database tricksThe publishing industry has gone into a free fall.  It’s almost impossible for a publisher to compete with the constant stream of new – and relatively cheap – information that we can be accessed via websites, blogs and e-books.  Small wonder that so many newspapers and magazines – and even brick and mortar bookstores – have permanently closed their doors.

Perhaps the final nail in the publishing coffin will be delivered not by the purveyors of information but by the speed of the information itself.  Take a look at the ACT software; it took 18 years to develop the first 6 versions of ACT and only 5 years to develop the next 5.  More and more software is coming to us in the way of SaaS (software as a service) and can be modified at a moment’s notice.  Considering that it takes anywhere from 6-9 months to produce a book it becomes almost impossible for a publisher to keep up with the changes.

When I wrote the first of what would turn out to be 11 For Dummies books nearly 9 years ago, the publishing world looked quite a bit different than it does today.  Wiley Publishing had contacted me as the ACT Software Expert, we agreed on a table of contents, and I wrote the book.  When a new version of ACT came out a couple of years later, I expanded the table of contents slightly and wrote a new version.

Fast forward to 2009.  Publishers’ are facing a decline in revenues; consequently it is harder than ever to get a book published.  About this time I was contacted by to create ACT training videos.  Lynda has been around for 10 year, mainly focusing on web and graphic software training.  Lynda advertises that they have courses in over 700 software titles.  Intrigued, I perused their offerings and found courses on subjects I had never heard of (Joomla! and Ruby come to mind) as well as on topics that I knew but needed to know better (WordPress and Twitter ).  And, like a book, each course is divided into chapters and each chapter contains a number of topics.  Viewing a topic can take anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes and, if a picture is worth a thousand words these are worth a million.

The team at lynda has the process down to rocket science and in a little more than a month’s time the ACT 2010 Essential Training videos  were up and running.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ll continue to write – and read books.  I live in Florida and don’t want to drag a laptop to the beach or risk getting sand in my Kindle.  But if I need training on a rapidly changing site such as Facebook I’ll be using lynda where I know I’ll get the latest and greatest information.