(link at TopatoCo is weird for some reason but I'm leaving it up)
So what's in this book? First of all, the TopatoCo description claims that this book contains all the comics from 2003, when Dinosaur Comics started, through 2005. That's just completely false. I wish it did, but that would be something like 600 or 700 comics, and this book contains only about 250. The title even says it's "the best of" so really to suggest anything else is just dumb.
It has an introduction - a short, very short introduction - by Joey Comeau, and that's about it. Nothing from Ryan North besides a single line of dedication. A few strange photos from Found Magazine and precious little else is new in the book. Alt-texts are included under the comic, but only one - as you may know, Dinosaur Comics each have 3 alt texts. Hope you only enjoyed the rollover one, because that's all you are going to get in this book!
Part of (perhaps most of?) the trick with books of webcomics is figuring out the balance between new and old material. Obviously, a good comic is successful because of its old content, that's what people know and what gained it its fame. But all its old content is (usually) still available online, so people need some additional reason to buy the book. The xkcd book solved this problem in a perfectly fine way; it had an substantial introduction, doodles and comments, and of course, those absurd puzzles (which are, of course, pretty great for the mind of your average xkcd fan). The Achewood book, created as it was by a man obsessed with writing about his characters, had commentary, and introduction, and dozen or so pages of text backstory. The Dinosaur Comics book...not so much.
So the bulk of the book is the comics. And the comics are great, but you expected me to say that. I love them. Obviously. They're clever and sarcastic and energetic and thoughtful but that's all true online as well. Heck, at least online they are in color. Turning T-Rex and pals into black and white, as they are here, takes away something from the comic: It's lower energy, and seeing the same 6 shades-of-gray panels over and over gets monotonous faster than the color-filled ones online.
And there are ads in the back. What kind of book has ads in the back? And not cool ads, just lame ads for the publisher.
Dinosaur Comics is one of the more popular comics online - one of the few able to be self-sustaining - and it's odd that its one attempt at publishing would be such a failure. I hope Mr. North and people he works with now can figure out what they did wrong (maybe by reading this post!) and try again - maybe the audience is big enough now that with a good approach, they could start over. Maybe release all the comics in yearly volumes? It would still be about 250-300 comics per book, but have a sense of completeness to it for obsessives like me. Dinosaur Comics is too great a thing to give up on.