Your opinion counts: SAS eBooks


We just returned from O’Reilly’s Tools of Change conference with renewed excitement around ideas for SAS Press projects! The Tools of Change conference provides a forum through which publishers, authors, and publishing services organizations discuss issues and ideas around transforming the publishing industry from being primarily print-focused to delivering content digitally.

The theme for this year’s conference was Change/Forward/Fast, which captures the idea that the publishing industry is changing and innovating at an accelerated pace, as we switch gears from simply moving print books online to developing content that takes best advantage of online delivery.  The presentations offered an array of ideas and best practices from across a variety of publishing organizations. Overall, the atmosphere was very positive and energetic, as presenters emphasized the abundance of opportunities and much improved tools to help publishers take best advantage of them.

One of the ideas that we’re experimenting with is developing smaller modules of content that can easily be viewed on eReaders and mobile devices. Our objectives are to:

  • Deliver shorter, device-friendly content
  • Speed the time to market to better serve SAS users
  • Encourage greater participation from the SAS user community in reviewing content and providing feedback

Of course, in evolving our eBook delivery strategy, we want to be sure that we get your feedback! In this and future blog posts, we’ll be asking your opinion about various aspects of our eBook delivery strategy. Could you take a moment to offer your thoughts?

Today’s questions:

When you purchase downloadable eBooks, how does the size of the eBook file influence your decision?

How important is it to you to be able to buy individual chapters of a book?

Chime in and help direct the future of your eBooks!


About Author

Julie Platt

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  1. Julie:

    When it comes to technical books - I never want it in e-book format and don't get me wrong you could not take my Kindle from me. Maybe it's my age or I just don't find it a convenient format for learning.

    With all of that said - I recently purchased a WordPress book from Que called "Using WordPress" by Tris Hussey. The book includes a web edition that you can review and each of the main topics has a video of Tris guiding you through the steps. It's not exactly high production quality - but it's enough that I can follow what I need to do. Tris is very charming so that helps as well. ;-)

    Thanks for asking!

    • Thank you for your comment, Tricia! It's interesting that, while you really like reading on a Kindle, you don't reach for it when you're reading technical material. It's nice that technical content is provided in a lot of different formats, so you can choose the one you prefer.

      We'll have to look at Tris Hussey's book, too. We're experimenting with adding video components to SAS Press content, and what she's doing sounds very similar. Since our authors are also very charming, these videos should definitely add value to the text-based content!

      Thank you, Tricia!

  2. Size is not an issue, but I think that an issue that SAS needs to address is updates of books. One of the reasons I like purchasing books from O'Reilly is that when updates come out for a book that you have purchased, you can download the updated version at no charge. They also allow you to get books in multiple formats. As my hardware changes, this can be important so that what I am purchasing is content, not form.

    • Thank you so much for your feedback, Phil! I'm also a fan of O'Reilly's approach to ordering and distributing content. They have an excellent model in place. You buy an eBook, and you get all of the formats available. They're accessible through your O'Reilly account, and updated as needed. Excellent!

      We love the idea of being able to update books and offer multiple formats. Implementing that kind of approach is very complex, but we are thinking about it.

      Thank you for mentioning O'Reilly's approach, Phil. We're glad to know that that kind of buying experience is important to you!

  3. So long as the book has a good Table of Contents and clickable index, the book can be as big as it needs to be. The only thing I don't like in e-books is short, pamphlet-sized documents. We can get those through SGF or regional conference papers.

    • Thank you for your feedback, Michael! It's good to know that you value longer content. A clickable index is an idea we are working on. Currently, we include the index in SAS books, but they are not linked to the content. Linking the index to the content seems helpful.

      AND, if you'd like to offer MORE feedback... eBooks are fully searchable. So, you can search on topics within the book within a full-text search. How would a clickable index serve you differently than a full-text search? I have MY opinion, but I want to hear yours. :)

      Thank you, Michael!

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