I wanna be O'Reilly • 29 March 2008 • The SnowBlog
I wanna be O'Reilly
Oh they are so cool. Let me name the ways: - They publish in a clear niche (progamming and IT)
- Their books are technically outstanding
- They have a website with a decent search engine
So far, so normal. But here's why they blow my socks off:
- You can buy bound paper editions of their books in a shop
- You can buy a bound paper edition from their website
- If you don't want to buy the whole printed book, or if it's 3am and you've been stuck on some arcane progamming problem since the morning before, and realise that their book might have the answer and so for your sanity and sleep you need it NOW, not two days later when it's shipped, then you can search for relevant keywords via Safari, the online library.
- Safari will bring up a snippet - the paragraph or page that features your search terms. If, once you've read your searched-for material in context, you think more info would be useful and this is the book for you, you can keep searching within the book for free, or read the whole book, online, right then, by adding it to your Safari bookshelf. A subscription to Safari only costs $19.99 and you can have 6 books on your bookshelf - and swap them out, like a lending library. If, once you've read it online, you want a printed version, you can buy it for a discount. (If you think about it, it's so much more useful to have programming books online - you can copy sample code easily rather than having to type it in.)
And that's not all.
- Since O'Reilly are so technically proficient, you trust them. So when they release a 99 page Shortcut pdf document on your subject of interest for $9.99, chances are you'll buy it and be grateful it exists. From their point of view, it's an easy way to make money: they have used their already competent authors to come up with some extra content. They don't have to spend money on printing a book, or pay to bind or ship it. Their brand means that they just have to pop it on their website, which is easily searchable, and the right audience will find it.
- Oh yeah, and they run best in class seminars.
A company that has dominated a niche, done it well and sells its wares innovatively - and has found a way to make money by first giving content away. I wanna be them.