Mitch Waite

Computer book author, publisher, web designer, and entrepreneur

1980 – CP/M Primer

Twisters do not inevitably touch down on the Kansas plains, and Microsoft was not always king of the desktop. 

Set the time at 1980. A company called Digital Research owns the operating system for Intel-based PCs. It is called CP/M. The concept of a “primer” strikes a chord with readers, as do concise, easy-to-digest computer books. This is why I conceived and coauthored CP/M Primer. 

Weighing 92 pages and costing only $11.95, this 8.5 x 11 spiral-bound format title appeals to businesses selling computers with CP/M built-in. The title is reprinted in 14 languages. CP/M Primer employs two colors, a good number of blue screens, and cartoon characters–an approach that makes this CP/M offering both inviting and valuable for the beginner.

The result: 200,00 copies sold in less than six months.

Three years later, the publisher Howard W. Sams has a new marketing manager that I become close with. She dislikes the first edition comb-bound large format and re-issues the 2nd Edition in a smaller, more standard size. Sales are still good, but Microsoft DOS is quickly replacing CP/M as the standard OS for the IBM PC.

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