If you don't judge a book by its cover, then by what criteria do you judge it?
Confessed bibliophiles consider the wrapping as important as the contents of the package. For example there's German publisher Die-Gestalten Verlag and their minute publication The World's Smallest Book by Josua Reichert, 2001. Its design speaks volumes before the text ever could. This teeny book comes with a magnifying glass. It is contained in an exquisitely crafted mahogany box. And the book itself has very little knowledge to impart. It is the alphabet in a leather bound tome the size of a match head that sold for $110.00 when first published. I judged it superb.
With covers in mind, let us consider the publisher no starch press and writer Wallace Wang. We'll take a physical tour of his two instruction manuals: My New Mac, Snow Leopard Edition and My New iPhone, each bearing the sub-title: 52 Simple Projects to Get You Started. (Snow Leopard edition refers to the latest version of the Macintosh operating system, OS X. The iPhone/iTouch is a hand-held computing device.)
The idea for this review came simply enough. Oliver, age five, Emmett age three, and me, age indeterminate comprised a small motley crew accompanied by a 45-pound, 8-month old Rottweiler/Shar Pei mix on a six-foot lead. We just walked the lump-puppy around the neighborhood, trying to wear her out. Our journey complete, we rounded the final corner toward home. Just then, Oliver spotted the mailman coming down the stairs of our front porch. "It's a package! It's a package! Can I open it?"
To which I replied, "Knock yourself out, kid. I'll put Roxanne in her kennel while you tear into it."
Oliver picked up the box and I heard him exclaim, "It's about MACS! Look! EMMETT! MACS! We have books about MACS!" Remember, Oliver is five and cannot read. What was on the label of the box from no starch press that he so readily recognized? A picture of a white rectangle with a black border. Two black rectangular eyes and a straight-line, two-squares up smile. Mac. Smiling Mac. The ubiquitous Hello icon of the Apple kingdom. Now, I could wax poetic about Oliver's discussion just a few days ago when he told our neighbor about how we "used to use Linux, that's an operating system you know, but now we have Mac laptops and there's an iMac upstairs that looks like a mushroom and I go to PBSkids DOT org and sometimes the DisneyChannel with a slash and something." But that would be bragging, so we'll refrain from that and get back to the new objects of our affection — Wallace Wang's two hot-to books.