First, congratulations to SpaceX on their successful Falcon-9 “Demo-2” launch. Human Spaceflight returns to America. Not since 2011 has this occurred. It’s been a similar length of time since a physical book has been available from Photics. Now that changes. A Book About Hype is available at Lulu.com. It’s almost as if they knew of this moment in time. Sporting a new design, their website has recently been upgraded. The book launching illustration on their homepage is fantastic.
2020 is year #2 of the 10-year plan for Photics. The goal is to create something of significance each year. Last year was “Widgets“, but that was an unexpected change of plans. Originally, A Book About Hype was to be launched soon after the Hype 4 release. Tumult did the work. With the new Physics API and Vector Shape Tools, I was quite impressed with the improvements to the app. I felt motivated to write another book.
…but something changed. Surprisingly, Apple killed the Dashboard app. I saw an opportunity and I took it. The second-half of 2019 would be focused on creating a replacement app. That delayed the launch of the Hype book, but that delay ultimately made the book so much better.
500 pages, hard covered, and printed — that wasn’t the original plan. I was thinking of making something digital, maybe an app, maybe an ePub, but then I realized something. This content already exists. A printed book did not exist. But print is dead, right? Who cares about books anymore?
I did some research. It turns out that the majority of readers prefer physical books. Physical books sell better. Physical books feel better. From being easier on the eyes, to minimizing distraction, physical books help people absorb information better.
People generally don’t showoff ebooks, but printed books are often on display. After reading a book, it becomes a trophy of your newfound knowledge. Books might be along the wall, or on a coffee table, but they’re often in plain sight. Serendipitous conversations rarely arise from ebooks. People can’t see those ones and zeros, hidden inside a computer.
There’s something different about this launch too. The original edition of A Book About Hype was on Apple’s iBook Store. It even hit #1 in the Computers and Internet section. And yet, it didn’t feel real. It didn’t feel exciting, not as exciting as it should have been. With the printed book, the experience is way different.
I haven’t felt anticipation like this since I was a kid waiting for Christmas Eve. With an ebook, you get the file instantly. With a printed book, you have to wait a little while longer. That makes it special.
When the book arrived — on the afternoon of May 26, 2020 — it was fun to tear open the box. After a satisfying crunching sound, there it was. After all that hard work, the project was real. And wow, the book is kinda big. The shipping notes said 4 pounds. (That’s 1.8 kilograms.)
There are other ancillary benefits to printed books. With the privacy concerns of the digital age, it’s nice to know that when you’re reading a printed book — it’s not reading you back.
But most importantly, I believe this is exactly what Hype needs to get noticed. It’s a fantastic app, but not enough people know about it. Even those that have used it years ago, they might not be aware of the recent improvements.
To me, Hype is quite intuitive and easy to use. Yet, I’ve been using it for almost a decade. It really hit me when I wrote the index. It’s 18 pages long, filled with mostly technical terms. That’s a lot of ground to cover. A beginner requires help. This book has the handholding that people need. It’s a guide from installation to publication.
While the journey to this point had quite a few unexpected events, the end result is remarkable. A Book About Hype is the biggest publication from Photics. A lot of work went into it. Hopefully it helps you master the software and helps you to create wonderful websites.