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> Are they trying to conserve space?

While I haven't read the four you mention not having examples, in my experience, "conserving space" is the last thing most programming books do.

Reading this post, my first thought was "How do you read a programming book 3 times? They're so long?"

I actually feel like most programming-related books are artificially padded with unneeded content, just for the sake of making them longer. Perhaps so they'll seem more like they're worth their price?

In my opinion, too-long technical books are a problem. If you've only got an hour or two a day to read, it can take a week or two to get through a decent-sized technical book. Add in xentronium's point about lack of exercises, and I don't know how anyone is supposed to retain much knowledge from these books.

I understand that at least one publisher prefers thick books because that makes the spine wider and therefore the book is more visible on the shelf in the bookstore.

Maybe now that so many books are purchased online this isn't as much of a concern.

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