Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Books about iBooks Author: free and paid eBooks show authors how to create their own enhanced digital books

On January 19 of this year Apple held a special publishing event in NYC. At that time the company launched a new book reading app, iBooks 2, that promised more interactive, enhanced eBooks. They also launched a free authoring tool to help authors and publishers create those enhanced eBooks.
At the time I called iBooks Author a potential game changer because here at last was a way to publish your own eBook that would be simple and inexpensive. Would this herald a whole new world of self-publishing?

It's been only three months since iBooks Author was launched, and it seems like much of the momentum has been lost. Further, the DOJ's lawsuit against Apple and a collection of major publishers threatens the very life of the iBookstore (though I still would bet against that result).

But some authors were quick to launch their own eBooks about iBooks Author itself. In fact, only two days after the launch of the software package the first book about that software appeared in Apple's iBookstore: Digital Publishing With iBooks Author by Takaki Odachi. The free book is written for a Japanese audience.

Several additional books appeared shortly thereafter including Publishing with iBooks Author by Nellie McKesson and Adam Witwer. This is a book I'd highly recommend for its simplicity and clear writing. The book is also free of charge. (It is easier and quicker to launch an eBook if it is free.)

Another free eBook, launched just two weeks after McKesson's book is from Charles Stack. That name might be familiar to many TNM readers as he was the founder of Books.com. Stack sold that company to Barnes & Noble a while back and launched a new company Sideways. (I wrote a series of posts on the new company back in June of 2010.)

iBooks Author Guide #1 Overview is the first of what Stack promises will be an 11 part series of guides. This book contains embedded video and more graphics than other books – and while it may not be as clear and simple in its presentation, its use of all the bells and whistles illustrate the power of iBooks Author as an eBook creation tool.

In addition to the free eBooks, there are also several paid books available including iBooks Author by Andreas Kleinke & Anton Ochsenkühn, iBooks Author: The Definitive Guide published by Trailer Park Inc., iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook by Maria Langer, and Meet iBooks Author published by Peachpit Press. These books are priced at $4.99 or $5.99.

And therein lies a bit of a problem for would-be publishers and authors. It is always difficult to compete with free so most readers will opt to download the free books and only if they prove unsatisfactory decided to pony up for a paid book. This pattern of free books versus paid happen all the time with older titles out of copyright, of course.

Here is a short video looking at several of the new eBooks about Apple's iBooks Author. Sorry, no snappy music, only a droning voiceover by yours truly. Enjoy: