Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hot on the press

Boing Boing informed me that famed tech-book publisher O'Reilly has launched Rough Cuts, a service granting access to books-in-production. Even more interesting (in my estimation) is the ability to shape the written product. From the Roughcuts page:
[Rough Cuts gives] access to an evolving PDF manuscript that you can read, download or print. Once you've purchased a Rough Cuts title, you will have a chance to shape the final product-you can send suggestions, bug fixes, and comments directly to the author and editors.
I don't know much about the publishing industry, but this seems a very smart response to encroachments on publishing from the web. It's a way to profit on time-sensitive content (not a bailiwick of print-publishing) and leverage a target-market that is used to being able to contribute its two cents. There's even a nice caveat emptor:
Rough Cuts titles live up to their name-they haven't been fully edited, subjected to final technical review, or formatted for print. In other words, they'll be very current, but they won't be pretty.

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