Tomorrow there is going to be an announcement from Apple in New York.
As you can see from the invite the event is about education. The word on the street (well on the rumour sites) is that this is something to do with electronic textbooks, as major publishers have been invited to the event. This wouldn’t be too much of a surprise as it was hinted at in the Steve Jobs biography.
In terms of academic e-books I think we may see either a new way of looking at e-books with much more media within them, or possibly a new way of selling them, by chapter for example as demonstrated by Inkling.
We use to buy music either as albums or singles, now with the iTunes Store or Amazon we can buy individual tracks from albums. I am sure similar changes will happen with books, with e-books just been the start of this process.
One thing I have said is that publishers need to move away from the traditional approach of selling the whole text book as an e-book and start thinking about selling individual chapters to users, in the same way that we can buy individual episodes of a TV series.
I have said we should move away from digitised versions of print books and take advantage of the digital medium with interactive content and media.
We may also see an iBooks for the Mac too; at the moment you can only read iBooks on an iOS device. So if you have an iPad or an iPhone, great you can read e-books from Apple, however if you have a Mac then you can’t. It would make sense that if there are going to be lots of academic e-books for iBooks, and many students will only have a MacBook then there will be a need for iBooks for the Mac.
So what about the creation of content for iBooks? There has also been a lot of discussion and rumours about a possible Apple e-Book publishing tool announcement. At the moment it is quite difficult to create nice looking e-books, yes you can do it in Pages, but it’s not easy or perfect. So the rumour is Apple may announce something like Garageband or iWeb, but for creating e-books. If they announce support within iBooks for the EPUB 3 standard then within iBooks it will be much easier to view and engage with interactive e-books; then we will need a new tool that allows us to easily create EPUB 3 e-books.
This new app, which I guess could be called iPublisher, would allow people to easily create and edit e-books that can then be read in the iBooks app or any e-book reader that supports EPUB 3. There might even be an iPublisher Pro that enables Publishers to create more sophisticated e-books.
Part of me hopes that we will see an “iPublisher” app, but part of me thinks if that was going to happen then why would Publishers (who would be threatened by such a tool) are invited to the event. So as a result I am slightly sceptical that we won’t see an iPublisher tool, but hoping that we will.
Something else we might see tomorrow is iBooks U in the same way the record companies have iTunes and Universities can have their own iTunes U, I wonder if as well as an iBooks academic store, we also have an iBooks U where Universities and Colleges can publish their own iBooks to the EPUB 3 standard, complete with multi-media and interactive content, something that in the past we may have called a learning object.
iBooks U wouldn’t exclude an iPublisher app, if we look at music or audio, we have iTunes Store for commercial content, iTunes U for academic content and within iTunes we have podcasts for other audio content, to which people like me can publish using a tool such as Garageband.
So if we have an iBooks academic store, iBooks U for content from Universities and Colleges, we could also have a “place” for content created by people like me, using a tool that may be called iPublisher…
Well that’s what I am thinking, what do you think?