Today, we have published our first eBook. It's a PDF, and it's a collection of our articles (including my review) about Mountain Lion.
It's available at $6.99 here.
Why did we do this? Firstly, many people over the past year asked us if there was any way to directly support MacStories. We have never asked for donations – fortunately, our ad-based business model has been working fine so far – as I don't feel completely comfortable in taking money without giving something extra in return; but I do understand that some (awesome) readers would like to show their appreciation for the site even without that extra.
Second, I have always wanted to experiment with eBooks. I believe that longform writing is a great fit for portable, digital books, and with PDF, not only do you get to read the document with the app you prefer, you can also enjoy the perks of a DRM-free, portable file format that allows for neat stuff like notes and annotations. Great features for those who'd like to keep this document around for future reference.
We have therefore collected all our Mountain Lion coverage, and reformatted it completely for PDF. We designed a cover and unified the Table of Contents, and in the process we got our friend Shawn Blanc to write a foreword for us. There are three exclusive chapters you won't find on the website, too: Preparing for Mountain Lion, Installing Mountain Lion, and Tips & Tricks. And I have to say – I usually don't like pagination on the web, but my review of Mountain Lion is much more accessible and easier to read in the PDF. Gabe, Chris, Graham, and the rest of the MacStories team did a fantastic job, too. Thanks guys.
But more importantly, since I was diagnosed with cancer last year, I have always wanted to do something for my fellow cancer fighters. To this day, I haven't made a single donation to any charitable organization out there, nor have I sent any money to other research funds or families that struggle with cancer every day.
Late last week, I felt that it was time for me to do something – to find a way to leverage what I do to help others. It was one of those ideas that immediately felt risky, bold, and ultimately just right at the same time. And even better, the team backed me up on it.
If you buy the PDF, we'll give away 30% of proceeds to American Cancer Society. No deadlines: this week, next month, next year – if you buy the eBook, we will always take 30% off the sales, and send it to American Cancer Society. For every purchase, roughly $2.10 will go out to ACS. As long as the eBook is available, this will never change.
I put a lot of thought into this. I wanted to address the requests of the readers who kept asking us for a way to support MacStories, but how? The idea of turning the Mountain Lion coverage into an optional purchase popped in our heads right away, but how should we do it? Have excerpts on the site? Make a lot of articles exclusive to the eBook? Delay the release of articles on MacStories, perhaps?
Instead, we went the simple way. You don't have to buy the eBook, but if you do, you will directly support us. Sure, you can add all our articles to Instapaper or Pocket, but I believe you'll enjoy the portability and convenience of the PDF file we've assembled (again, DRM-free). In the PDF, you'll also find three exclusive chapters, and a foreword by Shawn Blanc.
But more importantly, by purchasing our eBook you'll make a direct, concrete contribution to the American Cancer Society. Because cancer sucks, and I know how desperately research needs funds to move forward, and how people affected by cancer need money and assistance.
Because science always wins over bullshit.
Because fuck cancer.