book, it is displayed with the actual list price.

  • slashdotA/002-8746209-0394043

    Do you see the word SLASHDOT in that, me too. That's right, I think the kids over at Amazon wanted to see how long it would take before /. took notice.

    If you think media people don't have attitude or humor, you haven't heard of the ADDY awards.

  • no, this [] is the single copy price. you are looking (at amazon too) at a 24-copy pack.


  • this is not a joke. it is a multipack. it has slashdot in it because Rob has an agreement with Amazon. He gets "consideration" for clicks from his site.


  • BillG would never use PDF. He would use Office97 .doc format, or *maybe* RTF. PDF is Adobe, and despite MS's repeated attempts at destroying Adobe, it still survives.


  • Check out Harry Shearer's story about how his $16 list book was displayed on for $55.

    RealAudio link: leshow/leshow.9902.html
  • Lots...

    There are lots of things that I can say that would require space in the 'hundreds of pages' range.

    Are you trying to say that all books are unnecessary, that all books can be whittled down to a coupla paragraphs...?

    Somehow, I doubt it...
    - Sean
  • It really depends on the version of VB you use.

    As with everything MS, every new version tends to introduce a fair amount of bloat.

    If you use the original v1.0, you can get it down pretty small. Actually, versions 1 through 4 basically "compile" it to a form of Bytecode, then package it up with the interpreter embedded in the .exe (or as VBRun100.dll, VBRun200.dll, VBRun300.dll, VB40016.dll, VB40032.dll -- should be self explanatory).

    The size of these things has steadily increased from about 100k (I think) for VBRun100.dll up to almost a meg for VB40032.dll.

    But in any case, the program itself was not much more than what you have above. In fact, it was sometimes smaller than the actual VB code.

    Versions 5 and 6, however, offer the ability to do a "true" compilation (into native code). Although the program will run faster (95 times out of 100), it all of a sudden requires huge globs of "things" to run.

    Exactly what these "things" are tends to vary... for the most part, they are dll's and ActiveX components. Most of which are not required by your actual program (assuming you are using the Hello World example above).

    However, not requiring them and not having them are 2 different things.

    Microsoft, aiming VB at the lowest common denominator, tends to lump everything it thinks you may (ie: commonly) need into the package whether you ask for it or not.

    The result is that the size of your executable + associated DLL's all of a sudden mushrooms to the vicinity of 2 1/2 megs.

    Of which you only need (for your simple "Hello World" program) MSVBVM50.dll (the Virtual Machine stuff -- it actually is Java-like in that respect -- "native code" is a "bit" of a misnomer), which clocks in at 1.28 megs. But don't even think of trying to get rid of the rest. It has so many dependency tables that reference the other crap that deleting them will break your program irrecoverably (unless you put 'em back).

    So is there a way to get rid of them? Yes, futz around with the options a whole bunch before you compile. You will also have to add and remove a few lines from your project (*.vbp) files by hand (the IDE doesn't offer the option), as well as a couple of other config files. But don't do it unless you know what you're doing. You won't succeed.

    And me? I know because I have to work with this shit (and that's what it is) for a living.

    - Sean
  • Well, I was going to spend my tax return on a 128 MB DIMM and a TNT2 card, but now . . . gosh. I'm just so torn! :P WTF is up with that price, anyway? It's got to be a snafu, yes?
  • How did they do that ??? :-)
  • We'll always feel free to complain about Gates, whether he deserves it or not! :) That's part of the fun, and clearly why this article was posted in the first place. And if he doesn't deserve it for this, then he does for something else!
  • Anyone care to review the book on Amazon? I have a class now or I'd do it. See John Katz's article for suggestions and KEEP IT CLEAN.
  • Think of all the savings! For each book you buy, you save $216! That's one of the best deals I've seen!
  • If you go to you will see that this is the price for 24 copies
  • Two words: ActiveX, retch
  • Just make sure you don't remove any of the books from the original bulk package - Otherwise they will all break.

  • Go to Barnes and Noble and read...really carefully. You'll see it is for 24 copies.
  • You save $216 on _EACH_ copy you buy.

    Don't forget that this book is pitched to the crowd that thinks Win98 is really swell.
  • I checked the book out at Barnes and Noble and they have it for $30 a copy. They also have the $720 with the 30% discount for a package of 24 books. Looks like a BIG typo on Amazon
  • Thanks for the link.

    I was tempted to make a joke about the $700 book,
    something like "it's for a 20 user license".

    I'm glad I didn't.

  • This really, really has to be a mistake or a hoax. Come on, I've read reviews of this book, I suppose if the price is genuine it is a serious "Emperor's New Clothes" gig. Pretty soon, industry analysts and the media are gonna start publicly drooling over it to prove how much they "get it"
  • After going to Barnes & Noble's web site, I figured out what the deal is. This is a 24 pack of books. Of course, Amazon didn't bother to mention that!
  • Did you know that B&N needs 56 NT servers with SQL Server 7 to run their website. I read an article in InformationWeek on how their CIO couldn't wait for Windows 2000 so they could reduce their server s down to around 30-35 because it scales so much better than NT 4.0.

    On the other hand, Amazon runs their entire website on 3 Sun Servers with Oracle.

    I wonder how much each paid for their setups?
  • I hear the book marker is pretty stable.
  • Some of us read /. BECAUSE of the MS bashing. Sometimes it's even clever and original. What IS pathetic is that I have to use the (MS) stuff.
    $500 for 1/24/40/whatever copies of Bill Gates' whatever is just too good a target to leave alone.

  • Lets do billy boy a good deed and scan the book/release it in pdf form. One of us can do it and just put it on a public ftp site (i'm sure god would pity you -- honest). If we get enough books out.. no one would buy the real thing. And he would become real famous (um) .. and he'd release.. oh god.. what a good thing free media is.. and from then onwards his windoez would become free bloatwaredoez.. windoez 2000 would be developed by a couple of construction workers from canada, hired under special contract... MSIE would be released in source only open source format, with the power of binaires being made given only to MS, MS officice.. ok i've BSed enough already..
  • I wasnt sure this made sense either but here' s [] the same book, also off of Amazon, that costs $18 bucks.

Do not simplify the design of a program if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.