Why Apple’s free iBooks Author app for Mac will usher in a writing renaissance

“What do Dr. Seuss, William Faulkner, J.K. Rowling, George Orwell, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Stephen King have in common? All six were repeatedly rejected when trying to publish their first famous novel,” Buster Heine reports for Cult of Mac.

“With the announcement of iBooks 2 and iBooks Author, Apple isn’t just giving the education system a much needed boost: they’re attempting to resurrect the dying art of the written word by taking absolute power out of the hands of publishers and putting it in the hands of aspiring writers,” Heine writess. “We’re on the cusp of a renaissance.”

Heine writes, “iBooks and iBooks Author are two amazing tools that will allow writers to self-publish, while also helping evolve the role of traditional publishers into one more suitable for the 21st Century. But they may have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future, just like the music industry before them.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
With iBooks 2 and iBooks Author, Apple bids to own publishing’s future – January 19, 2012
Apple education event: Winners and losers – January 19, 2012
Apple reinvents textbooks with iBooks 2 for iPad – January 19, 2012
Apple unveils all-new iTunes U app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch – January 19, 2012
MacDailyNews presents live coverage of Apple’s ‘Big Apple’ education event – January 19, 2012

40 Comments

  1. I watched the infomercial on the textbooks for iBooks.

    I was impressed with the publishers. They know the future is coming. It’s here Now. They either climb on board and ride the wave, or they shall be tossed onto the rocks.
    Their expertise with putting books together is needed. Making piles of paper is last century.

    1. It’s 29 bucks, it works, it doesn’t phone home every five minutes, every user gets all the features and I don’t have to decide which one of eight versions I want.

      What’s not to like?

        1. True. Life is like a box of chocolates. You have to pick the ones that you like the best. Sometimes that means attempting to decide which negative aspects bother you the least.

          People who get a new Mac will get Lion. I don’t know how well newer Macs will run on older versions of OS X. Those who retain an older Mac can keep Rosetta by sticking with an older version of OS X, but at the expense of foregoing access to new features and applications.

          You don’t have to upgrade now. I have a fairly new MBA running Lion and an older Core2Duo iMac running 10.6. i like the scrolling on Lion.

          1. Or you could always set up a second volume, either as a standalone drive or a partition on your home drive, and install Snow Leo on it, keeping up to date with lion on your main boot drive. It’s a minor hassle but it works when you need to use a Rosetta app one in a while.

            But Kingmel has it right.

    2. If Apple can’t support the App Store for Snow Leopard for more than a couple months, they should have never bothered releasing it.

      I really have to hack the version number string of Mac OS X just to install Apps? For real? I can’t install something made by Apple in the official App Store unless I edit an obscure system file in a text editor? What the hell is this, Linux? Why doesn’t it just work they way it is supposed to? Why is Apple even showing me an install button does nothing unless I hack the OS? I expect this type of time wasting bullshit in every other operating system, but Mac OS X is supposed to be better than that.

        1. Right, it’s just a matter of hoping I don’t need any of the legacy software Apple decided to slash for Lion, clicking install, learning how to scroll backwards and forgetting how to save, and I can finally replace my solid dependable OS with another OS that will hopefully be just as solid and dependable after a few more updates.

          I’ll just hope my current versions of photoshop, mysql, ffmpeg, postgresql, image magick, every python library, every ruby library, and every other program I depend on to develop websites keep working, without me spending hours searching online forums and entering Terminal commands to get every piece of software that worked in Snow Leopard working again in Lion.

          Thanks for setting me straight. I feel like less of a freak already.

      1. Releasing the App store for Snow Leopard, in hindsight, was primarily to get access to the LION UPGRADE via the APP STORE to all Snow Leopard users. In fact, since Lion was only available via the App Store, they had to release the App store for Snow Leopard. Now — you have Snow Leopard and the App store… Lion is just One-Click® away.

    1. … troll!
      Well … maybe not. Maybe just easily misled. Still …
      I could agree with the argument that the EULA (SOPA? what?) is excessively draconian IF a) it claimed to own your IP and b) it were not named iBook Author. If they merely called it something akin to “Author”, I might have a problem. If they said they own your TEXT, I’d certainly have a problem. But, they didn’t and don’t.
      While it is possible that you could “write” your Great American Novel using iBook Author, that would be … not the easiest choice. The vast majority of authors will write their work in, say, Pages or Word … THEN copy/paste the result to iBook Author. According to the EULA, the author still owns the input to iBook Author, but not the output from it. Thus you could also copy/paste your IP into the Kindle equivalent for sale there, and owe Apple nothing.

  2. Don’t get too excited about all the Apple iBooks self publishing news. As soon as you publish you create and publish your book through Apple’s “iBooks Author” you give up your rights to publish that book through any of the wide variety of popular eBook publishers. I don’t work for this company but my personal suggestion would be to use Smashwords.com. If anyone has tried going through the process of getting an ebook published and up for sale on more then one site then you know that each site has a different system and different requirements that make the entire process long and frustrating for each of them. Smashwords.com helps you easily get your ebook properly formatted and submitted to a ton of the major ebook retailers including: Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo and the Diesel eBook Store to name a few. They also sell your ebooks on their own online store and make your ebook available for sale in just about every format that exists and to top it off they do all of that for free!

    1. … correct. The “book” you create, and may only sell through iBooks, is the version of your IP you formatted via iBooks Author. That same IP, formatted through Smashwords (for example) can still be sold free of the onus of Apple’s EULA.
      They don’t ask to own the content of the book, just the format.

      1. Plus, I doubt that all of the multimedia features that iBooks Author allow you to use could be used on a device with an e-ink display. The iBooks Author is designed for Apple products.

    1. Which is why we have a new creative industry of people providing curation services, such as Flipboard. Find someone you like and follow their “channel”, or “stack” or “bundle” or “tumble”, or whatever they use to organize good stuff they come across. Read the stuff “liked” by your friends.

      Good grief, you sound like a glass-is-half-empty kind of guy. …remember what Gates said, “no-one will need more than 512K” (or something to that effect). What’s your paraphrase? “no-one needs more than six book publishers”?

      1. “What’s your paraphrase? “no-one needs more than six book publishers”?”

        Be it 6 or 600, IMHO, we will still need editors and publishers to have great books.
        Self-publishing is not the panacea people are promoting it to be. Sorry to go against the “everything is wonderful if it’s digital” meme.

    2. Beat me to it. We’ll be drowning in a sea of crap, and we’ll depend upon the respectable publishing houses to separate the wheat from the chaff.

      GarageBand and self-distributing services like CDBaby were supposed to usher in a similar era in music. However many years later, the best-selling recording artists are still on the labels.

      ——RM

      1. It takes time for an established industry with tight control over distribution channels, such as radio, to change course. But it is happening (largely due to a kick in the pants by Apple). Give it time.

      2. …”However many years later, the best-selling recording artists are still on the labels.”

        That may be the case, but I know that the introduction of the iTunes Music Store (later renamed to iTunes Store) has made a tectonic shift in the music industry. You may not notice it, but it is there.

        Before iTunes, my band and I could never have hoped of signing a deal with a label. When iTunes came along, and independent services (like CDBaby) started providing iTunes distribution, it became possible for everyone to reach global audience. We used to sell 20 – 30 CDs at our gigs, and about another dozen or so per year through our web site. Once we put our album on iTunes, we raked in $20k in our first year (almost 30,000 downloads around the world). That is after Apple took their 9 cents on every 99 cents they took for each song, and CDBaby took their 12 cents for essentially doing nothing (well, something; collecting Apple’s sales reports and revenue, and paying us).

        With a record deal through a label, artist rarely gets more than 20 cents for every dollar of sales. And the money only starts flowing once the label recovers ALL the cost of production and promotion. With iTunes, artist gets almost 80 cents on the dollar, but is responsible for his own promotion, so the money starts flowing from the first sold song.

        Apple and the iTunes single-handedly revolutionised the music industry, allowing completely unknown bands to attract global audience. Cinderella stories abound about obscure bands gaining global fame, as well as fortune, thanks to iTunes availability and some facebook/myspace grassroots movement of fans. None of this was possible with a traditional record label system.

      3. In other words, you don’t need to be a world famous act (Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga…) in order to succeed. If your music is good enough, and you put some effort into online promotion, your audience can find you when you’re available and accessible. Selling a few hundred thousand tracks is not all that much for a good band, but it provides solid revenue stream that may enable the band to give up their day jobs, go pro and focus on music alone. You don’t need to sell millions of CDs in order to have a decent life style. A band of five can live comfortably on about 300,000 sold tracks (or 30,000 albums) per year. My own band never achieved that much, but we weren’t shooting that high; we had a niche market and were in it for fun. $20k per year paid for some excellent gear and a few fun vacations.

        1. Interesting story and perspective, but still misterious to me:
          how your band jumped from selling 300 to 3,000 CDs due to the iTMS?!? How did people found your “obscure” band on iTMS?

          1. They saw the band live, is what I’m assuming. When the music is available on iTunes, it’s easier for word of mouth to result in sales (old model is selling CDs at the show, which results only in sales to attendees — attendees’ friends get copies).

            Which is great for the live band that wants to increase music sales. But not all consumers are introduced to new music via live shows, in fact I suspect very few of them are. Most of us still learn of new music from the radio, or radio’s successors on the Internet, such as Pandora. We still rely on marketers to push the music our way, which is why the labels still have a monopoly on the most successful artists.

            In other words, what I had been expecting by now was for there to be one or more breakout artists who had become high-profile successful without being signed to a label, using only digital distribution. Hasn’t happened.

            ——RM

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