What's That Noise?! [Ian Kallen's Weblog]

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20060930 Saturday September 30, 2006

Publishing Little Bits: More than micropublishing, less than big bytes

I find it really fascinating to see the acceptance of a publishing paradigm that lies in between the micropublishing realm of blogging, posting podcasts and videos and "old school" megapublishing. There are of course magazines; your typical piece in the New Yorker is longer than a blog post but shorter than a traditional book. But there's something else on the spectrum, for lack of a better term I'll call it minipublishing.

If you want to access expertise on a narrow topic, wouldn't it be cool to just get that, nothing more, nothing less? For instance, if you want to learn about the user permissions on Mac OS X, buy Brian Tanaka's Take Control of Permissions in Mac OS X. TidBITS Publishing has a whole catalog of narrowly focused publications that are bigger than a magazine article but smaller than your typical book. O'Reilly has gotten into the act too with their Short Cuts series. You can buy just enough on Using Microformats to get started; for ten bucks you get 45 pages of focused discussion of what microformats are and how to use them. Nothing more, nothing less. That's cool!

What if you could buy books in part or in serial form? Buy the introductory part or a specific chapter, if it seems well written, buy more. Many of us who've bought technical books are familiar with publish bloat, dozens of chapters across hundreds of pages that you buy even though you were probably only interested in a few chapters. Sure, sometimes publishers put a a few teaser chapters online hoping to entice you to buy the whole megilla. Works for me, I've definitely bought books after reading a downloaded PDF chapter. But I'm wondering now about buying just the chapters that I want.


( Sep 30 2006, 07:04:31 PM PDT ) Permalink