Some Words on Book 3.3, Namely, “Why?” (and Thank You)
Every year, we release two or more iPod guides, and whether or not it’s obvious, they require a lot of work to put together. By “a lot,” I mean weeks, and generally with the involvement of multiple people. This work takes place at the same time as we’re doing our normal daily routines for iLounge, and, of course, living our lives, so in addition to being time-consuming, it tends to be free time-consuming, as well.
Once a given guide has been finished—a Book in late Spring, a Buyers’ Guide in late Fall—our natural desire is to wash our hands, go out and celebrate, and not think about doing another one for six or so months. Bookstand authors often take one- or two-year breaks between book updates, assuming they bother at all, and a rest like that sure sounds mighty nice around these parts.
As you can tell from today’s release of The Free iPod Book 3.3, that hasn’t happened here. We wanted to be done for five or six months when we released version 3.0, but since the iPhone was going to arrive after our deadline, we knew an update was not too far off in the future.
Was it necessary? No. There are 110 million iPods out there and fewer than 1 million iPhones; despite all that hype, actual interest in the iPhone was not so profound that we felt we had to add more coverage to the already huge Book. But we wanted to do it anyway. The goal of our guides has always been to make it easier for people to find the most important information they need when buying and using Apple’s pocket products—for free. So, deadline or not, to leave the iPhone out of an iLounge guide until later this year would have been a bad idea. Hence, The Book 3.3. Yes, it took more work and interfered a little bit with travel that both Dennis and I had scheduled months ago. And yes, the changes only affected around 10% (25 or so pages) of the book’s total content. And no, we’re not going to promote this new edition with the vigor of its predecessors, because it’s a small update. But in my view, the added effort was worthwhile.
I noted in the official site announcement that version 3 of the Book was downloaded over a million times before 3.3 was released. That’s a million times directly from iLounge, without counting copies that were sent via filesharing networks, site mirrors, or other sources. This number, and what it says to me about the support and patronage of our readers, was a major motivating factor in my decision to put more time and energy into the Book after we could easily have stopped and rested. I really appreciate each of your downloads, and hope that you’ll grab the latest edition, and tell your friends to take a look, too. Our best benchmark is how widespread our guides become, and your help in increasing awareness means a lot to us.
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