This is one of the most interesting uses of technology to disrupt the publishing industry since Amazon.com. Self publishing has been an interesting idea for many years but the promise always out paced the reality. I have always been waiting for an interesting use of self publishing that does more than just publish someone’s bad poetry or failed novel.
Derek Powazec has published a photo book called Apple Sweat: The 2006 Heat Wave from NYC Streets. It covers the first week in August in NYC, which was the hottest on record since 1936. He had it for sale online within 72 hours of the event.
Two technologies made this possible:
1) Digital Camera – Cheap SLRs make it possible for professional quality photos without the need for dark rooms. (He actually used a Lomo for this book).
2) Publish on demand sites – Lulu.com allows you to layout and publish books quickly and easily.
I doubt the traditional publishing industry could release something like this quicker than 6 months.