Yihui Xie

Buy the Case and Return the Pearl

Yihui Xie / 2017-10-25

There is a famous story “Buy the Case and Return the Pearl” (买椟还珠) that all Chinese students must have learned in elementary schools. It came to my mind because I saw Mareviv’s tweet about bookdown:

It [bookdown] makes you want to write things just to use it.

I was flattered. That was exactly one of my motivations of developing the bookdown package. As I mentioned in the Acknowledgments section in bookdown book, I loved the beautiful Gitbook style, which motivated me to write an R package based on it.


Mareviv’s tweet is actually the opposite of the story “Buy the Case and Return the Pearl” and also how I hoped bookdown would work: I hope users feel good about the book style first (“buy the (empty) case”), and then start writing a book (produce the “pearl”).

I’m looking forward to more pearls in the future.