January 13, 2010

You asked for it, you’ve got it. Announcing the ability to get the latest, cutting-edge Pragmatic Bookshelf beta books printed on genuine, 100% pure organic paper. Free your beta reading from the confines of the laptop or eBook reader with portable, high-contrast, rapid random access, no electricity required, paperback.

The first Beta on Paper title will be available for purchase next week.

We pretty much invented the beta book program: a way for readers to get access to a book as it is being written, and a way for authors to get feedback to guide the content they’re producing. Normally, beta books are delivered as eBooks—PDFs, mobi files for your Kindle, or ePubs for your other electronic readers and the iPhone. Pragmatic Bookshelf’s beta book program has been massively popular (and often copied).

But sometimes reading on the screen just isn’t enough. Sometimes you need paper sitting next to you as you work, or by the side of your bed as you go to sleep. So we’re trying something new.

The Beta on Paper program lets you order a printed copy of the current version of a beta book. Your order heads off to our behind-the-scenes team of gerbils, who’ll print whatever is the current version of the book. They’ll then ship it to you just like we’d ship you any other paper book you ordered.

The Beta-on-Paper purchase is a snapshot; you’ll get a paper copy of the current version of the book-in-progress, warts and all. We will not ship you updated paper books on each release. For continuous updates, you can also get the eBook. The eBook for a Beta is updated during the lifetime of the Beta and beyond, for the lifetime of that edition of the book. You can download fresh eBook versions anytime you like from your account on pragprog.com.

Next week, we’ll make the first Beta on Paper available, for the new title SQL Antipatterns.

We hope you’ll enjoy the ability to get your favorite beta book in printed form. We’ll be rolling out this feature on new beta books as they are announced, across whatever new and exciting technologies come over the horizon.