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Newsletter Section 7

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor

CDs in Books

Thank you for the latest issue of news@UK which I read with interest. As a fellow editor I can appreciate how much work goes into each issue. I would like to comment on Chris Cook's comments on CDs attached to books.

I think there are several points that need to be remembered. First is that where the contents of the CD are necessary for the book they should be provided as part of the package. Until recently one of the most common criticsms of books was that essential material was only available through purchase of a supplementary disk, often at prices commensurate with the cost of the book. Indeed the publishing industry is not well geared for separate supply.

Secondly, for those that use dial-up access to the Internet the cost of fetching more than a couple of megabytes becomes appreciable. I know that some CDs contain less than that but many contain much more.

Thirdly, there are two good reasons for prefering CD to disk. The first is that the latter is actually cheaper for publishers. The second is that many, if not all, libraries remove disks from books because of the potential for them being corrupted and then infecting subsequent users with viruses. This is not a problem with CDs with the result that students could have even cheaper access.

To my mind, a far more important issue is the differential pricing of books between opposite sides of the Atlantic. Now fighting that is a battle that I think we could all agree upon.

Francis Glassborow
Chair of Association of C & C++ Users

All opinions are mine and do not represent those of any organisation

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