Bad Book Reviews
I've been looking at Amazon's reader reviews of my books to get ideas on how I can improve the next editions. Amazon doesn't allow a user to indicate no stars, so I look at the"1-star" reviews -- which means the reader didn't like the book at all.
Here are the current 1-star reviews for my Excel 2007 books:
tooo much literal explanation, hard to guess.
this is not good book. too much literal explanation, and the most importnat is there has no any screen with highlighted instruction , so user can quick understand where and how to do it. With too many small words to explain the operation, it's hard for user to understand and it takes user too much time to search around the location of what the author trying to point out from the screen. I was trying to learn more skills of Excel, but after reading couple of chapters from this book, now my enthusiasm is gone!
What I learned: I explain things too literally, and I use too many small words.
The disc in the back of the book was sliced off (I guess by the printer.) I need the disc replaced.
What I learned: I need to check each book before it ships.
Printing is horrible
I purchased two books Excel 2007 and Excel 2007 VBA Power Programming by John Walkenbach, one of the best text book writers I have come across in my 74 years. The books were horrible. It wasn't John's fault. It was the publishers fault... The 2007 version is almost impossible to read the print density is so light. This other publishing company may have saved money on using less ink but they now have one very unhappy customer. John I think you goofed by going to another publishing company.
I agree with this one. Maybe they're trying to save money by using gray ink? Unfortunately, that sort of thing is entirely beyond the control of the author.
Missing Book on CD !! A critical issue (WATCH OUT)
DON'T BUY THIS BOOK UNLESS IT GETS UPGRADED WITH THE RIGHT CD! (Here the challenge would be to know when this is done). It's a shame that this happens with a book that we had been waiting for so long, specially for most of us who regularly travel and it is not practical to carry such a heavy package everywhere.
I'm also quite disappointed with the results obtained after contacting the author (who said the he didn't have the pdf file himself! Do you believe this?). Is that the type of customer support that we expect as end users? Additionally, I tried the link to get support from Wiley, but guess what: the web page is not working!! (so don't be so confident that this can be resolved quickly).
Unfortunately, the CD included with the first printing of this book was missing the PDF file. The publisher (not the author) is responsible for problems like this, and I've steered at least 100 people to Wiley's support page -- and I've heard only two complaints. Wiley's site had a temporary glitch that was fixed within 24 hours. Many of these people got back to me expressing their amazement at the great support from Wiley.
Not for newbies
Althought the author is pretty well versed in the use of Excel, it is not much help to those just starting to use the progeam. Written pretty much the same way most Microsoft "help" books are written. It assumes you have quite a bit experience with macros and other such "helpers".
What I learned: I should make sure that every reader sees the text on page xxv: "This is not a book for beginning Excel users. If you have absolutely no experience with Excel, this is probably not the best book for you."
- Reader Comments -
Following are comments in response to this item.
The most recent comment is at the bottom.
- By Jon Peltier. Comment posted 18 February, 2009 7:36am"tooo much literal explanation, hard to guess."
My impression based on this comment was that it was written by someone who was not using the native language version of the book.
What is the distribution of ratings? If the lowest bucket comprises 5% of the responses, I'd waste time worrying about something else.
- By Tim Buckingham (5 star outlier). Comment posted 18 February, 2009 9:42pmPerhaps adopting a variation approach to these reviews is warrented. From what I read the 1 stars were mostly for issues out of your direct control. Treat the 1 and 5 stars as outliers and focus your energy on the 2,3 & 4 star reviews. You will probably get more realistis and useful feedback.
BTW I have 2003 bible, 2003 power programming with VBA and 2003 formulas written by you and will be aquiring 2007 bible when my company moves into this century and the need arises.
Satisfied 5 Star outlier
- By Ross. Comment posted 19 February, 2009 2:49amI think the guy has a point, your books do make it hard to guess, what's the point in that? I think you should rewrite the book, with a more guess focus. Come on John, you don't want to end up like IBM, it's the voice of the consumer man!
(I think this is the same guy they tested the ribbon on!:-)))
- By Dick Kusleika. Comment posted 19 February, 2009 9:52amYou should post the most undeserved five star review. That would be as funny as the one star reviews. Like this one
I was very surprised and happy to find many formulae that Excel doesn't list in its catalog.
I don't even know what that means.
- By chip. Comment posted 20 February, 2009 7:55amDick, like the author of that review, I too felt that the Fall catalog of Excel formulas that Microsoft put out was inadequate. The selection and styles were out of date and limited. The Spring catalog last year was much better, and I am hopeful that even in these recessionary times, we will see a full catalog of exciting and fashion-forward formulae this Spring. It may be Excel 2007, but that's no reason to have 2-years ago formulas.
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