February 2, 2012

iBooks Author: a review

New iOS Lion App = iBooks Author
With the almost blinding speed at which technology changes, it might seem impossible for anything to truly be earth-shattering, or at least ground breaking. So, it might be a surprise that I think Apple's new free software app called "iBooks Author" is in that category. Let me explain.

It is amazing that, through the power of the internet, we can sea see and hear almost anything through our browser, with full interactivity. And this isn't new, but we've been able to do this for years. But, in the case of "ebooks", the industry as a whole has held back. In most cases, an "ebook" is a poor relative to its printed cousin. Formatting is not consistent, let alone pleasing to look at. And forget about pictures or graphics. But where is the multimedia?!

Yes, with expensive software, Adobe seems to be the only option to make a multimedia "eBook". But, again, why haven't publishers started to use such a powerful medium? I'm afraid those who run our publishing industry are probably still using eight-tracks (for my young readers, that is pre-cassette, pre-cd technology) to listen to their classical music.

But here we all are, with almost everyone sitting in front of a extremely powerful computer screen, and no one in the publishing industry is taking advantage of it. No wonder our kids have lost interest in books (and learning). The publishing industry, fearing for its profits, has kept us in the dark ages by turning our $1000 computers into expensive typewriters (again, for my younger readers, a typewriter is a mechanical word processor).

iBooks Author
Then Apple introduces iBooks Author, an application to make multimedia eBooks for the iPad. And they gave it away for FREE. Yes, it is limited because it only creates ebooks for the iPad. And, if you want to sell your "enhanced ebook", you must do so in their iBookstore. Any person with half a brain can see they are not trying to become the market leader with this approach. No, what they have done is send a wake up call to everyone else out there and shown them what "is" possible.

I am currently working on no less than three (3) "enhanced iBooks". And the results are dazzling. And they were incredibly easy to create. And, unlike print medium, there is no production costs - I can sell one or a million. Doesn't matter to me. And, as one of the few other people writing positive reviews about iBooks Author said, the "creator" has so much more control. No longer do you have a team of editors cutting and slashing your work. No longer do you have to wait months or years for your book to hit the shelves. As soon as your are done writing, its available. Simple as that.

iBooks Author
And what Apple has done is tell everyone, again, and again, "There are no limits to the imagination!" I am excited because now, the publishing industry has to get off its duff and join the 21st century, using the technology we already have on our desk, in our homes and schools, to educate, inform and entertain.

And, in the case of the developing world, I think this will decrease the "information divide". Accessing printed books, even in English is extremely difficult and extremely expensive anywhere outside the US or Europe. EReaders and tablets will become a cheaper standard in which to access the information superhighway. And because production costs will be so much lower, and everyone becoming their own publisher, I see eBooks, even enhanced eBooks, being priced extremely low or free like apps for the iOS and Android market. Soon, worldwide including developing countries, doctors, students, and businesses will be able to get and use up-to-date multimedia ebooks to help educate, inform and entertain. Bringing everyone to the table with the same advantages, the same information, at the same time.

Will Apple's iBooks Author be the industry standard. Probably not. But they have definitely lit a fire that should burn bright throughout the publishing world. Change is inevitable, change is normal. And, in the meantime, keep an eye on this blog for news and updates on my upcoming "enhanced ebooks". SMILE

One of my 'enhanced ebooks' using iBooks Author
Not convinced?
Go ahead and download iBooks Author
and light up the world.

Click the 'Book'