Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

An awesome ebook upgrade

 •  • by Paul Ingraham
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Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

The guts

A lot of scary HTML, PHP & CSS went into this update. I wrote about 1500 lines of new code.

As promised a few weeks ago, I have published a really huge under-the-hood update to the guts of my largest book, which will soon spread to the others like an infection you want.


Let me try to make this real.

Basically the book now automagically “knows” all about its own sections — how many, what they are called, etc — and can automatically spit out a table of contents and more. This makes it approximately a zillion times easier for me to update the book. You would not believe what a hassle it used to be. (Just try keeping a huge table of contents in sync with a giant book. I dare ya.)

So it will literally be about 5 times faster for me to actually publish an update — which means I will do more of them.

Other benefits:

  • Section numbers! Finally! Especially handy for customers who print. Printing the table of contents will actually be useful now. 😃
  • The way is paved for other ebook formats. Kindle, iBookstore, snazzier PDFs! Because the document is very well structured, I can now maintain a single “master” copy and fairly easily export it to other formats. That solves the problem I had getting into other formats.
  • Readers will easily be able to tell what has been updated. Just like footnotes and citing are important, it’s important for readers to be able to see what has changed and why. It’s especially great considering how I emphasize free and steeply discounted upgrades to future editions.

Showing what’s changed and why in a document — especially a document about health care and chronic pain — is as important as citing, footnoting, and democracy. Really. That’s why Wikipedia does it.

More tumbleweeds? Okay, fair enough: this is like a tough sell, like pitching electronics to the Amish. There’s nothing really obviously wonderful going on here from the customer perspective. But trust me: this update is actually a ginormous deal. The product just grew up technologically. It’s ready for the next decade and beyond.