Apple to Unveil Ebook Publishing Tools at Media Event

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Apple will be hosting a special education-related media event on Thursday, January 19, and insider sources are claiming the company will use the press conference to introduce new authoring tools that make it much easier to create ebooks.

Apple may launch new ebook publishing toolsApple may launch new ebook publishing tools for education

Sources told Ars Technica that Apple’s tools will be like “GarageBand for ebooks,” and will make it much easier to to design and publish interactive ebooks. The Mac and iPad is also expected to announce support for the ePub 3 standard. Currently, Apple supports ePub 2 with its own custom extensions that limit ebook compatibility outside of the iBooks app.

Assuming those sources are right, Apple could fix a glaring problem with the ebook publishing industry because the current publishing offerings are complex and frustrating despite the promise of one-button authoring from Adobe and Quark.

Apple announced its Thursday media event last week with the line, “Join us for an education announcement.” With the promise of an education-related announcement, Apple could be planning on pushing its rumored ebook publishing tools at the textbook market. Those tools could make it possible for publishers to sell textbooks to schools at a lower cost, make it easier to update titles, and offer publishers more incentive to release their educational books for the iPad.

Sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal say Apple will announce a partnership with McGraw-Hill, although they didn’t know if deals with Pearson or Houghton Mifflin would be announced, too. Deals with the big name educational publishers would give Apple a leg up on Amazon in the digital school book publishing market, which fits nicely with Steve Jobs’s plans to shake up the textbook industry just as he did with the music industry.

Apple isn’t saying what it will announce on Thursday, but if it really is easy to use ebook publishing tools, we may be witnessing the beginnings of another Cupertino-led revolution.

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2 Comments

Substance

I hope that this new solution acts as a simple page loayout tool that lets you easily jump in and out of pages through hyperlinks, embed audio and video files, and a simple scripting engine and background database that maintains the state of every page.  And if they call it “HyperCard”, well that would be great too. grin

Dorje Sylas

I was just reading up on the ePub 3 specs and seems like it will be very hard for Apple to deliver something like a WYSIWYG ePub editor. The specifications for cross-document linking alone was making my head hurt.

The big advantage will be that Apple can make better guaranties about material coming from their “writer” and being read by their “reader.” However then we get into the whole “you can’t use these outside iBooks” grump that already exists.

My expectations going into Thursday are fairly low as to what we’ll see.

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