From finished manuscript to press in 9 days.
Book publishers know the importance of fast time to market, and in few industry sectors is it more crucial than high-tech publishing. High-tech book titles become obsolete the moment a new operating system, programming language or other technology is introduced.
At O'Reilly & Associates—a publisher of books covering everything from the Internet to XML, Mac OS X, open source, Java and Web services—accelerating the publishing process can literally mean the difference between success and failure for many titles.
When the company decided to publish "Running Mac OS X Panther" in late 2003, O'Reilly and the impending author, James Duncan Davidson, knew that the sales cycle would span only a few short months. Apple would, by then, be introducing another new version of its operating system. Information about Mac OS X Panther became available in August 2003, and the goal was to offer the book for sale at Macworld Expo in January 2004.
MOVE IT OR LOSE IT
To achieve this goal, Davidson and the O'Reilly team would have to motor. But what no one knew then was that a one-time effort at rushing a book out the door would turn out to be much more.
Davidson proposed a different workflow for publishing "Running Mac OS X Panther" that would enable authoring, editing, copy fitting and proofreading to occur simultaneously.
O'Reilly authors typically write book content using Microsoft Word, or XML/SGML, often from a remote location. Each chapter is sent to O'Reilly, where it is flowed into pre-designed templates, a process that can sometimes introduce file-conversion errors. Once the layouts are adjusted, the files are then passed in a linear fashion through several rounds of copyediting and quality control before the book is published. This process takes several weeks as files are handed back and forth between project participants in different locations.