One more time Apple shocked the digital publishing industry with their recent release of iBooks, a free authoring tool, which might re-invent the way we learn.
With the help of iBooks anyone can become an author and publish books – but not just textbooks but interactive multimedia books. Once I heard of this software I downloaded it from the Mac App Store. It took quiet a bit because it’s a large peace of software. But the best is that it is very intuitive to use!
When you launch the program you can already see that iBooks comes from the iWork Suite authors – it has a significant similarity with those programs and that is good because this makes the trouble for the future author much smaller. VERY less time needed to learn how to handle iBooks!
Easy use of iBooks
With iBooks you can easily drag and drop in galleries, text, videos, html and so much more to make your book really stand out. The layout is all done by iBooks – the text just flows around the module you decide to add without any hassle.
The idea behind Apple’s invasion into the education market is, of course, to sell their iPad – how great it would be not just for the students and pupils to just carry their iPad with them instead of tons of heavy textbooks. But for us “normal” people this is also great because each of us now can become an author and deliver significant value to our users.
iBooks – does it re-invent the way we learn?
As a former teacher I definitely love the idea of these interactive books. More than once I saw students becoming more interested in provided material with the help of the computer. And because Apple and their products are usually cult there won’t be much need to convince the students of the use of the iPad 😀
Beside that – many things can be explained much better with the help of a video, with additional information added, and, even better with the ability to add your own information. Once the ebook is on the iPad the student can make her own notes and her own file cards to remember the most important definitions. Of course, they still need to learn themselves but it might be much more fun with the help of these interactive books.
One point of criticism publishing at the iBook store
My only point of criticism is that with giving away the software for free Apple restricts the way to create ebooks – the format they are exported is just the format which is used at the iBook store. If you decide to sell your book (Apple gets 30% commission) you agree that you offer it just at the iBook store and nowhere else. However, free books can be given away wherever you want to.
Some people might say that they would prefer to pay for the software and then be free to sell it wherever they want or over additional channels such as Amazon’s Kindle store but on the other hand Apple’s stores have a significant amount of traffic so you might be already fine with the sales there. Additionally, if you don’t need to pay for an authority software it could be a good reason to stick with iBooks as the Adobe suits for this usually cost a large amount of money.
Conclusion about the free iBook Software
As always there are pro’s and con’s using the one or other platform and software. For me, a free software and a great way of marketing my product will be a good reason to use the Apple store to sell my book (which is just in planning state now). If I see that it is worth investing in a software I might choose for my next ebook a paid software and publish it also to other channels.
We will discuss the iBook software in detail here at TheMacMania and provide you with several how to’s – so stay tuned and be ready to create your own ebook!