Why the Latest Edition of My Book Lacks a DVD—and What I'm Doing About It

Posted Friday, July 07, 2006

It's time we had an honest conversation.

I've heard from many of you—through email, through Amazon reviews, and through calls to Peachpit Press—about the fact that the latest edition of my iLife book does not include the instructional DVD that accompanied every previous edition.

I've responded to some of you, and my friends at Peachpit Press have asked me to write a note that they could send to others.

Many of you saw iLife '06 "First Look" booklet that mentioned the book's DVD or saw a mention of it online. Neither I nor Peachpit Press intended to create false expectations. At the time, we were indeed planning to again include the DVD with the book.

So what happened?

Last year, not long before I began work on the latest edition of my book, I suffered a catastrophic loss in my world. The details are personal. Suffice it to say that the latter part of 2005 was the hardest period of my life.

When iLife '06 came along, the book revisions were tough-going at times. But with time and the encouragement and inspiration of friends both old and new, I got back into the groove and completed the biggest—and, in my honest opinion, the best—edition of my book yet: every page updated, every tip tweaked, and completely new sections and chapters to cover everything in iLife '06.

But something had to give. In past years, the first few months of each year were filled with 18-hour workdays: I'd write book revisions from sunrise until about 5 pm, then I'd edit my DVD's video until well into the night. (I edited every frame myself, and then authored the DVD myself in DVD Studio Pro.)

I couldn't do that this year. My responsibilities and priorities had been forced to change. This finally dawned on me about a week before we were to shoot the new DVD, at which time I made the hardest business decision I've ever made: to cancel the shoot and kill the DVD.

My friends at Peachpit Press could not have been more supportive or understanding. I am lucky and proud to be a Peachpit Press author.

The decision to kill the DVD came during a time when the new book was already being marketed, and Amazon's site and others still referred to the book's companion DVD. Believe it or not, it can take a frustratingly long time to make changes to massive e-commerce Web site. You would think that pixels and bits could be changed instantly. You would be wrong. As a result, some of you pre-ordered the new book thinking you were getting a DVD along with it. Talk about making a bad situation worse.

Where does this leave us? With a gorgeous, complete, full-color guide to iLife '06 and a companion Web site—together, the best single resource for iLife that there is, in my (honest) opinion.

I've contracted with Textura Design, a Seattle-based Web design firm, to develop a new design for my site that will allow me to add dedicated topic pages for GarageBand and iWeb. I'll be publishing more frequent updates to the revamped site, with plans for podcasts and movies in the weeks to come.

So, to my long-time readers who are disappointed about the DVD's demise, I ask for your understanding. I'm happy that you found the DVD a fun and interesting way to learn. I'm sorry that it's gone. I'm even sorrier that life throws awful curve balls sometimes.

That's the truth, as is this: I remain determined to keep this book and its Web site the best iLife resource on the planet. Stick around. My commitment to and affection for Apple's amazing creative suite is as strong as ever.