Open Letter to Derek Powazek

Dear Derek,

I’m writing to ask you if you would consider writing an update to your fantastic book Design for Community. Your book, as much as any other, helps to define what it means to create and curate community online. It’s a great book, but it’s a bit old and hard to find.

Design for Community

Web designers the world over, including myself, could really benefit from a 2nd edition. The world we’re designing for is all about community now, the social interactions of people in and around the things they’re passionate about. No longer are we a single person using a web site by ourselves. Now it’s all about multiple people participating, cooperating, and working together in countless ways. Community is a big part of that.

The copy of your book I had been using was at UIE, and since I’m not there everyday any more I don’t have easy access to it.

I tried to get myself a fresh copy of it the other day, and I couldn’t. On the publisher’s site (Peachpit Press) your book is simply not for sale. On Amazon it is unavailable new. Apparently, one of the best books on web design isn’t in print anymore!

Dear Derek,

I’m writing to ask you if you would consider writing an update to your fantastic book Design for Community. Your book, as much as any other, helps to define what it means to create and curate community online. It’s a great book, but it’s a bit old and hard to find.

Design for Community

Web designers the world over, including myself, could really benefit from a 2nd edition. The world we’re designing for is all about community now, the social interactions of people in and around the things they’re passionate about. No longer are we a single person using a web site by ourselves. Now it’s all about multiple people participating, cooperating, and working together in countless ways. Community is a big part of that.

The copy of your book I had been using was at UIE, and since I’m not there everyday any more I don’t have easy access to it.

I tried to get myself a fresh copy of it the other day, and I couldn’t. On the publisher’s site (Peachpit Press) your book is simply not for sale. On Amazon it is unavailable new. Apparently, one of the best books on web design isn’t in print anymore!

You can get a used copy (there are 3 available at Amazon, 6 at AmazonUK), but the cheapest one, at the current moment, costs $98.99. I think the price of those 3 used copies suggests how valuable your book is.

But this isn’t just about money, or getting my hands on a copy of the 1st edition. Since you wrote it in 2001 the landscape of community design has, well, evolved and exploded. But while the content in the 1st edition is solid, it is a bit long in the tooth. You’ve done great work since then, including your excellent work at JPG magazine, and I’m sure you’ve got some great insight that isn’t in the 1st edition. So I actually don’t want a 1st edition…I want a 2nd. :)

In addition, and to perhaps turn the screw a bit further, I see that you’re not completely away from the book scene, as you’re among the excellent speaking lineup at the Voices that Matter Conference in late October. At the very least you could take the talk you’re giving there, whip it into a chapter, and tack it on at the end of the book and call it a 2nd edition? Or, like they do in the music business call it a Greatest Hits? Pretty please?

Anyway, I don’t speak for everyone, but I will speak for a lot of designers I know who are fans of your book. Please consider writing a 2nd edition!

Humbly yours,

Joshua Porter

Published: September 6th, 2007

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