According to a recent O’Reilly Radar report, the fastest growing category on the iTunes App store is books. Some of these are full blown books at full cost. Others are $.99 or even free. This is an interesting potential source of being able to self-publish quickly on micro-topics. For example, a miniature 20 page book on how to do something very specific, sold on the App store for $.99 might be worth the cost to certain people. Like any other app, it might even take off and be uber-popular. On the same token, as an advertising ploy a free book might take off and garner a lot of attention.
No matter how you look at it, the book market is changing, especially with regards to computer books. People don’t buy as many printed books as they used to. And to some degree why would they when there are plenty of web sites that can team them what they want to know. However, as I can tell you from running this site and having written some books, it’s not as simple as all that. When I sit down to write a book I try to organize everything in a manner that will teach a reader a subject. Which is completely different than blogging on 99% of the sites out there, where you might cover installation of Xsan a month after you covered how to change the name of a volume. The problem with trying to learn a subject start-to-finish that way is that you pick up bits and pieces here and there rather than being taught the subject.
Anyway, just food for thought: If you’re interested in writing and don’t know how to break into the market, looking towards the new media outlets such as selling books on iTunes isn’t a terrible way to get started.