"The audience of people that read Coding Horror and the audience of people that read Joel on Software are already fairly elite in the programmers, because they are the kind of people who read things in order to better themselves as programmers. And that's already, you know, 5-10% of practising programmers. It's not the vast masses of Java monkeys who were formerly VB monkeys who were formerly COBOL monkeys who are just doing, you know, large swathes of extremely boring stuff internally somewhere. Ahh, Who have I not offended ?"Joel also adds a little later, "Don't bother writing in, I will just commit suicide."
Seriously though, Joel's comment struck a chord with me. The programmers who read online, especially technical stuff unrelated to their work are a minority. The ones who read books are an even smaller group. Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister's classic "Peopleware" has the following to say about reading habits of programmers
"The statistics about reading are particularly discouraging: The average software developer, for example, doesn't own a single book on the subject of his or her work, and hasn't ever read one. That fact is horrifying for anyone concerned about the quality of work is the field; for folks like us who write books, it's positively tragic."
- From Peopleware, Productive Projects and Teams by Tom De Marco and Timothy Lister (2nd Ed, page 12)