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Will iBooks Author App Inspire More Authors to Innovate?

The new iBooks Author app allows authors to easily produce multimedia e-books. What will be the outcome, beyond more bloated files?

By Edward Nawotka

Apple's new iBooks Author app

Several years ago, shortly after the introduction of the iPad, I wrote in a piece entitled “Apple is Up to Something Publishers May Not Like“:

Apple is, if anything, the master of keeping it simple and, very often, attractive. And this is, I believe, one of the reasons that the launch of iBooks should give pause to many publishers. Now that Apple is in the “book space” with its own branded retailer, it’s only a short leap before they become publishers themselves. Just look at what Amazon has done since the launch of its Kindle, with the company launching a variety of publishing and self-publishing initiatives under their umbrella.

And so it has finally come to pass. It’s taken the company two years and now they are finally here with a point-and-click product that will make multimedia self-publishing accessible to even more multitudes. While on the face of it, Amazon has a strong head start, Apple has just leapt ahead by offering users the ability to embed multimedia elements into their books. While traditional publishers have struggled with their ability to produce “enhanced e-books” that reflect their professional values, indie and self-published authors are less married to tradition and prone to experiment wildly. Will it spark innovation? Or a glut of poorly-produced proprietary iBook files?

If there’s one thing that can be said, iBooks Author is going to sell more of those high-priced iPads that come will bigger flash drives as people realize just how big those multimedia book files will be.

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  1. Posted January 20, 2012 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Its great that publishers and authors will now be more aware of the digital publishing solutions available to them. We at Snapplify, also realised this need which then led us to developing a solution for authors, publishers and anyone with content to package that content and convert it into iPad Apps which they can then distribute globally.

    Its great because Snapplify allows you to transform static content into something more engaging and interactive with videos, audio and embedded web pages.

    It is these types of innovations that the publishing industry needs.

  2. Posted January 20, 2012 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    This looks like a winner – especially for anyone with some experience of Apple Pages.

    At the moment non-US creators need an aggregator, which is a pain, but may change.

    Content is king of course, so multimedia or not, you still need something that grabs people’s attention.

    Sooo… I like to think my upcoming titles on ‘Monsters’ and ‘Aliens’ hit the spot!

  3. Posted January 20, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Apple just leapt ahead of Amazon? With a product available only on an operating system used by 6% of computer users? iBooks Author is not even available as an iPad app? How is this helpful to the other 94% of the world’s computer users? Unless they open their platform to everyone as Amazon have done with Kindle, they will never sell many ebooks (less than 4% market share currently), let alone compete with Amazon.

  4. Ben
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    @Scot Johns…you are wrong on so many fronts here.

    1) don’t worry about “6%” computer users because Steve Jobs vision with iPad is ALL about post-pc portable devices

    2) ibook author is free and is available on Mac App Store and runs on OS Lion only

    3) “94%” of world’s computer user…. now u are just making stuff up…

    4) Do you even understand Amazon’s DRM mobi format?

  5. Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I do think we will see a glut of poorly produced, at first, iBooks that confuse the ability to do something with the need to do the thing. SSP has been in talks for years now with book creators who want to develop content that is enhanced and can make money as well. Always the start up costs are the problem.

    If this app takes away that problem, which is highly unlikely, there is going to be the proverbial glut of poorly produced and alienating products that don’t truly take advantage of the capability of the app.

    Down the road, there will be textbooks that will greatly benefit from this. For those who believe that there is honor among textbook publishers,professors make more money by producing textbooks than by teaching and these are quickly put together looking at the large markets of undergraduate core courses especially at universities with large enrollments.

    On that level, this will be a game changer.

  6. Posted January 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    The problem with an interface like that is that the books must have been produced on a Mac or similar Apple product or software. That accounts for about 35% of the computing market. This means that an author with a PC OS will never be able to publish to an Apple app. I know because I have tried numerous publishing services to circumvent the Amazon app and have failed because the file won’t parse properly for Apple. As long as Apple continues to reject PC based epubs, you won’t see my books on iBookstore except through a third party like Smashwords, and Smashwords does not publish more than the simplest kind of app. So, no nonfiction ebooks with pictures, tables, or anything else. When Apple decides to open up to the majority of PC users, let me know.

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