Thursday, January 19, 2012

Called it. Apple's new software is very promising for digital photo books

It's not what they're marketing it as, but Apple's new iBooks author software (free!) looks promising for making digital photobooks—especially multimedia ones. Check it out:

How can you not be excited about this? Yeah, it basically looks like a glorified Keynote, but the possibilities (if you're creative) are amazing. Photo galleries? Video? Seems like just the way for a poor photographer to get their book out there. Sure, it doesn't have the charm of a staple-bound zine in a limited edition of 20 made from photocopies you stole from work, but think of the distribution possibilities. My previous post on this goes into more detail.

Ed Bott on ZDnet says "I have never seen a EULA as mind-bogglingly greedy and evil as Apple’s EULA for its new ebook authoring program." Uh-oh. That doesn't sound good.  What is the problem? Well, let's say you author a book and you want to sell it, but Apple (who reserves the right to approve or not approve your painstakingly crafted masterpiece) says "nope. it's not good enough for us." Well then, too bad. You can't take that book and sell it elsewhere. Yikes! Sounds bad, right? Actually, it's not so bad, if I understand it correctly. You actually can still can sell the content, you just can sell the ibook version of it. I don't think that's unfair. I'm sure Apple doesn't want a bunch of Apple-looking ebooks floating around out there (for sale, free is fine) that don't meet their standard. I have no problem with that.

Ed Bott also points out that Apple won't export to the industry standard EPUB format. That's no surprise to me. I had looked into EPUB when I first got an iPad, but was extremely disappointed to learn that it didn't handle images very well. So, of course Apple doesn't conform. Guess the industry standard might have to catch up. I'm just not seeing a problem, other than the fact that the product will be limited to Apple products (i.e. playing it on iPads but not--I assume--Kindles. I could be wrong on that).

To quote a Seinfeld episode, "it's a story about love, deception, greed, lust and...unbridled enthusiasm." I love it, Apple is (according to Bott) greedy and deceptive, and I'm full of unbridled enthusiasm (lust? not so much. It's software, after all.)

Will I make a photobook soon on it? Well, not until the Sundance Film Festival is over. I'm entering full insanity screening mode. Only two films tomorrow, but FIVE on Saturday. All next week I may be out until 3 a.m., so I'll be lucky if I can get up and teach in the mornings

My first project will likely be adapting a French intro to literature class I wrote. It's great for 2nd/3rd year college level students, the content is killer (If I do say so myself), and I own the copyright (except for images, boo-hoo), so the thought of putting something out there for cheap that the textbook companies had tried to get me to do for them would be so nice.

Anyone out there diving into the iBook author software?