Subject: Re: Successful FSBs
From: "Tim O'Reilly" <>
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2002 09:33:01 -0700

Thanks for the vote of confidence in our tech support staff, Stephen. You're
making an awful lot of assumptions, weaving them into a straw man, and then
shooting it down.  I think that they are as good or better than the tech
support at traditional software companies.  In fact, many of them *were* on
the tech support team of O'Reilly's software division, when we had one.  And
in addition to free support for books, they also provide support for our
paid Safari online information service.

On 9/22/02 3:39 PM, "Stephen J. Turnbull" <> wrote:

>>>>>> "Tim" == Tim O'Reilly <> writes:
>   Tim> On 9/20/02 2:44 AM, "Stephen J. Turnbull"
>   Tim> <> wrote:
>   Rich> What is the essential difference between Tim's publishing a
>   Rich> Linux book that includes a Linux CD and RedHat publishing a
>   Rich> Linux CD distribution that includes a Linux book?
>>> Support.  O'Reilly is a book publishing company.  None of those
>>> great authors are on retainer in case a reader has a problem
>>> with the CD.
>   Tim> Actually, we do have an active tech support department for
>   Tim> all our books,
> But does this tech service department *help* with failed CD installs?
> Are they trained for that?
> And what do you do if a reader complains that the author doesn't
> reply?
> Unless the answers are something radically different from "Best
> effort, but untrained" and "Ping the author; soothe the reader" I
> don't see anything close to FS business, although there's obviously a
> lot of FS activity going on.
>   Tim> And we do this for free, including the service in the price
>   Tim> of the often proprietary book.  Whereas FSBs give away the
>   Tim> software but charge for the service.
> Going the extra half-mile and failing will sell a lot of books for
> O'Reilly.  It loses customers for the FSB, which must go the whole
> mile as a matter of course and then check whether the customer wants
> another half.
>   Tim> Go figure.
> That's exactly what we're here for!  :-)

Tim O'Reilly @ O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472