With record quarterly profits in the bank, security giant Symantec has announced ambitious plans to launch its own publishing wing, Symantec Press, with the help of US publisher Addison-Wesley Professional.
Four security titles will roll off the press in November, the first of which to be authored by Symantec vice president and chief information officer Mark Egan with the title: The Executive Guide to Information Security: Threats, Challenges, and Solutions .
Co-authoring another of the titles, Testing Network Security will be Symantec insiders Brian Hernacki and Jeremy Bennett.
If this all sounds like a thinly-disguised marketing pitch by the "most respected security organisation in the world", the company has promised to follow up with a broad range of security titles across the enterprise, management and consumer niches, written by experts from the wider security community.
According to Linda McCarthy, a published security author who will run the venture for Symantec, the company even managed to convince two independent authors who were going to sign with other publishing companies to publish with Symantec instead. "We've attained a level of leadership and credibility that prospective authors throughout the industry are interested in having their voice heard through the voice of Symantec Press as the pre-eminent authority on information security," said McCarthy boldly.
Publishing wings are nothing new to computing. Microsoft and Cisco have cultivated a decent business from the demand for books from professionals looking to get qualifications, but it is a new idea for a pure security company with no proprietary software to hawk.
Is this a simple case of vanity publishing? And can the company really make money from publishing, an industry with margins as thin as software’s are bloated?
The risk appears small as the new imprint only plans "a minimum of six books to be published" and print runs are expected to be modest. The risk is also being shared with Addison-Wesley, which will have its security editor on the approvals board.
The great unknown is whether the books will be worth reading, but the answer to that one will have to wait until the official launch in November.