Apple has made a foray into the realm of e-texts, setting traditional textbook publishers squarely in their sights. In addition to including a number of advanced digital digital resources for students and educations, they have just released an ebook publishing app that will allow teachers to publish their class materials as books on ibooks. In fact, any author can self-publish there and sell their books.
There have been some criticisms already however, a key one being the proprietary nature of the app and the books it will produce. In order to use the iBooks Author app, you:
- Must have an Mac (it isn’t available for any other platform)
- Must be willing to sign over exclusive distribution rights to the iBooks store (your book will never be available on other devices or ebook sellers).
- Your readers must be using an Apple device to read it (the final books will not be accessible to users on the Andriod, Kobo, Nook, Kindle, and other platforms).
It can be a high price to pay, but make it very clear that Apple is not doing all of this for free – if they can convince schools to get on board with the program and begin making their own resources using iBooks Author, then they will effectively gain a monopoly on sales of eReaders to schools – a stated agenda of many boards, including the TDSB, is to reduce dependence on physical textbooks in favour of etexts and digital readers – and gain a strangle-hold on a lucrative market.
The proprietary nature iBooks Author, and the intense restrictions, have led me to investigate other ebook creation tools. I stumbled across a number, but am most interested in Sigil, an open source, multi-platform tool. I’ll update you on what I discover about the program after I’ve had some time to play with it.
To see the iBooks Author app in action, check out this Gizmodo article.