O’Reilly isn’t the only excellent tech publisher, but they’re the one whose books most consistently give me pleasure to read. After going through the process of writing two books with them, one of the things that’s struck me is how much they invest into the thankless tasks such as indexing, proofreading, and copyediting their authors’ work.
There are probably many steps in the production process — what happens after the author “finishes” the book — that I know nothing about. But these are areas where I’ve had enough opportunity to see the specialists in action to understand that it’s brutally hard work, which must also be quite expensive for O’Reilly. And yet there are few things that make a book less enjoyable to me than a crappy index, confusing writing, or obvious lack of proofreading.
As an author and a perfectionist, I appreciate O’Reilly’s investments in these areas even more than I used to. I’ve even reviewed a topical book from another publisher that misspelled the product name on the back cover in one-inch-high font! Every time I think about my book, I feel glad that I’m with O’Reilly instead of one of the other publishers who might try to save money by sending my book to the press unpolished.