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There Are More than 18 Copies Left at the Warehouse.  But Not THAT Many More Smile

When I was down at MrExcel HQ With Chandoo this weekend, Bill and I decided to check how many copies of the book were left in inventory at the distributor.

We printed 3,000 copies back in November.  The distributor only had about 350 left at the warehouse as of Friday.

Neither of us expected the inventory to be that low.  You see, book sales data isn’t exactly a timely business – Bill and I just got paid in April for the books that sold in November.  And while Nielsen does provide a window into how many books sold this past week, they only capture part of the market.  The proportion out there “in the shadows” is unknown, and it’s significant.

So much like what we see in the night sky is light that left distant stars many years ago, our only reliable sales data lags reality by 4-5 months.

Good News Bad News

Hey good news – the book has been selling even better than we knew!  Bill tells me that most books never sell their entire first print run, so to be running out so quickly is a very good sign.

Hey bad news – we gotta scramble to print a second run before the supply runs out Smile


This presents an opportunity to fix a few things in the book:

  1. The Title.  Reviews of the book repeatedly stress how human, informal, and understandable it has been to read.  I find this particularly gratifying.  But it highlights what a terrible job I did picking a title.  By far it has the most intimidating and non-human title of all the PowerPivot books out there.  So I think we’re going to be bold and rename it.
  2. Referencing the supporting files early.  Many people have made it all the way to the end of the book before discovering the hyperlink to the supporting files.  That also seems pretty boneheaded and will be corrected.
  3. Ken Puls.  Rounding out the list of boneheaded mistakes, Ken was the guy who convinced me to write the book, and I didn’t thank him in the acknowledgments!  This mistake will be erased from history, and the first edition will come to be regarded much in the same way as mis-struck coins.
  4. Typos and other mistakes.  There are a number of smaller little gotchas that people have pointed out to me that will also be fixed.  I have a list of these (in Excel of course!).  If you’ve got something you think I should look at, let me know and I’ll send you my list – it maybe be that I’ve already got it covered.

Two Other Positive Angles

One – this is a good sign for PowerPivot, too.  You can’t sell thousands of books in a short time unless adoption is growing.

Two – publishing through Bill’s company is just a phenomenal way to get a book to market.  As far as I can tell, I got all of the same benefits I would have received if I had gone through one of the big labels, but I retained creative control (got to be myself!), share copyright to my own work, and get about twice as much per book sold as I would through the larger houses.

If you are thinking of writing a book – whether a “tech” book or otherwise – I highly recommend you consider going through Bill.  Drop me a note if you’d like to hear more about my experiences here.

Rob Collie

Rob Collie

One of the original engineering leaders behind Power BI and Power Pivot during his 14-year career at Microsoft, Rob Collie founded a consulting company in 2013 that is 100% devoted to “the new way forward” made possible by Power BI and its related technologies. Since 2013, PowerPivotPro has rapidly grown to become the leading firm in the industry, pioneering an agile, results-first methodology never before seen in the Business Intelligence space. A sought-after public speaker and author of the #1-selling Power BI book, Rob and his team would like to help you revolutionize your business and your career.

This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. Wow, I’m really glad your book has done well. It is very helpful and I’m looking forward to another title from you, so the success should encourage you to do the next one. Plus, it’s great to know that so many people are learning best practices and the powerful bits. It bodes well for the future of self-service BI 🙂

  2. Just picked up a copy. Missed mothers day by one day. Which is just as well because my wife would have killed me had I given it to her for Mothers day.

    Book is great, with some room for improvement. But where the heck is the URL to the sample files?

  3. Actually I do have another ‘Fix’ suggestion…paper quality, and image quality. This paper ain’t gonna stand the test of time, and the images are all greyscale, often low res and faint (e.g. Figure 20 on page 23, and Fig 75 on page 50), and I seem to recall one being cropped at the bottom to the point that something you refer to doesn’t actually show. (can’t remember which one).

    So the book doesn’t lend itself to being read in indoors light by 42 year old eyes.

    But other than that whinge, you’re a freakin genious.

  4. That is great news Rob both for you as an author and for PowerPivot as a tool – Wish you all the best! I am glad to see that you have taken on my suggestion to change the title.

  5. Well I think it’s pretty cool that you’ve almost sold the first print run. And I’m really excited that I have an original signed copy. Maybe one day I’ll sell it for millions on eBay. Haha. Re-print and move to the next one.

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