Apple opens a door with iBooks

A sample of one of Apple's templates from their website

In my post-CES haze (my feet have almost forgiven me), I missed an interesting announcement from Apple about iBooks.  Luckily, Scott Bourne (who was also at CES, but is veteran-savvy… :)) is awake and aware, and posted an article about it on his site: A New Way For Photographers To Self-Publish.

This is a really interesting play from Apple, and there are significant implications for schools, publishers and small authors.  Google, Amazon and others are paying attention, to be sure.  Scanning through the materials, there will likely be a whole ecosystem of content providers (stuff to put in books like movies, photos and more), companies who publish books, affiliates (people who will promote the books, even down to blogs like this one) and, of course, the people who write the content itself.

This ecosystem is only likely to expand, too.  In the next ten years, the meaning of the word “book” is going to change as much as the words “album” or “phone” have in the last ten.  It isn’t unexpected – it is the obvious evolution of what Kindle started and the capabilities a tablet offers.  Apple, Amazon and Google are going to fight it out in this space.

For photographers, publishing collections, “How To” books and more will get easier than ever before.  I’m not sure how Amazon and Google are playing in this game, but they surely will.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Microsoft in the mix, either.  It is one thing to publish the book, but finding it is the trick.  It will be interesting to see if the Search guys (Google and Microsoft) and stronger than the Point of Sale guys (Apple via iTunes book store) and Amazon (via…well…Amazon).  Guys with very established content like Scott Kelby, Trey Ratcliff, Bryan Peterson, Thom Hogan and even our buddy Scott Bourne will have some very interesting opportunities and decisions.

For me, I own Scott Kelby’s books in Kindle form.  Honestly, I wish I had it in book form, too.  There are some things I like just fine in electronic form, but for really engaged reading, I like a physical book.  For something like Scott’s book, I;d love to have both – I’ll be scanning through it today on my ThinkPad tablet during my daughter’s ice-skating lesson for tips on indoor flash techniques… 😉

What are your thoughts on where this is all going?  Do you like a “real” book or are you going e-book?

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