Do we even have competition in the market?

Adobe CS3 All In One

by Golding/RaySam’s Teach Yourself SeriesDetails:

  • The book covers the same programs we do, and adds Adobe Acrobat (who uses that?)
  • Price: $34.99
  • There is no included CD-ROM
  • There are 16 chapters and an appendix, the reader has to get through 654 pages before reaching the index
  • It is printed in black and white, only
  • There are no inspirational or historic visual references (actually, there is no reference to any kind of history – I find this to be horribly scary)
  • The book actually seems to “sell the software” as there is a section that explains various Adobe packages (apparently, the Sams readers wouldn’t be able to figure out how to use the Adobe website)
  • Finally, I think it’s absolutely fine to judge these types of books by their covers – specifically, by their back covers. On the back cover, this book promotes its contents as such:”Design brochures” and “Develop an entire integrated ad campaign” are two of the (more interesting) bullets on the back cover. The book seems to be targeted towards amateurs who hope one day to be professionals. To these people I say, “Dear, dear amateurs, The Sams books will never make you professionals.” 

Adobe CS3 Bible

by Padova and Murdock (Wiley)

Details:

  • The book covers the same programs we do, and adds Adobe Acrobat and Version Cue
  • Price: $44.99
  • There is no included CD-ROM
  • There are 38 chapters, the reader has to get through 1235 pages before reaching the index
  • It is printed in black and white, only
  • There are no inspirational or historic visual references
  • On the back cover, 3 out of the 9 bullet points that sell the book detail what will be learned with the phrase “New Features In…” This is a book about new bells and whistles in the Creative Suite. This book is not about core software methodologies.

 Adobe CS3 Design Premium for Dummies

by Smith and Smith (Wiley)

Details:

  • The book covers the same programs we do, and adds Adobe Acrobat
  • Price: $34.99
  • There is no included CD-ROM
  • The reader has to get through 754 pages before reaching the index
  • It is printed in black and white, only
  • There are no inspirational or historic visual references
  • The book places InDesign as the first program to learn, before PhotoShop or Illustrator (just an interesting aside – who would ever teach InDesign FIRST?). This makes me wonder if the authors have ever actually created a printed publication from the perspective of a designer.
  • The book does use icons for side-margin extras as follows: Tip (an arrow hitting a target), Remember (finger with a bow tied to it), Warning (a bomb!), Technical Stuff (an angular shaped face of, what I think is supposed to be, a male, not female, geek), Integration (a puzzle – this is for instances where the CS3 packages integrate within the text, ie. Use the bridge to open a file in Illustrator.
  • On the back cover, this book promotes its contents with an area dedicated to bullet-pointing what the reader will learn how-to do. In the “how to” area, the word “use” and “work with” were listed 4 out of the 6 bullet points, and the words “understand” and “build” (in reference to websites) were used once. The words, “synthesize, demonstrate, inspire,” or “compose” were never used. The book is about production, not about synthesizing ideas and creating a foundation for a design practice.