Yesterday we all witnessed a great moment: we saw Apple come sailing in, offering free-ish Education-for-All. This will undoubtedly bring prosperity and make the world a better place for kids, but our guess is Apple will also be bringing their inquisitors, and some people might get caught off guard. Here at Demibooks, we are looking at this announcement through the lens of our own software platforms, and trying to compare apples to apples. Or rather, let’s compare Apple to—well, to us.
Like everyone else in the publishing industry, we watched the pristine performance with bated breadth. http://www.apple.com/apple-
But will everything really be as wonderful as Apple claims it’s going to be?
No code? We’re being told that it’s all so easy, and you don’t need any programming for iBooks Author. But that’s not really the whole story, to be fair— if you really want to make something with compelling interaction, something more than a holiday slideshow for example, then you’ll need a scripter. Granted not as pricey as a programmer, but any ordinary scripter won’t do. You’ll have to use the Apple Widget App (not just a text file), on a Mac with Lion installed. On our Composer platform, you really need NO CODE AT ALL.
Audio? Also in HTML5 on an iOS device, you can only play one audio file at a time. If you want a voice over and some nice background music, then sadly that will not be possible. http://developer.apple.com/library/safari/#documentation/AudioVideo/Conceptual/Using_HTML5_Audio_Video/Device-SpecificConsiderations/Device-SpecificConsiderations.html ) In Composer, you can have ten channels of audio playing simultaneously, and set behaviors for them to start, stop, fade and interrupt one another to your heart’s desire.
Flexibility? If there is one thing I have learnt in my travels, it is that publishers don’t like to be told what to do. Unlike folks in the music business, publishers actually READ. I’m sure publishers are wary of what happened to the music and the movies business. They will not like being told (and I paraphrase) to make books that cost way more to make, and sell them for way less, and only see them through iTunes in the iBookStore. Minus a 30% cut. See http://venomousporridge.com/
Openness? Think about the requirements for publishing: you need an ISBN, a US Tax File Number if you’re a business or a US Social Security Number if you’re an individual. That’s fine and dandy if you live in the USA…but as an Aussie myself… hmm. With Demibooks platforms, there are no such requirements.
iBooks has a nice customised format; EPUB3 with Apple extensions ( http://www.tuaw.com/2012/01/
So should you have concerns about ownership of your content, and wish to be in control of your business plan, come to us at Demibooks. We’ll help you get onto Apple’s App Store with NO code, MORE music, BETTER bells and whistles, TOP service, and GREATER flexibility than you might have thought possible.