Wrox Press, the publisher known for getting IT books out fast using tens of co-authors has shut down in the wake of the insolvency of its US parent company Peer Information. The computer book market is less than half what it was a couple of years ago, and many publishers have reported falling sales for any title put out.
Although nothing has been published on wrox.com about this yet, TSS has recieved word from "now former" wrox employees that wrox has indeed folded.
Read Wrox hit the rocks as Glasshaus cracks
Some of the recent books to have come out of Wrox included:
Beginning J2EE 1.4
, Rod Johnson's Expert One on One J2EE Design and Development
, and more
If this is true, this is a really sad news. I have had pretty good contacts with Wrox to date, and they were almost first to give us the green light to use their content to enhance JavaShelf. To get an idea on what a disaster this is or would be, here is a direct link to all Wrox books available from JavaShelf.com. I am sure that will recognized one or two of your bests titles:
: Your Java bookstore on the Web!
That's where it all began for me - Ivor Horton and Java 1.1. Just another sign of the times, I suppose. I haven't bought too many of their books and had some issues with one multi-authored book that I bought from them. Too uneven for my tastes. Regardless, it's a sad story . . .
Woe unto me ! Gone are my royalties and I havent even been paid yet for my latest book.
For those that have worked with the Wrox team, they will be sorely missed. They were fun to work with and rife with english humour (the best kind). From the letters I've received though apparently other companies are looking into taking them and their interests over. I am sure no doubt it will change the Wrox style which was kind of unique in the tech book market.
Hopefully this will turn out to be a good thing. Wrox started its own demise in the late '90s and early 2000 when it got carried away by its earlier successes. It rode the .com wave and put together a string of poor quality, hastily pieced together volumes written by multiple authors, some of whom have little industrial experience. There were so much repetition in content among books that cover virtually identical topics. I am not surprised many readers feel they have been scammed.
Having said that, we cannot deny that there are a small number of gems that came out of Wrox Press, like the C++/Java books by Ivor Horton, the Expert One-on-One books on Oracle and J2EE, and some of the ealier ASP books (pre '99). There are also a handful authors whose books I really enjoy to read. I think someone like O'Reilly or Manning should buy the Wrox brand, clean up the mess, and fold it into their own operation. As far as I know in some of the emerging IT markets like India and China, the name Wrox still carries quick a bit of influence.
They tried to create so many specialized books such as "XYZ Web Services", "XYZ XML", "XYZ Whatever else"... the list just went on and on. I think they even had a book on MySQL replication - how much can you say about replication in general - nevermind replication using a single database management system?
They also had a terrible marketing department. I gave them 20 or so ideas that they could persue to improve marketing of the books and all they ever tried to do was defend their own ideas, dismissing all my valid arguments. Should it really matter where the ideas come from if they are better? It's like they never even cared about the authors and making more money.
If you ask me, they wanted to hurt the authors the most. Just a month ago, they offered me to do a few chapters in a book, probably with full knowledge that they were going out of business. They knew I was dissatisfied with working with them and the constant deception, so that was their way to 'rectify' the situation. Now, how can one ethically waste someone's time like that with full knowledge, just so they can take advantage of you for their own benefit (evening knowing that they tried to scame before)? Of course I declined because I would never trust them again and I'm not that naive, but I can't think of any company that wouldn't do the same thing - all companies seem to be corrupt more or less when it comes to money.
I've been through my share of mistreatment from every employer I've worked for, most customers I've dealt with (I was CEO of a enterprise application development company) and noticed that suppliers are never willing to take any responsibility, even if you that's a principle for your own organization. I realized quickly when I was 20 that you have to play by some pretty sour rules to stay ahead and that quality products and being a leader of integrity, sound judgement and character gets you no where.
I personally think capitalism is reaching it's usefulness, but we don't have the technology to create a better form of maintaing supply and demand. It's very sad indeed that consumers, workers and even honest business owners (if there are any) have to put up with the current mistrust of organizations today - talk about the hugest breach of human rights and ethics.
When I think of humanity, sometimes it's hard to see the good in it when your world leaders want to engineer world war III and business is never honest. What ever happened to people who are intelligent, skillful and motivated that just wanted to make something useful and make a difference? It's all law and politicals and money. It really turned me off completely.
Just curious, do you happen to know who normally comes up with the idea of a new book at Wrox? Is it the "Technical Architect" whose name appears on the credits page, or the head of the marketing department? How do they go about finding qualified authors and how do they judge the technical ability of potential authors? How long does it take between the time they sign up authors and the time the book is sent to the printers? Deep down, I want to know what drove them to continue to churn out such useless books like "(Beginning|Professional) (ABC|XYZ) (Web Services|XML|Databases) (Programming|Handbook|Early Adopter)", even when they were facing ever decreasing sales and increasing criticism from the developer community?
Wrox's concepts for new books is not done by the employees. Usually authors come up with the entire vision and structure for the book. I came up with the structure and detailed outlines for all the content in PHP Web Services, but never got any credit for it (about 20 pages).
To be honest, I don't want the credit. I bailed out on the project after realizing all the terrible stuff that was happening to me (I had already written 2 other books for them), so it never got finished the way I wanted it to be. I just couldn't work knowing I would get no money for my efforts.
I'm not the individual that needs money to be happy. I have extremely few material possesions.. my computer, a guitar, a bed and few clothes. I really do like working on innovative projects (although writing this book wasn't one of them) and I really do like to help people, as there isn't a better thing to do with your skills and knowledge. But let's face it, this world runs on money and no one likes being taken advantage of. It turns out that my decision was correct as the book has not even sold a few hundred copies, if that.
So to answer your question, the authors come up with most of the book concepts. The authors and reviewers also go over many proposals and give their opinions (and this is also a free service we 'authors' happen to do 4-5 times a month). Bleh.. Hope that answers your question. I'll be sticking around, so I can answer any other questions.
Ken, May peace be with you. I can understand the trauma, the best way to deal with it is to accept and acknowledge the hurt, forgive and move on!
May God bless u,
Just found out from wrox.com that Wiley bought the Wrox brand, along with unidentified popular Wrox titles. I hope they learn the hard lesson and improve the quality of the new books.
Wiley have bought the 30 odd best sellers, including my book (Expert One on One J2EE). They've also bought the Wrox brand, which will live on.
Looks like Apress scooped up the rest. Read
I was an author for this publisher and I have to say that I am relieved. Now this unethically placed organization will never take advantage of writers again. I guess I won't be getting paid any more money (not a big loss since my advance money was more than the actual sales), but the total payment usually results to be less than $2/hour and I wasted an entire year with these people. They even lie on their royalty information, saying that their books sell 49,000 copies on average (when some of their best books only sold 8000 and many of them did not sell even 400-1000). This makes people jump at the chance of writing a book only to realize that they never made any money while working for them (rent and food expenses).
They were also late in making payments and try to hold back in giving you money so you can sign another contract with them (before you turn away when realizing the scam).
They also can't make up their minds on what's going to be in the book, they don't favour the visionaries behind the content, they only give you 10 days to write a given chapter (which means that they are going to suck if it has to be 50 pages - I've been there) and they try to deceive you at every turn.
I tried to warn people on slashdot, but the slashdot news approval people never found it interesting and I felt compelled to let people know. I'm sorry, but this is a good thing. Because of their deception, my life has been very poor both mentally, physically and financially and I'm still feeling the effects. I gave so much to these guys for nothing and in a sense, it turned a highly motivated, skilled individual into a very unhappy and bitter individual for awhile.
I have to speak up and say my experience with WROX was completely the opposite of yours. I did work for them as both an author and technical reviewer and found their editors to be helpful & easy to work with. Their business people were always prompt with payments. I haven't worked with them for a few years though so perhaps their business practices changed when times got tough.
That must have been a different time or with a difference office. I'm happy to here that it went well for you.
I was very sad to hear this. My experience with Wrox was pretty good, and I feel sorry for all the staff who lost their jobs without notice. I will almost certainly lose my royalties, but at least I still have my regular income.
Of course Wrox made mistakes. Like most IT publishers, they simply published too many books and some of them were disappointing. But they also published some classics, like Michael Kay's XSLT book and Tom Keyte's Oracle book.
As to what happens next, I don't know. Certainly some of the resources within Wrox deserve to be picked up by another publisher.
Rod Johnson, author of Expert One-on-One J2EE
It's a kind of a waste really... Given the high quality of some of the Wrox books, among which yours probably stands at the top as far as J2EE is concerned. I really hope you will find another editor for a reedition and for your next book. You deserve it.
Off-topic: By the way, have you checked Rickard's blog lately (http://roller.anthonyeden.com/page/rickard
) ? Especially this patent on AOP: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/%20srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6,467,086.WKU.&OS=PN/6,467,086&RS=PN/%206,467,086
... It's not recent, yet I did not know it existed, and it could have an impact on some of the Spring stuff to come (and JBoss too). What do you think ?
As one of the many co-authors I must admit this is sad news. I always enjoyed chatting to the Wrox team. They probably got the most productive work I've ever done. They'd email you at the beginning of the month asking if you were interested in writing about one or more of a list of subjects, you'd reply and hear nothing. About 2 weeks later you'd get an email saying "Go" and you had about 2 weeks days to write two 80 page chapters. Being me (as I am) I would leave 80% of it until the last few days when I found I had to work 24 hour days.
You'd send off the chapter and again hear nothing, two weeks later you'd get an email with your chapter and about 150 comments. This would come with a little note asking if you could make all the mods and send it back the next day. Two weeks later the spec would change on the subject you wrote about and you had another day to re-write 20 of the pages.
After a number of 24 hours day and a lot of typing it was done. I must admit I enjoyed it, I work better under pressure. The pay was virtually nothing but it's great walking into book shops all round the World with your kids and they run up to the IT shelves and point out your photos. :-)
If any of the Wrox staff are reading this, best of luck to you, please keep in touch.
I'm writing some chapters of a book, but haven't contacted any publisher til today. Can you give me some guidelines on how to publish, write and so?
Got a practical question?
What Wrox books are MUST HAVES considering that they're out of business and the books are going to be out of print.
I have XSLT by Michael Kay, JINI by Sing Li, JXTA by Sing Li
Anybody have any ideas so I can grab them now before going out of print?
A must have from WROX is Rod Johnson's Expert One-on-one J2EE Design and Development
I'll second that Rod's book and Sing Li's JINI book are both very good. I've been recommending wrox based on those books alone. I uh feel a little bad now based on some of the comments here....
I visited Barnes and Noble few days ago in the Developemnt/Programming section all I saw is WROX with .Not and C# books wow the red color was blinding. To my knowledge no one is using .Not so no one is buying these WROX Not books I could see why a publishing house like wrox is going belly up now. May be they should send the bill to Bill Gates for refund on .Not.