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iUniverse.com & Microsoft Press To Offer New Custom Books Program

Press release from the issuing company

CAMPBELL, Calif., and REDMOND, Wash. - May 14, 2001 - iUniverse.com, the leading provider of digital content technology and services, and Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of Custom Books from Microsoft Press. Using iUniverse's digital content technology platform, customers on the Microsoft Press site ( http://www.mspress.microsoft.com/ ) can browse and compile individual chapters from selected titles as a single Custom Book, which can be delivered as a printed book or in electronic form. "For technology professionals, it's not uncommon to seek a book with a specific issue in mind, only to find key information spread among several published titles," said James Mastan, director of the Professional Product Group at Microsoft Press. "As a publisher of technical materials, the promise of custom publishing offers interesting prospects for our customers. By taking advantage of iUniverse's digital content technology platform, we can now offer customized packages of content and provide customers with the information they need in the format most convenient for them." "The traditional book-publishing cycle is relatively time- and resource-intensive," said Bill Jordan, senior vice president of Business Development for iUniverse. "Using XML-based technologies and an advanced delivery architecture, iUniverse enables Microsoft Press to quickly leverage its existing content in new ways. The Custom Book program will open up new channels for distributing more titles about Microsoft products, giving customers greater choices and a greater opportunity to obtain the knowledge they need to exploit the breadth of capabilities available in Microsoft technology." How the Custom Book Service Works To create a Custom Book, customers go to http://mspress.microsoft.com/ and click on Order Custom Books from the left-hand navigation menu. From the Custom Books home page, they can view available titles organized by topic or utilize the built-in search capabilities to identify the most relevant material. Once the desired chapters have been selected, users can organize the contents of their Custom Book and create their own title. Customers can then order their book as a printed and bound hard-copy book, as an eBook in Microsoft Reader LIT format, or as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. Initially, customers will be able to select chapters from 35 titles in the categories of Windows 2000, Exchange 2000 Server, Microsoft SQL Serverª 2000, Office 2000 and XML. Microsoft Press will make additional titles available based on customer feedback and preferences. Microsoft Press will provide the content while working in concert with iUniverse to enhance the presentation and delivery of Custom Books. Moving forward, iUniverse will convert additional Microsoft content, manage it in its format-neutral repository, and offer technology and applications for customized delivery to Microsoft customers. Custom Books Will Be Important Trend Customers' early impressions of Custom Books have been consistently positive, according to Mastan. "People we talk to are excited about this program. The promise of being able to create a custom solution for their particular technology need is very compelling to our customers. The ultimate goal here, from the Microsoft perspective, is to enhance the customers' experience with both the information and the software products we ship. We want to provide our customers with more content options." Microsoft Press previewed Custom Books at a recent meeting of the BackOffice Professionals Association, a Seattle-based user group, and two members shared their thoughts. "I was really impressed," said Alan Carter, a consultant and author of technical books for professional certification. "If I was preparing for a certification exam, I wouldn't typically need the whole book because I have some areas of expertise. So I could pull content on my weak areas from two or three books to help me prepare, and spend a lot less than buying two or three books." Steve Proudlock, an enterprise software salesman and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer for Windows 2000, sees the benefit of creating a compilation of information in one document, even though he may already own some of the sourcebooks. "A huge benefit I see is the ability to gather information from different sources into one easy-to-hang-onto, easy-to-find resource that relates to a single topic," he said. "I certainly plan to use it."

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