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Old 01-19-2012, 12:24 PM   #16
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Looks great to me. Now I want to take the afternoon off work so I can go home and play. This looks *perfect* for what I want to do.
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:34 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
And if nobody else is serving that market...? (snip) But is lock-in by defaut really lock-in?
Sure it is. It discourages other vendors from entering the market.
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:42 PM   #18
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I'm curious to see if it turns out to be epub3 or totally proprietary.
Apparently it's neither. Looks like it's using HTML5 and Javascript.

That should mean that anyone could write a viewer app for either desktop computers or non-Apple tablets.
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:48 PM   #19
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"Locking in" worries are premature. It assumes that other platforms cannot compete, which has not been true. iBooks is the proof. Kindle app has been much more popular because of superior ebook content. Apple sees an oppurtunity to host content that is not controlled by traditional publishing business by giving away the tools to authors and teachers who might produce worthy content and skip the publishers. Amazon has a similar marketplace but has not provided free and elegant authoring tools. Provide the tools and support an alternate platform and you break the locks. Books will be harder to lock down than apps, simply because they do not have to be dependent on the operating system.

Whoever makes the system easy to use and accessible has a shot at winning here. Granted, Apple has been very good at this lately but its not a contest that's won by a mere product announcement. Apple is giving away the tools. We need comparable Epub tools to compete.

(Sigil's design and workflow makes it a non-starter. Tools have to be easy to use so teachers can put an ebook together quickly.)

Last edited by Fugubot; 01-19-2012 at 02:27 PM.
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:52 PM   #20
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I guess I just don't understand the whole thing but to each his own.

How many classrooms/teachers/districts are going to use $15 textbooks that are ONLY AVAILABLE ON THE IPAD? If you do that, you've got to make sure every kid in school has an ipad...and doesn't just play Angry Birds during class while wandering the internet and listening to music and 'apple chatting' the girl two rows over while fighting with the kid in the seat next to his over the 120v outlet they had to install so the ipads wouldn't die in the middle of lecture.

Yes, I know that's a silly, congested run on sentence
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:52 PM   #21
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Apple having a clear-cut advantage when it comes to getting technology into the hands of educators. There's something new.
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:54 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by heySkippy View Post
Apparently it's neither. Looks like it's using HTML5 and Javascript.
That's the basis of the ePub 3 spec, isn't it?

I exported a test book from iBook Author, and in the exported package there was a file called <bookname>.ibooks which looks like an epub with a funny extension.

If you rename the file to <bookname>.ibooks and open it in Sigil, Sigil crashes. That may mean the ibooks file is radically malformed, or Sigil is buggy, or both!

I'm attaching the renamed ibooks file in case anyone wants to poke around in it.
Attached Files
File Type: epub foo.epub (944.7 KB, 33 views)
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:56 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by BWinmill View Post
Sure it is. It discourages other vendors from entering the market.
And what discouraged them *before* Apple got in, pray tell?
If it takes Apple sticking their grubby hands into the market to get integrated solutions at reasonable prices into the K-12 market, so be it.

As for why the textbook publishers would agree to that price:
One: we don't know what the school districts pay per (reusable) textbook, but odds are the pricing is per student, per year.

Two: Open Textbook Initiative. A lot of US States are looking to save money by either writing or commisioning their own tailored textbooks and building their own cross-district, cross-state alliances to share the work and cost.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Califor...xtbook_Project

iBook author might help those efforts along, unless the publishers can preempt them.

They may yet regret getting into bed with Apple. Again.
But Charlie Brown is always full of hope.
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:51 PM   #24
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iBooks Author generates ePub, and you can even use other reading systems (except for apple-specific things). However the license agreement prohibits you from selling content that iBA generates anywhere except for iBookstore. Can you believe that?

http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/20...t-you-can.html

To me this all looks like a way to force students to buy iPads and Macs. I don't see any benefit to students. Surely they will still have to purchase regular textbooks for many of their classes.
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:21 PM   #25
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iBooks Author generates ePub, and you can even use other reading systems (except for apple-specific things). However the license agreement prohibits you from selling content that iBA generates anywhere except for iBookstore. Can you believe that?

http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/20...t-you-can.html

To me this all looks like a way to force students to buy iPads and Macs. I don't see any benefit to students. Surely they will still have to purchase regular textbooks for many of their classes.
I wonder if this means that you can actually read iBooks content on Macs now. So far, you've had to have an iOS device. People with Macs, but no iOS devices, couldn't read books bought via iBooks.
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:31 PM   #26
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That's the basis of the ePub 3 spec, isn't it?

I exported a test book from iBook Author, and in the exported package there was a file called <bookname>.ibooks which looks like an epub with a funny extension.

If you rename the file to <bookname>.ibooks and open it in Sigil, Sigil crashes. That may mean the ibooks file is radically malformed, or Sigil is buggy, or both!

I'm attaching the renamed ibooks file in case anyone wants to poke around in it.
If you change the .epub extension to .zip you can then unzip it and look at the results (not that I was any the wiser) but there are xhtml files plus a .opf and a .ncx a folder of images and .css files etc etc etc. According to Liz Castro it's all valid epub and readable on a Nook.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellmark View Post
I wonder if this means that you can actually read iBooks content on Macs now. So far, you've had to have an iOS device. People with Macs, but no iOS devices, couldn't read books bought via iBooks.
There wasn't any announcement about reader software for Macs - so I'm assuming that means the answer is 'no'. Which seems pretty weird.

Last edited by andym; 01-19-2012 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 01-19-2012, 04:58 PM   #27
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Looks great to me. Instead of selling a textbook for $75 that a school will use for 5 years, they sell a $15 ebook to each kid every year.

I went through 7 weeks of training and used my iPad with PDF versions of the course material instead of the foot high stack of manuals. I far preferred it....and the new textbooks have a lot more going for them than just PDF's.

I'm sure the publishers will still have paper books and patents will opt for them if they don't want to pay for an iPad. I'd far rather equip my 3 kids with iPads.

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Old 01-19-2012, 05:01 PM   #28
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It looks as if it only produces iBooks, text, or pdf - not ePub.

I've just downloaded the app (which is free) and exported one of the sample documents. It tried to open in Sony Reader, but failed. In fact, I don't think there's anything on the computer that can open it. I put it in dropbox, which gave the option of opening it in iBooks on my phone, but it didn't actually open - said it was only suitable for iPad, but I don't know if that's a setting in the document.

It looks as if it will be excellent for producing iPad books, not do ePub, and I don't know yet about iPhone.

Can Sony Reader do epub3?
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Old 01-19-2012, 05:23 PM   #29
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$15.99 for a textbook. HOW did they do that? There are a lot of costs (and several years of work) that go into making a textbook, and printing up the books is just one of them. So I'm wondering how they got that price and whether/for how long the publishers are going to go along with that. I guess they have textbooks from the big publishers with books in the store at that price today, but does that mean that they all have to go along with that price to get in the ibookstore?
These are high school texts, not college. That matters because a high school text has a larger market and is a bit cheaper (one news source today quoted $75). The second trick is that this is the price per student. A physical text might cost 75 and last for five years. Under this program, the cost would be 15 per year for five years to get to the same $75.

Which leads to the next problem. If these books cost the same as physical books it doesn't seem to me to be cost effective for schools. There is the additional cost of the iPad, and the replacement cost for the inevitable broken iPads.

I suspect it won't be any special deal for publishers either. Providing rich media has to cost more. And what about teachers? Assuming these books are updated every year (electronic distribution, you know), then preparing for constantly updating texts is no joy.

I see two winners. Students: I tablet (instead of many, heavy books) with interactive learning tools. Apple: more iPads sold.
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Old 01-19-2012, 05:40 PM   #30
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The output from iBooks Author is ePub-ish. It is a hair bit different than other ePubs in naming conventions, but it is close enough that FBReader handled it without any issues.
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