Category Digital Publishing

Apple’s new iBooks Author, a shot at Adobe?

I finally got a chance to download and play around with Apple’s new software for writing textbooks and similar works – iBooks Author. So far, I’m impressed with the ease of use. Instead of wasting hours trying to figure the thing out (yes, that means you, Adobe), you can get to work literally within minutes – Apple traits I’m always happy to see, irritating little i in front of everything, aside.

What is most interesting about the new software though, is how it mimics functionality from Adobe Captivate (software for designing e-learning packages), Flash, and Acrobat. The Apple software is still quite new and rudimentary, it hardly replaces any of Adobe’s big ticket items, but it is a very strong start and, at free, certainly priced right. It’s got review quizzes and interactivity like Captivate and Flash, it can save and distribute PDFs, like Acrobat, and it does everything far easier and for hundreds of dollars less than Adobe.

Does this mean I’m ready to dump Captivate and the rest of the Adobe core? Certainly not. But, as an author of textbooks, books, and e-learning modules, I am adding iBooks Author to the mix, especially for publishing on iTunes. Apple’s latest isn’t a threat to Adobe (or Lectora), yet, and it may fade to the back burner as Apple focuses on other projects, but if Apple keeps plugging away and releasing the software for free, Adobe is finally going to be in a fight with someone it can’t buy off or bury. Maybe then, consumers and authors will finally catch a break.

For related reviews, please see First Three Weeks with iBooks Author and Kindle vs. Nook vs. iBook – My Experience with Ebook Publishing.


Kindle vs. Nook vs. iBook – My Experience with Ebook Publishing

UPDATE (19 FEB 2012): It’s been a year, including a holiday season, since I first put the book on Kindle and six months since the Nook and iTunes versions went live. In that time, I’ve found Nook sales to be very underwhelming, iTunes to be decent, and Amazon to far exceed expectations.

As I write a couple more books, including one using Apple’s new iBooks Author program, some lessons learned include making Nook my lowest priority, that the new iBooks Author program is heaven-sent for formatting and layout (though with the drawback of availability limited to only iPad owners, at least for now), that program updates (i.e. Pages for Mac) have made it easier to save to the .epub format, and that Amazon is currently the utter key to sales success in online publishing. Thanks for your time, please feel free to post your thoughts below.

[ORIGINAL POST] Finally! After eight months of on-again, off-again work, the print version of my ‘Axis of Evil’ travel book is available in versions for Kindle, iTunes/iBook, and Nook. I did the process myself (I’ve done both self and traditionally published books, and the more experience I get, the more I prefer self-publishing), which required time to figure out the various formatting and submission requirements but provided some insights. I’ll highlight my lessons learned, for both readers and writers, below.


Axis of Evil World Tour – An American’s Travels in Iran, Iraq and North Korea

A book on my travels in Bush’s three Axis of Evil countries. Excerpts from the book are available in the Iraq, Iran, and North Korea sections of this blog, with additional photos on the book’s website at:

My goal in writing the book is to present the countries as I saw them, without adhering to any particular branch of U.S. politics or foreign policy – if you are a diehard Democratic or Republican ideologue, I’m not your guy. For more on the book, please check out my interview with Chicago NPR station, WBEZ.

The link to the left is for the Kindle version of the book. The paperback is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The book is also available as a Nook download.

The paperback version of the book was published in December 2006, and the e-book version (updated and with more photos than the paperback) was first published in January 2011.

UPDATE (27 August): Apple finally gave approval for the book to be sold through iTunes. You can find it by searching in iTunes/iBooks, or through Apple’s website.


iPad? Kindle? Nook? Why not the ‘Future 2.0’?

UPDATE (3 July 2012): Apparently, the North isn’t stopping at e-book readers – check out Pyongyang’s tablet PC in this recent story on the Pyongyang Trade Fair (yes, such a thing does exist).

Tired of iPad, Kindle and Nook? Searching for a truly innovative e-book reader? One that comes pre-installed with detailed explanations of Juche, the North Korean philosophy of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il? Then your search is over!

The Future 2.0 (because, hey, if it’s the future, why settle for version 1?) e-book reader is here! Though you’ll need to know Korean … and may have trouble adding content … and it’s not really, here, it’s in North Korea … but why quibble? No more bowing at the altar of Apple, no archaic black-and-white Kindle, the Future 2.0 sets you free from the bonds of mass consumption technology and places the user in the rarified elite of North Korean tech. Laugh now, imperialist pig, but how many nukes have Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos developed?

Need more info? Well, there are no fancy, wasteful promotional campaigns for the North Koreans, just a simple screenshot from a South Korean newspaper.