Late last month, Louis Rosenfeld, launched his brand new publishing company, aptly titled Rosenfeld Media. The company will be printing books on design, focused primarily on design for the web and giving the end user the best, easiest experience possible. But instead of super long, wordy, dull books, Rosenfeld plans to publish smaller, easier to digest pieces that get you right into the thick of the thing you want to learn about. What’s more, the company is also very open to submissions and wants to retain a kind of open source relationship with its publishing, meaning that you can help go in and make revisions to published pieces. Pretty promising deal, it sounds like. But they’ve also got a terrific site going with some interesting topics. It’s still super new, of course, so you aren’t going to find an encyclopedia of knowledge posted yet, but just take a page from what’s currently available, it’s possibly a site to keep checking in on, besides just when you need some kind of fancy new learnin’ book. Here’s a couple of bullet points from “What Makes for a Good Design Book?”
1) Short chapters that can be read in one sitting. Some have suggested that chapters as short as four pages are ideal. Thomas Friedman and Kurt Vonnegut were cited as authors who can write short without writing choppy.
2) Readers asked for books with “layered” orientation and navigation tools. These would help you learn what the book is about and what it contains depending on how much time you have, much like travel books often feature 1-day, 3-day, and 1-week takes on “what to visit”.
3) Anecdotes and brief case studies are good; ones that describe mistakes are even better, even if not directly related to the topic at hand. The impending kayak accident that opens Bruce Tate’s Bitter Java was mentioned as an example.