Taking Control

I’m reading TidBITS, as I do every week, and they mention the desire to have their Take Control series of electronic books get a wider audience. Adam Engst (the publisher) mentioned that there are some 750,000 Macs sold per quarter, with perhaps 50% of those Macs to first-time Mac users.

He also wondered how Take Control might be effectively marketed to those 50%, and my immediate thought was “ship ’em with every Mac. Duh.”

Further consideration led to me consider the fact that Apple has what might be generously considered a skeleton instructional products group, with very little in the way of manuals. If Apple can’t or won’t create those manuals, why not allow someone who wants to do it take control (as it were)?

The fact is, there is already a huge cottage industry around the distinct lack of Apple-generated learning material (if I recall correctly, David Pogue’s The Missing Manual series is something of an all-time best-seller). The problem is people have to go out of their way to buy a third-party manual.

What if Apple shipped a copy of Take Control of Panther with every Mac? Perhaps throw in Take Control of Email With Apple Mail. Maybe even a digital coupon for a free or discounted ebook of the new Mac owner’s choice.

It would be cheaper for Apple than paying a staff of writers, editors and designers; and TidBITS will sell tens of thousands of copies of their ebooks, giving them a huge advance of cash to then create better ebooks. A win-win for everyone.