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New iBooks 'Not Technically' in ePub Format


TechCrunch summarizes notes from today's media event. Of interest, they seem to reveal that Apple's interactive textbook format is not quite the official ePub 3 spec:
Books are not technically in the EPUB format, but they borrow from it (likely EPUB 3). Certain interactive elements of the books require the files to be done in the slightly different iBooks format, Apple says.
Earlier rumors had suggested that Apple will adopt ePub 3 for their new iBooks, but according to this note, it's slightly different. It's not clear what this means and if the changes are meant to eventually fold back into the ePub standard or not.

Apple's iBooks Author application creates content in this new format and projects made from that application can only be sold through the iTunes Store. At this point, however, it seems no other vendors yet support the format.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 30 months ago

cool tool, but with Amazon being a 500lb gorilla in the room and them supporting ePub, Apple should really fold these changes back into ePub and let the authoring app export into ePub format rather than just being hooked into the iBookstore.


I'm not sure where you got the impression that Amazon's Kindle supports ePub, but they do not. Kindles can't read ePub files without converting them first.

In fact, Kindle is the only mainstream e-reader that can't natively use ePub files. It's kind of sad.
Rating: 5 Positives
Posted: 30 months ago
Awesome. A set-up for DRM! Seriously, if Apple is truly interested in education, these Mac-produced ebooks should be able to run on non-iOS tablets (cheaper for schools) and should be sold in other venues besides iTunes. If not, these textbooks will not likely be taken seriously.
Rating: 5 Positives
Posted: 30 months ago

I don't want it in PDF, because, it is inferior on any device. My book is in HTML which reformats and is readable on any device I can put it on. I've also sold site licenses which aren't possible with Apples model.

Any book you create with the Apple program cannot be sold, unless through the iBookstore. There are other free authoring tools available that don't have that restrictions. And Pages will generate epub output you can sell without restriction.

iBook Author is just a proprietary tool to create books for a proprietary target system (and not all Apple products at that!) that can only be sold through Apple's store. The price of iBook Author is right.


That's right, and Apple isn't in the business of providing you with well-designed free software that you can then use to profit elsewhere. That's kinda the point of a business.
Rating: 4 Positives
Posted: 30 months ago

Awesome. A set-up for DRM! Seriously, if Apple is truly interested in education, these Mac-produced ebooks should be able to run on non-iOS tablets (cheaper for schools) and should be sold in other venues besides iTunes. If not, these textbooks will not likely be taken seriously.


And what non-iOS tablets sell in quantities large enough to worry about? Really only the Kindle Fire (maybe), which doesn't support even regular ePub and so couldn't support iBooks Author created books anyway. The rest are rounding errors in Apple's sales figures and spending a lot of time and effort supporting them would be a huge waste.

Apple's textboooks will be taken very seriously because there is no alternative, nothing from Android, nothing from Windows. iPads are already popular in schools and universities, this will only cement the trend.
Rating: 3 Positives
Posted: 30 months ago
cool tool, but with Amazon being a 500lb gorilla in the room and them supporting ePub, Apple should really fold these changes back into ePub and let the authoring app export into ePub format rather than just being hooked into the iBookstore.
Rating: 3 Positives
Posted: 30 months ago
Embrace and extend.
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 30 months ago

Awesome. A set-up for DRM! Seriously, if Apple is truly interested in education, these Mac-produced ebooks should be able to run on non-iOS tablets (cheaper for schools) and should be sold in other venues besides iTunes. If not, these textbooks will not likely be taken seriously.


That's not going to happen either. Nobody wants to deal with diverse hardware nightmare. Imagine authoring for every single different size Tablet out there. it would be a formatting nightmare.
Apple is promoting education, by providing both hardware, software and textbooks to go with it, plus the iTunes U. No need to waste time trying to figure out why something doesn't work.

And if the big publishing houses are signing up, it's because they believe it's going to take off. Otherwise they wouldn't be spending time and money producing textbooks.
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 30 months ago
As a person who has an "ebook" that's been around for about 10 years I looked at this with interest. But there are numerous issues that make this a "no go":

[LIST]
[*]If you want to sell your book, it must be sold on the Apple iBook store
[*]Books sold on the Apple Bookstore can only be read in iOS devices (not Macs, PCs, Kindles, or other tablets).
[/LIST]

Sure it's got animations, but it's an undesirable lock-in.

On the customer end, licensing terms are unsuitable for K-12 unless the costs of ebooks drop to reflect their actual savings (or they can be resold) they aren't really good for college level either. This doesn't solve the problem of the textbook publisher oligopoly. We really needed Steve Jobs "free K-12 books if you buy our iPods" model to make the lock-in acceptable.
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 30 months ago
Call me not surprised Apple does a standard propriety format and yet again in doing so hurts a good standard from really getting off the ground.
Rating: 2 Positives
Posted: 30 months ago

As a person who has an "ebook" that's been around for about 10 years I looked at this with interest. But there are numerous issues that make this a "no go":

[LIST]
[*]If you want to sell your book, it must be sold on the Apple iBook store
[*]Books sold on the Apple Bookstore can only be read in iOS devices (not Macs, PCs, Kindles, or other tablets).
[/LIST]

Sure it's got animations, but it's an undesirable lock-in.

On the customer end, licensing terms are unsuitable for K-12 unless the costs of ebooks drop to reflect their actual savings (or they can be resold) they aren't really good for college level either. This doesn't solve the problem of the textbook publisher oligopoly. We really needed Steve Jobs "free K-12 books if you buy our iPods" model to make the lock-in acceptable.


You can always export to PDF to make it compatible with the other inferior devices. And you are not forced to use the iBookstore; you can save or email the file to distribute it.

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Ibooks Author does not support importing pdf's.
I believe its only work or pages documents.


PDF documents, unless tagged, will import into any application as a total mess.
If you have a PDF, convert it to Word or Pages, then go from there.
If you wrote a book to distribute as PDF, you should have the source document, as you would need it to make updates to your book.
Rating: 2 Positives

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