Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Apple Set to Launch 'GarageBand for ebooks'

Exciting if true!

From Chris Rawson … What to expect from Apple's education event: Digital textbooks, 'GarageBand for ebooks':

Reportedly the event will focus on a new type of digital textbook providing a greater degree of interactivity than has been offered in the past. The iPad is of course the perfect medium for consumption of such content, and the iTunes Store is a ready-made outlet for delivering that content. Apple has already provided all the tools for digital textbooks to get into the hands of teachers and students, with one exception: an easy way to create that digital content in the first place.

Tools for creating ebooks from scratch or converting standard books into digital versions have traditionally been confusing to use, delivered inconsistent results, and haven't played well with anything more than basic multimedia integration. Speaking from my personal experience in trying to create a simple text-only ebook using iWork, I've longed for a simpler and more user-friendly tool; I can only imagine that textbook publishers have been clamoring for such a piece of software even more stridently.

According to Ars Technica, Apple is set to deliver that final piece of the puzzle in crafting digital textbooks, which the site characterizes as sort of a "GarageBand for ebooks." Apple is expected to announce support for the EPUB 3 standard -- it currently supports EPUB 2 with some HTML5-based extensions to allow grafting of basic multimedia content onto ebooks. While this may render such ebooks incompatible with other ebook platforms (Kindle, most notably) it should also make it much easier for textbook makers to deliver interactive content in their ebooks.

Both Ars's sources and people within the digital publishing industry agree that Apple is set to introduce a tool designed to make the process of creating digital content for ebooks as easy as GarageBand makes it to throw together a song on your Mac.

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