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.