This afternoon I started a new eBook project using a collection of favorite Bible verses from the Friday morning men’s group at our church. The idea is pretty simple: Include verses from the NLT and MSG translations, complying with the copyright permissions for each provided on the YouVersion.com Bible website. Along with the verses, include a related and appropriate image licensed “Attribution-Only” on Flickr. I spent 4 or 5 hours on this project this afternoon and evening, and completed half the project including all the Old Testament verses. You can download my ePUB draft (at this point) from my public DropBox folder, using the shortened URL wfryer.me/verses. If you have an iPad you can directly load that web link in Safari for iPad and after downloading the 7.1 MB file, you will be prompted to “Open in iBooks.” In this post I’ll briefly describe why I chose to author this eBook in Apple’s Pages software instead of iBooks Author software, and why I’m “underwhelmed” by the 1.0 version of iBooks Author.
by paul (dex)
The most glaring omission from the 1.0 version of iBooks Author is the ability to export ebooks in EPUB format. It’s not there.
The only export formats iBooks Author 1.0 supports are iBooks, PDF, and plain text documents.
This is by design by Apple, but in my opinion it’s a mistake. Hopefully Apple will remedy this in the 2.0 version. We (as educators) need to make our voices heard and insist (whether we’re K-12 or college/university educators) that it’s not acceptable for Apple to ignore and deliberately try to undermine the EPUB standard for eBooks. We all understand Apple is a corporation and wants to make lots of money, but far more is at stake when it comes to digital curriculum than just income for a global corporation. As educators, learners and students, we need the ability to create standards-based e-texts which are compatible on MULTIPLE devices, not just iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches. I recommend Mathew Ingram‘s January 19th post for GigaOM, “Do we want textbooks to live in Apple’s walled garden?” for more background on these issues. My answer to Mathew’s rhetorical question is a resounding “No: Not exclusively.”
In the case of my new eBook project, I not only want to distribute this FREE eBook on Apple’s iBookstore, I also want to distribute it on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and openly on the web. Dan Wineman is 100% correct in calling out the ridiculous, “over the top” restrictions Apple is trying to impose on curriculum authors in his post, “The Unprecedented Audacity of the iBooks Author EULA.”
Since I’m unwilling to restrict the intellectual property roaming potential of this new eBook to “just” Apple’s iBookstore, I chose to create it using Apple’s Pages software. I followed the same procedures I used in the summer of 2011 to write and publish, “Playing with Media: simple ideas for powerful sharing.” For more background and specific steps about how to create enhanced/multimedia eBooks with Apple’s Pages as well as distribute eBooks on Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s Nook eStore, please check out:
- Podcast380: The Summer of Podfading is OVER: Let’s Talk eBooks! (17 Sept 2011)
- 99¢ Podcast: Creating Multimedia eBooks (3 Dec 2011)
These and additional links are available on my conference breakout session curriculum for “Creating MultiMedia eBooks.” (I’d be delighted to share this session with educators at your conference or other professional development event, btw!)
As educators, we have moral obligations to share. Open Educational Resources (OER) are and will increasingly disrupt traditional publishing companies’ revenue streams by allowing learners around the world to collaborate and share digital curriculum. The 1.0 release of Apple’s iBooks Author software is configured to undermine rather than support OER and the learning revolution.
Apple education executives, I call on you to change this in iBooks Author 2.0. Change the EULA so publishers are not locked into ONLY publishing on the iBookstore, and add an EXPORT TO EPUB feature like Apple programmers include with Pages ’09. Until those changes are made, I’m going to remain UNDERWHELMED by iBooks Author.
(The first image in this post was formatted with Creative Commons attribution using ImageCodr.)
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