Sunday, November 20, 2005

PC Industry Phonebook From No Starch Press

Eventually my PC Products Database got noticed by a new book publisher who approached me with a book idea. He had been working for a major book publisher and had decided to start his own publishing company to be called No Starch Press. He had seen my database online and wanted to create a PC industry phonebook that would list companies and contact information from my data.

The book was to concentrate on US and Canadian PC-related companies so we stripped down some of the data and eliminated all of the other foreign entries. Then we spent several months working out the format and exact content of the book. Plus we did a lot of verification work on the phones to double check most of the data.

I also wrote some basic troubleshooting tips and introductory type information. There were hints on how to get the latest drivers and patches, how to use faxback services, working your way through voicemail systems, getting help through online services or on the internet or company bulletin boards, how to use email for direct assistance plus how to find free technical assistance. There was a whole chapter on maintaining and troubleshooting your PC with 15-20 pages of pretty helpful information.

The main company index was around 400 pages with three columns per page that listed over 14,000 companies. That was followed by about 200 pages of information that listed companies by product type. In total, over 600 pages in a small one inch think 5 by 8 inch paperback book that was super handy.

The book went to print in 1996 as The Computer Phonebook (ISBN# 1-886411-03-4) and sold a few thousand copies. Unfortunately the publisher decided there just wasn't enough interest to warrant doing another copy. So that was my one and only copy to be published in print. Still it was a pretty exciting project and it was really great to actually see my name as author for an entire book! In the past, a number of my magazine articles had been published in various books along with other articles in some sort of compilation but this was my first book all to myself.


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