Packt Publishing (news, link) has released its first book published through RAW (Read as we Write) program, where customers read pre-publication chapters and offer comments before the book goes to press. The RAW experiment could offer an interesting publishing model at a time when many publishers are struggling to survive.
The RAW Process
With the RAW program, Packt joins other respected technology book publishers experimenting with community involvement. RAW revolves around purchasing the right to be involved in the pre-publication process at whatever level you prefer.
If you're interested in a book being published through Packt's RAW program, you can purchase it as:
- RAW book only: You can download an ebook with chapters as they become available, even before the editors finish them. Then you get a download of the final, edited ebook when it's ready. The RAW content, according to Packt, is typically available 4-6 months before the book is published.
- RAW book plus pre-ordered print book: This option includes the above plus a copy of the print book when it's off the press.
- Print book only: A more traditional pre-ordering of the print book, with no access to the RAW text to comment on, or the ebook.
As each chapter is released for your purchased RAW book, you're sent an email letting you know that it's available. If there's source code, it will be available for download at this point as well.
There are discounts for those who order one of the RAW pre-order bundles. Purchasers can join a Google Group that they can use to provide feedback and errata for the book, or just chat about it with the author and editors. You'll also have the chance to help select the book's cover image, even submitting your own photographs for consideration.
The First Book
This book covers topics such as:
- jQuery library basics
- Changing pages on the fly with jQuery
- Adding AJAX to modules
There are also sample projects, including:
- Turn the Drupal RSS feed into web clips using AJAX
- Rotate through sticky nodes on your front page using jQuery effects
- Add real-time comment notifications
So far, reader reaction seems positive, with some feeling that advanced Drupal scripters may not find this the right book for them. A free copy of chapter 2 is available for download on the Packt site.