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The OBS Cyberdock Option:
Someplace Steady Between a Book and the Binary Beyond

Ever since the Online BookStore (OBS) started publishing on the Internet in 1992, publishers and booksellers have been asking basic questions about online publishing: What's for sale? How do I protect the value of my book if I release its contents onto the Internet?

The OBS Cyberdock Option opens a passageway between print and online, offering publishers, at minimal investment and copyright risk, a way to profit from today's dynamic Internet environment while gaining valuable experience for the future. Cyberdocks merge our familiar world of books and disks with "the other," the exponentially expanding Digital Beyond.

The Internet is a thrilling wilderness indeed, and to understand its promise we must cast off while the wind is at our backs and begin to publish online. But smart publishers don't want to venture into the unknown only for adventure's sake, or to answer the call of R&D. Cyberdocks combine the familiar--books and tangible disks containing finite files that one can buy and sell--with the unknown--links leading to links into a cyberspace of ideas and resources. The Cyberdock leads you beyond the parameters of a book, forming a solid starting place for cyberspace journeys out to the online context of a book.

What Is a Cyberdock?

It is a disk containing OBS-created HTML files for a title on any topic. The disk can be read by PC, Mac, or UNIX machines. Cyberdocks are a cyberspace extension of any given publication, containing excerpts from the publication linked to resources out on the Internet.

How Does It Work?

The publisher provides standard electronic production materials from the printed book, and OBS builds the Cyberdock, which is then bound into a book or appended to a CD or disk. Unlike many other disk/book packages, OBS Cyberdock does not promote any one kind of Internet connectivity software or any particular browser (though we can include either or both of these options as the publisher wishes). It goes one step further in usefulness: it offers a structured and commercially sound gateway to the riches of the Internet.

What Are Some Cyberdock Examples?

Knopf's "Being Digital" by Nicholas Negroponte, first released by OBS at ABA 1995, is a Cyberdock, offering scores of links to kinetic enhancements from the contents of this bestselling book: intelligent agents, customized newspapers, online games, interactive bulletin boards, and graphics. The " Time Warner Quick Reads," another ABA release by OBS, offer the option of additional Cyberdock licenses, which deliver to readers a steady e-mail diet of new, carefully selected and highly targeted URLs on the topics of the purchased book. These custom URLs are selected by the OBS Link Editors from among the tens of thousands of new URLS fast appearing on the World Wide Web.

How Might a Cyberdock Improve Sales?

As an effective and kinetic complement to the "contained" book or disk, the Cyberdock guarantees that the contents of the book can be updated--after the book is printed. The Cyberdock can form a "last and living chapter" of any book, offering not only links to external resources but to updated information for the book or disk. With a Cyberdock, your printed book transcends the limits of print publishing while maintaining the security of that medium.

How Can OBS Keep Links Current?

This is the essential service OBS offers. Every user who opens his disk, goes to a README file, which takes him to the OBS server, a computer on the Internet where his book and Cyberdock purchase is authenticated. He then receives a password, which offers him access to the latest updated files, complete with URLs (Uniform Resource Locators, i.e., the links) attached to the book. Your book may be published and done, but our OBS Cyberdock editors continue to comb the Net for new links, always keeping the book up to date.

What Is OBS's Role?

OBS has pioneered this area of "distributive" publishing worldwide; Cyberdocks are a natural extension of the work we've been doing for years. Working on a project or contract basis, OBS consults with publishers about linking strategy, then formats the files into Cyberdocks, initiates the licensing of links, sets up password files, submits regular usage statistics to each publisher, and maintains the online URL resource for each title. The files, billing, link editing, and licensing all occur at the OBS site, ideally linked to the publisher's site.

What Is the Business Model?

An advance/royalty arrangement for the Cyberdock Disk Option is preferred, allowing for the cost of the Cyberdock to be absorbed by the retail price of the bound book or disk; it is added value paid for by the reader. For the price of the original Cyberdock, the reader gets six free months of updated links; thereafter, she has the option of subscribing to future updates, which offers an ongoing income stream for the project beyond the bound book.

Why OBS?

Online BookStore grew out of Editorial Inc., a publishing services firm established in 1982, which produced hundreds of books for publishers, from editing through printing. Editorial Inc. conceived and produced "The Internet Companion: A Beginner's Guide to Global Networking" by Tracy LaQuey, the first trade book about the Internet. With this bestselling title, we launched the Online BookStore in 1992, and have been publishing online, on the Net, longer than practically anyone else. We bring to our original Cyberdock publishing program both proven Internet expertise, and editorial and marketing know-how.

When Do We Start?

If you would like to have OBS create a Cyberdock for your book, contact OBS at info@obs-us.com with information about your book, your company, and your interest in the Cyberdock Option.

In what has become true OBS tradition, Cyberdocks make tomorrow happen...today.


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