Do you sense a change coming in the publishing world?

At the end of January 2010, Steve Jobs announced the highly anticipated Apple iPad, along with a number of iPad accessories at the latest Apple conference. As part of the launch of the iPad, which also functions as a rather stylish eBook reader, Apple announced the launch of the iBook store. Like the iTunes music store that recently passed over 10 billion downloads, it is expected that the iBook store will change the game for readers and publishers alike, but will it have quite the same impact as iTunes has on the music industry? Only time will tell. Let’s examine some of the reasons why the iPad could well be the choice way for people to read and distribute books in the future.

While there is nothing quite like the pleasure of sitting down and reading a good paperback, the process to get it from initial draft to a published book in the readers hands is a long and sometimes torturous one. With the iPad, you can read anything in an electronic format and this means that just like more and more musicians are producing and distributing their music electronically, there could be a whole new generation of novelists and writers finding this whole new route to market with electronic books. eBooks are nothing new. The success of the Amazon Kindle has been nothing short of phenomenal, and it is one of Amazon’s biggest selling products. Sony have followed suit with a nice eReader, as have a number of the usual lower end manufacturers. But why is the iPad different? Well Apple are the masters of seamless integration. Part of the reason of the success of iTunes is the fact that you can very easily purchase a song and have it instantly available on your device. This combined with the now culture that we face, means that when people want something, Apple allows them a direct route to get it very quickly. Combine this with cutting edge design and you have a device in the iPad, combined with a nice iPad case, that is not only functioning as an eBook reader, but so much more. The fact that this device will be in peoples hands for much more than just reading books gives it a massive advantage over the competition in the eBook market.

No matter which device readers use to download their eBooks this has to be embraced as good news by publishers and writers alike. The music industry moguls who did not run with the times have been badly burned as people have changed to listening to music electronically. The opportunities offered by Apple’s iPad, iBook store and electronic reading in general surely are going to herald a new era in writing, publishing and distribution of all kinds of literature.

The success of the Amazon Kindle has been nothing short of phenomenal, having a price point which doesn’t require you to take out payday loans to purchase one and it is one of Amazon’s biggest selling products. Sony have followed suit with a nice eReader, as have a number of the usual lower end manufacturers. But why is the iPad different? Well Apple are the masters of seamless integration. Part of the reason of the success of iTunes is the fact that you can very easily purchase a song and have it instantly available on your device. This combined with the now culture that we face, means that when people want something, Apple allows them a direct route to get it very quickly. Combine this with cutting edge design and you have a device in the iPad, combined with a nice iPad case, that is not only functioning as an eBook reader, but so much more. The fact that this device will be in peoples hands for much more than just reading books gives it a massive advantage over the competition in the eBook market.

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10 thoughts on “Will the iPad and the iBook Store Change the Face of Publishing?”

  1. Thanks – good article, I mean your point about authors getting work published is so hard, I’m reading Kerouac’s “On The Road” again and the introduction talks vividly about his (and fellow writers) trying to get work published. maybe its a double edged sword in that while it will allow more writers to get noticed it will maybe (?) provide a glut, overflow of literature? what do you think? will the overall quality drop or rise over time? Also, I love carrying a small tattered novel in my bag to read when I have spare moments, and pulling it from my bag is a very tactile experience of feel, and smell. Pulling an A4 size iPad from my bag may not be a similar experience? It’s a revolutional idea that reminds me how I felt when they first started installing phones into cars. I’m sure we’ll adapt quickly though. another electronic device to keep in your bag ad worry about?

    1. Did i-tunes and MP3 cause a glut of Music?
      I think that you can use the music model very easily for books. Remember the good old tactile Vinyl, do we miss it?

      The answer is books will become niche (and antiques) as have Vinyl LP’s.

      Remember that Apple is not alone in this market and there-in lies an issue (that we still suffer from in music). Different publishers different device support and different formats.

      At least Amazon is trying to beat Apple at their own game by releasing a Kindle app for the i-pad.

      1. While I agree that the iPad et al make it easier for some authors to get published I find it a sad thought that actual books will become obsolete.

        Even as an avid consumer of technology I sincerely hope this doesn’t happen.

        I think iPads and iPhones are helping reduce the amount people read rather than just changing how they read. Look at the average commuter train – there are probably more people playing Angry Birds on ther iPhone than reading a book.

        There aren’t many people reading books on tablets either…

        1. Reading a book on the iPad is no great pleasure compared to reading it on paper or on the Kindle (whose sales have not suffered from the i-pad). Book readers are for people who want to read.

          But I agree with your comment that we may be loosing people that read books and I feel that is almost criminal. The fact is that learning from books (even fiction) makes subjects sink in better than they do in the Hyperlinked world of Web browsers.

          We may have to give up on books (shame) but we should resist the trend to give up on “real” reading. I really worry about hyperlink experts. Give me a good book any day (on my Kindle of course).

  2. I, too, have been resisting the electronic reading device trend. As an author and avid book lover, I just can’t get my mind around reading a “book” on a screen. That being said, the iPad just might make me change my tune. I guess because it has so many applications outside of just reading books, it seems less an investment away from my traditional books and more an add-on of my portable computing. Still not sure I won’t pack around my favorite latest novel, but it will lighten my suitcase on long trips!

    laura

  3. I think the iPad would be a revolutionary product in Apple’s future if the parties in a positive future by expanding it. For now there is still much to complain about his shortcomings, like not supporting Adobe flash and I have read a rumor that the reading at night using the iPad would give the effect was awakened by the light beam on the iPad, similar to a computer screen. It is different with the Kindle screen that does not emit light when used. By the way, thx for great article…

  4. Reading on the iPad is absolutely amazing. For me, I could never read aan ebook on a computer, and since i use it for textbook reading, it would not fit on the amazon kindle. For this reason, i think the ipad will change the face of publishing. Great article.

    2 things i like about the iPad, its easy to read, the multi-touch features allow me to access a zoom feature on text really easily and the ability to hold thousands of books without the sacrifice of color and aesthetics.

    For me, i switch off between ibooks and i annotate app because i annotate allows tab style reading and note taking which speeds up my ability to read 2-3 books with ease.

    1. Hi Tri

      I think you are talking about a different kind of publishing which is akin to research or magazines. In those environments the colour, size and the ease of navigation of the i-pad are not in question (content is though).

      But it is NOT easy to read an i-pad compared to a sharp high contrast black on white display. I own both an i-pad and a Kindle for exactly that reason. My i-pad is pretty much my traveling notebook replacement now but when I want to snuggle up with a good bit of fiction its the Kindle that is tops.

      But the point is, the days of books were numbered before the i-pad and the i-pad has just put a couple more nails in the coffin.

      But you better run the Kindle app on the ipad if you want to get some books that you want, and if you read non-English books you better wait a bit or get some of the European competition (e.g. Oyo in Germany) because the American readers are severely lacking.

      Ian.

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