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The Reality Pocket Guide, First Edition

Jonathan E. Sisk

Publisher: JES Publishing Co.

Published: 1981

Price: $50

Print run: 200

Comments from Jonathan E. Sisk:

This was my first book, and the one that started the flood of books I would go on to produce over the next decade or so. It was inspired by an HP 3000 Pocket Guide (click for image) which I thought was pretty nifty, putting every command in the operating system into one tiny little book.

On July 4th, 1981, I started writing it. Three weeks later, it was done. On July 29th, the night of Prince Charles and Princess Di's wedding, I stayed up all night doing the paste-up for printing it the following day. I even did the cheesy cover artwork using Letraset press-on letters on a light table I had constructed for the project. We assembled the printed copies on my dining room table a few days later, and 30 days from starting it, I had 200 copies ready to go. I took them to New York City for the Microdata User's (MICRU) conference and sold every one of them at $50 apiece.

Who would have known this would lead to a cottage industry? This work launched the whole series of Pocket Guides, which collectively sold more than 100,000 copies over the years.

Sorry about the cheesy JES sticker on the cover shot. That is the only remaining copy in exsitence and it was the one we used as a display copy in our trade show booths.