Book 2.0 - now(here) available in a book store near you

Over the last months, the guys from 37signals have written a book on a subject they are quite familiar with: building successful web apps. The title is "Getting Real", it has 171 pages and is not available in any book store. Instead you can only buy it online as a downloadable PDF. It is now out for about a month.

So far, so uninteresting. If you search Amazon for books on web design you get over 3000 hits. Who should care about an additional one that's not even available on Amazon and wasn't published by a well-renowned publishing house ? Well, let's find out ! 37signals has just blogged a 30-day status update on their experiences as a self-publisher.

So, how many books did they actually sell in those first 30 days ?
We’ve sold roughly 5750 copies of Getting Real. We’re counting a transaction as a copy sold, but out of those 5750 transactions, 530 were 10-copy site licenses. So, if you wanted to count each of those site licenses sales as 10 copies, you can add another 5000 or so copies to the total.
The answer: depending on how you count between 5750 and 10.750 issues !!

Not bad - but did they earn any money with this ?
Total revenue for the book has been around $120,000. Since the book is distributed electronically in PDF format, it’s nearly all profit.
Wow !

If you consider how much little (especially first time) authors today make with their works and how long it takes to get a book out to the market, start ups trying new ways of publishing knowledge will surely start popping up pretty soon. Because if you combine the above "proven" business model with a device like this, it looks like traditional book publishing is finally in for some real disruptive change...