Sunday, January 22, 2012

Apple bites

I have to admit that after watching Apple's iBooks Author video, I was trying to figure out how to get an OS 10.7 computer to download the authoring application and an iPad to test the results and imagining authoring all kinds of marvelous content but then I got to thinking...

Now I am thinking that it is almost a moral imperative to take a pass.  

Having an easy application to create digital materials is a wonderful idea.  Forcing those materials to live in a proprietary format, available for sale in an exclusive Apple store is not.  Isn't that what Steve Jobs said he didn't like about Flash?

I guess I agree with dougpete (with thanks for the links).


Terry Doner said...

A lot is being written about this topic. As best as I understand your content is not affected by Apple's terms. The final package does have a restriction, which I see as "if you are going to make money from something we have you for free, we want a share of the revenue”. Keep inmind the market they are competing with, book publishers. In that industry it is common practice for the author to get less than 3% of revenue. Apple will give an author 70%.

Go read what book authors are saying, Rick Sammon, Scott Bourne, Scott Kelby. They seem to thi it is a great deal.

Ross Isenegger said...

Thanks Terry. I still think the format of the final package is crucial and should be an open standard. If Apple writes great software to produce ePublications in that format then that software is what should be sold. I think it is cynical to use educational materials as a loss leader for iPads.

If your content is basically rich text, then I see your point, but if it is strongly hyperlinked with crazy animations etc., then the published format is not going to be easily ported to some other format. Is there a good format for interactive materials that a layman can understand that is widely adopted?

Ross Isenegger said...

Here is an example of an author who compares Apple's publishing strategy to traditional publishers and describes how Apple's is superior -

This compares writing a book for the Apple Store to writing a book for a publisher.

I think I am comparing writing content for the web to writing content for Apple. Steve Jobs talked about non-proprietary content in one of those places, didn't he?