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A New Concept: How OBS Began

The Online BookStore (OBS) started when we got impatient waiting for our book, The Internet Companion: A Beginner's Guide to Global Networking by Tracy LaQuey (Addison-Wesley, 1992), to arrive from the printer. It was the first general trade book about the Internet, so to get the word out, in December, 1992 we posted ASCII files of Chapter One free for anonymous FTP. Thousands of people responded; many asked "What's the next book?" At that point, we began to look at Internet publishing as a viable supplement to the publishing services business we had been involved in since 1982. And we made the leap from paper to electrons.

Since then, OBS has grown to include many new titles, from publishers big and small. In a continuing effort to enable the ideas within books, and the readers of those books, to best gain from the dynamic online medium, we customize our strategy for each publication, based on the content of the book and the needs of the readers. We aren't making "cookie-cutter books" where every posting follows the same format. As you see in the Tour of the Store, our approach to online publishing reflects both the dynamic state of the Internet as a publishing medium, and the individual contents of each book.

This customization process has led us into the fields of teaching, writing, and consulting, but throughout all, the focus remains consistent: OBS's goal is to identify, facilitate and develop the customized access to ideas and information which is the new terrain of online publishing. Towards that goal, we rely on reader participation in our site, and therefore welcome you to the process that is the OBS.


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