December 2010





Before we say goodbye to the old year and ring in the new, we want thank each of the more than 3,000 Morning Flight Insiders who emailed us, clicked a link, or just opened and read our newsletter. You're letting us drop Morning FlyBy into your inbox every month, and I can't begin to tell you how much that means to us.

This is our first year of publication, and you've already given us great feedback on what we should talk about in future issues. Keith writes that "any topic along the lines of pricing and costs will be very relevant to Morning Flight users. Now that we have some marketing tools on the way, a section about marketing would be nice." Jerry points out that "there are a lot of trick things in Morning Flight. Who knows how many there are. Maybe talk about a different feature each time. I'm learning a lot of this on the fly, so I like to soak up what I can."

Keith and Jerry know firsthand that we listen. Starting next month, expect to find greater emphasis on product-oriented topics. But not this month. My son and his wife are flying in from California, and with just four days left until Christmas, we're going to skip the commercials and get ready for the holidays.

Enjoy the season, and have a wonderful New Year!

Hal Heindel
Unitac International Inc.


Can a Book ever not be a Book?


When Amazon lowered the price of the new Kindle to $139.00, curiosity finally got the better of me. The package arrived last week, just in time for Christmas.

My new favorite American author is Jim Harrison, so the first download into the Kindle was The English Major. I was always leery about whether I'd enjoy reading a book on any kind of electronic device. By the time I got to page three, the Kindle had confirmed my worst suspicions: Transient bits and bytes on a screen are the moral equivalent of sipping twenty-year old Bourbon from a Styrofoam cup.

In the Kindle's defense, it is a superb learning tool. Always was. Much as I hate to admit it, books printed on paper are awkward to have sitting next to your keyboard, often with some heavy object holding open the page. Then, too, there's the problem of shrinking font sizes. Or at least they appear to be shrinking every year, the way cops and airline pilots seem to be getting younger. On the Kindle, font sizes are adjustable.

Finally, the cost of computer textbooks these days, and the space they take up on our book shelves. Kindle books are cheaper than their paper twins, and with a 3,500 book capacity, the Kindle's shelf stretches halfway to the next planet. I can see where this is going to be a love-hate relationship, likely to stay that way forever! At heart, I'm still a printer.



The Cup half full ...

If your definition of printing is ink on paper, you could easily get the impression the industry is on life support. But if you believe printing will continue to survive by harnessing new technologies, you need to look at the new Kindle. Granted, it's a stretch. Even if you define printing as ink on virtually anything (think vehicle wraps and decor printing), the Kindle falls through the cracks because it uses no ink.

But it does use something all printed books use as well: type and formatting. And that's where it gets back to printing. If I were still in the business, I'd outsource books published on-demand, then offer to format the same book for the Kindle for a fee. Amazon offers a Publishing Guide free of charge. Formatting for the Kindle isn't rocket science, it's straight HTML.


'tis the Season


. . . to be jolly, and get carried away a little from nipping at the holiday eggnog. No injuries were incurred by any of us during the making of this month's video.