Last month, I reported on the launch of the second edition of “Office 365 for Exchange Professionals” at the IT/DEV Connections conference in Las Vegas. Subsequently, we made the Kindle edition available on Amazon after the usual struggle with the transformation of Word (2016) documents to EPUB format and hence to Kindle.
In fact, since we released the original version of the second edition, we have used the flexibility inherent in eBook publishing to refresh the text several times, most notably after the release of Exchange 2016. This is something you just can’t do with traditional publishing models and it helps us keep the text fresh, accurate, and up-to-date.
Given that Office 365 changes all the time (today’s news is that the Office 365 Groups document library feature has received the user interface makeover previously given to OneDrive), being able to push out updated books is a very good thing. Remember, if you buy the Kindle version from Amazon, you’re able to refresh your library to pick up the new version. And if you bought a copy (of the EPUB or PDF versions) from ExchangeServerPro.com and became a member of the site, you can fetch updated versions from there.
We don’t charge for updates we make to the current edition and becoming a site member enables us to offer you discounts for future editions, such as the one scheduled for next April. However, that edition was targeted to align with the next Microsoft Ignite conference, but Microsoft has just cancelled the event that was scheduled for May 9-13 in Chicago with apparent plans to reschedule for another location later in 2016. [Update: Ignite is now scheduled for September 26-30 in Atlanta] All of which means that we might adjust our date for the third edition. Stay tuned for more news.
The growing amount of information available for Office 365 makes it difficult to keep the book within reasonable limits. Right now, it’s at 788 pages of content (13 October version), or 808 pages in total including the foreword, preface, etc. It’s a big book. We’re aware of the size and we’re aware of the fact that this can be off-putting to some. After all, even with search tools, it can be hard to find the right information in 310,000 words.
It is also true that more and more non-Exchange material is being included in the book. This is a good thing as it reflects the breadth and diversity of functionality available within Office 365 and the different way that the cloud versions of on-premises applications integrate using the service fabric that exists within Office 365. But it does create pressure on page count, not to mention the need to be aware of developments across the entire service rather than just Exchange. Maybe the third edition will be called “Office 365 for IT Pros” to reflect the evolution of the coverage.
Because we have so much material to hand, we’re experimenting with the publication of select extracts as mini-books. The first mini-book is “Office 365 – the complete guide to managing hybrid Exchange deployments”, now available at a discounted price of $8.49. The normal price is $9.99 and we’ll adjust to that level when the mini-book becomes available on Amazon at the end of this month. Why? Well, we want to give people the chance to obtain the discount (we’re all about testing markets), but also because Amazon restricts our ability to discount once the Kindle version is available.
To create the mini-book, we took chapters 4 (“Hybrid Connections”), 10 (“Hybrid Recipients”), and 11 (“Mail Flow”) plus the Directory Synchronization appendix from the “big book” and edited them to fit together to create Michael Van Horenbeeck’s guide to eternal happiness for hybrid Exchange administrators, or something like that. Seriously, MVH is known as “Van Hybrid” in the trade and he’s pretty good at hybrid stuff, so we think you’ll find the mini-book to provide good coverage of all you need to know about designing, implementing, and managing hybrid connectivity between on-premises Exchange servers and Office 365.
We will monitor the results and feedback for the first mini-book and then decide whether it is possible to create further mini-books from the material that we have.
All of this flows from the publishing model that we use for the “Office 365 for Exchange Professionals” project. It’s been hard work (and frustrating too) at times, but we seem to have a nice platform for future editions and mini-books. Thanks for all the support we have received to get us this far. We would love to hear what you think about the mini-books idea and also your ideas for what should be included in future editions of the “big book”. Please comment here or send your ideas to our mailbox.
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