Computing Books in WH Smith


If you go to visit the ‘Computing’ section in WHSmith at the Trafford Centre, you will find a massive section, one whole aisle dedicated to books on computing. Except…

…there are no books about hardware, programming or computing science. Most of the books were either ‘For Dummies’ or books for people to learn how to use Microsoft Office products.

The book titled “HOW TO DO just about ANYTHING ON A computer” soes in fact, show you how to do just about anything, sending emails, printing a photo, searching for a cheap flight… everything in fact … apart from actually program the computer!

If you venture into the Waterstones store and visit the ‘Computing’ section, you maybe lucky enough to find one real computing book as I did. So – do we accept the situation as it is, or do we persuade these high street book sellers to either rename the ‘Computing’ section to ‘ICT’ or to stock more books on programming, hardware, and computing science.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Mary Cooch says:

    Hmm.. you raise an interesting point. ( I bet the much-missed Borders would have had some good books though!) I think in defence of WH Smith, the fact is that far more of your average punters will be wanting books on MS Word 2010 than say Python. It’s a niche market, and although there is an increasing interest in it, I suspect it will always be a niche market. I am a linguist- I bet they WHS have a nice choice of French and Spanish manuals but I wonder how many Latin or Greek grammar books they would sell? I see it as a similar comparison. A lot of programming books will only available in e-book format or as POD – Packt Publishing (who do my Moodle books) have 25 books on Python for instance and 38 on game development (including Scratch ) -yet not a single one in a high street bookshop. If you succeed in your mission to get computing in schools as mainstream as English or Maths then let’s hope the books will reach mainstream booksellers too 🙂


  2. Mary Cooch says:

    and that second link should read of course !


  3. paul martin says:

    Also in defence of WH Smith I looked yesterday for computing books in the local Uni Blackwells and there were none and no IT either. I have noticed that the amount of computer “manuals” stocked by bookstores diminishing over time as I imagine computer geeks just download the e-book and don’t shell (ha) out for hardcopy anymore. I guess there is still a market for those who prefer to read a print version of their manuals and I concur some e-manuals are rubbish as they seem not to have to compete on the shelves with decent books.

    BTW I am not sure that the “everyone loves programming” bandwagon (BBC micro RIP) will have too many legs. I can see why Google et al are interested in driving down coder’s salaries but unlike Chemistry which is caught off a good teacher I am yet to meet someone who eulogises their school (and other edu) experience usually as its a bit technologically behind of late – my experience anyway. That said all power to your elbow and a Happy New Year.


  4. bengrist says:

    I guess computing students know to go online so they get their books cheaper. THe other side of it is the rapidly changing face of computng so the books go out of date a lot faster. Think also the rise of the PDF/Website may have a lot to do with it. Children increasingly are digital consumers.

    Just thoughts.


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