Is Apple About to Change the Publishing World by Launching a Sort of GarageBand for e-books?

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With the current process of publishing an e-book clearly harder than it needs to be, Apple might be getting ready to change the publishing world forever by making the process “as easy as creating a song in GarageBand.”

Travel bloggers are often looking for ways to make money and one way that they have done so is by publishing their own e-books. For some travel bloggers, publishing an e-book is a way to reach a paying audience. Nomadic Matt (@NomadicMatt) has published a number of different e-books, one of which is titled “How to Make Money with your Travel Blog” and actually discusses creating e-books as a core way to make money.

In an article I stumbled across this morning on Ars Technic, Chris Foresman notes that:

[A]uthoring standards-compliant e-books (despite some promises to the contrary) is not as simple as running a Word document of a manuscript through a filter. The current state of software tools continues to frustrate authors and publishers alike, with several authors telling Ars that they wish Apple or some other vendor would make a simple app that makes the process as easy as creating a song in GarageBand.

So far, Apple has largely embraced the ePub 2 standard for its iBooks platform, though it has added a number of HTML5-based extensions to enable the inclusion of video and audio for some limited interaction. The recently-updated ePub 3 standard obviates the need for these proprietary extensions which, in some cases, make iBook-formatted e-books incompatible with other e-reader platforms.

Sources tell Ars Technic that Apple will announce such a tool at their press event in New York City on Thursday.

Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis agrees that such a move would be very likely. Foresman asked the question of MacInnis, “Will Apple launch a sort of GarageBand for e-books?” His response? “That’s what we believe you’re about to see” (and our other sources agree). MacInnis continued, “Publishing something to ePub is very similar to publishing web content. Remember iWeb? That iWeb code didn’t just get flushed down the toilet—I think you’ll see some of [that code] re-purposed.”

So what does this mean for travel bloggers if Apple makes this announcement on Thursday? Are we about to see a flood of new e-books come out of the travel blogging community?

Image: Changhai Travis


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8 Responses to “Is Apple About to Change the Publishing World by Launching a Sort of GarageBand for e-books?”

  1. Durant Imboden January 18, 2012 1:23 am
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    The biggest challenge with e-books is distribution, and a “flood of new e-books” would simply make it even harder for unknown or low-profile authors to get their e-books in front of the public.

    Still, if someone were to come up with a simple, quick, easy-to-use publishing tool that would deliver and upload finished e-books to all of the major e-book vendors (such as Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes), it would be simpler for travel bloggers with audiences of reasonable size to offer their e-books to existing blog readers.

  2. Mike Gerrard January 18, 2012 5:30 am
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    Is the process of publishing an ebook harder than it needs to be? Really? I’ve published several through Kindle, Amazon’s CreateSpace and in several other formats through Smashwords. It’s easy. If you can write a file, save it and upload it to a website, you can publish an ebook. The hard part is selling it. It always was. Making it available on Amazon or wherever, doesn’t guarantee anyone will (a) find it, and (b) buy it, any more than starting a travel blog will guarantee anyone will read it.

  3. Rich Whitaker January 18, 2012 2:49 pm
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    hey mike – i’ve never heard of smashwords… i’ll have to check it out, but from my own experience… it wasn’t an easy 1-2-3 kind of process to get an e-book with page-flip to work across all platforms.

  4. Mike Gerrard January 18, 2012 2:55 pm
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    Smashwords gives you a very good instruction manual and will get an ebook in the Apple Store, on the Nook, and various other places. I prefer to deal with Amazon and Kindle directly. I don’t know about doing fancy stuff like flipping pages. That certainly won’t be a 1-2-3 process, but plain vanilla text isn’t difficult. The fancy stuff is on the way soon, though.

  5. Durant Imboden January 19, 2012 3:40 pm
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    According to this morning’s accounts of the Apple event in New York City, Apple’s new initiative isn’t about general e-book publishing–it’s about publishing interactive school textbooks for the iPad.

  6. Rich Whitaker January 19, 2012 7:12 pm
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    it looks like *iBooks Author* allows you to create textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books, and more…

  7. Durant Imboden January 19, 2012 10:08 pm
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    Yes, but according to Apple’s description, iBooks Author creates “multi-touch books” for a single platform: the iPad. That’s a far cry from a general e-book application that will “change the publishing world forever.”

    What’s more, Apple is pitching iBooks Author mostly as a textbook-creation tool–which is another way of saying that even Apple views books created with iBooks Author as products for a niche market, not as serious competitors for mainstream e-books.

  8. Kirsten January 24, 2012 4:24 am
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    Though I applauded the news myself, I doubt it will forever change publishing single-handedly. Though, I do think publishing is and already has been changing. I also think that this product, like so many from Apple is meant more for Apple addicts than the general public and publishing world.

    I also thought Godin made some interesting points on the release with this piece: http://www.thedominoproject.com/2012/01/apple-didnt-make-publishing-easier.html