When Apple introduced the iBooks app on January 19, 2012, the world took notice. Hailed as a way to revitalize the publishing world, thousands of people eagerly downloaded the app. Apple made it easier than ever for would-be writers to become authors…or did it?

Seth Godin says otherwise. But we’ll get to that later.

There’s one major drawback to iBooks.

You can only read the published book on an iPad or or iPhone. The program was originally with educators in mind as a way to incorporate the iPad into the classroom. Think of all the money, space, and trees saved by carrying an iPad instead of a heavy backpack full of textbooks.

Creating an iBook is easy. But I was unable to preview the finished book on my MacBook. That’s a severe limitation. If your market is made up of  an army of Apple aficionados who have iPads and iPhones, your life just got better. But if your core readership is more diverse than that, you’re in trouble.

iBooks is

  • Intuitive
    • Apple knows how to make things user-friendly. Dragging and dropping text onto the pages is easy. Inserting entire chapters from files into the program is easy. Adding graphics is easy. If you open up the program, you’ll know how to use it.
  • Inventive
    • Remember those publishing predictions we shared at the beginning of the year? Some of them are coming true. You can now add music and movies to your e-book.
  • Interactive
    • Adding galleries, media, interactive images, and 3D images to your e-book appeals to more than one sense. Instead of referring to things in the text, you can now include them.

Seth Godin on the iBooks for Authors

There’s a huge difference between printing and publishing.

Printing is a commodity, a straightforward but important process that takes time and money. Clearly, digital ‘print’ in the form of an ebook is easier and cheaper than paper printing, which involves cutting down trees and paying for trucks and shipping, etc.

But publishing is something else entirely. Publishing is the act of curation, of taking financial risk to do the marketing work of finding people who want to read your book. Publishing is venture capital for ideas. Publishing involves either building direct relationships with readers (like you and I have) or in gaining access to scarce shelf space with retailers who have those relationships. A good publisher, then, gets your book on the shelf at Barnes and Noble, or uses some sort of connection (an electronic one, perhaps, or a trade show) to get the book in front of the reader and to make a sale. – Seth Godin, The Domino Project

Do you agree with Seth?

Know Your Audience Before Publishing With iBooks

Before jumping on the iBooks bandwagon, you need to know if you will be alienating your audience. This is where Google Analytics is going to become your best friend. (If you need help setting it up, try this video or we can set it up for you.) Google Analytics can help you find out who is accessing your site, which browser they are using, and what kind of smartphone they are using.

If the analytics reveal that your core audience uses Safari or an iPhone, you are in luck. Spread your book. If it isn’t, use a different medium. Your readers deserve to read your book. Don’t alienate them.

What do you think of iBooks? How do you think it will change publishing?


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