Stories by Tracy Mayor

The Next Chapter of Book Publishing

Unless you've been sleeping as soundly as a princess for the past six months, it'd be impossible not to notice that summer 2000 was the season the electronic book finally barged into public consciousness like a battering ram. Publishing's dream boy Stephen King, himself newly packaged following a near-fatal car accident that shattered his right leg, started the assault this spring. Simon & Schuster Inc. released King's Riding the Bullet as an e-book, making it available in a digital form online (an e-book is the encrypted, digitized contents of a book, from jacket image to index). More than 500,000 copies of the novella were snapped up in a day by the author's notoriously rabid fans, e-book enthusiasts and just plain bargain hunters (reportedly, as many as 300,000 free copies were distributed). Simon & Schuster, apparently pleased enough with those numbers, announced it would make all of suspense novelist Mary Higgins Clark's 22 mysteries available electronically just a week after striking a US$64 million deal to publish four of her new works. Then in July King upped the ante, self-publishing on his website Chapter 1 of a new novel, The Plant, saying future chapters would be available if readers paid $1 per installment.

Hands Across the Waters

Piyush Gupta used to say he'd never send an it project out of house again, never mind to a different company on a different continent. A veteran IBM Corp. project manager, Gupta first struggled with distributed projects back in the late 1980s, when working on that company's ill-fated OfficeVision development, which was spread across two continents. Later at Informix in Menlo Park, Calif., where he was a vice president of engineering, Gupta wrestled with

Public Service, Private Industry, Public Good

Believe it or not, there are businesses in the United States that simply hand over money and resources to Uncle Sam to help make our government more efficient. They receive no remuneration for their efforts, no inside information, no pork-barrel legislative extras. These companies pony up $10,000 a year or more for the privilege of performing pro bono work for federal agencies, and they freely offer the executive-level expertise of their CIOs, CFOs and other senior technicians.

What's IT Worth? Methodologies

So you've finally finished rolling out that new ERP system. Can you say by how many thousands it will increase the bottom line in FY 2004? How about your web initiative--you just had to have it, of course, but is there any way to state specifically and accurately how it increases shareholder value?