Leo and gang do a great job of covering all the different angles of the announcement. So if you want more information on the text book angle and iTunes University, check out the podcast.
So let me see if I can summarize what I consider the highlights:
- Apple has announced a new ebook authoring tool, iBook Author.
- Available for free from the Mac App Store
- Creates books in a proprietary eBook 3 format
- Only works on OS X 10.7 Lion
- Publishing options are a tad limited
- To publish a book for sale, you can only use the Apple iTunes store. Also, Apple must approve your book. If they don't approve it, you have no alternative for sale.
- If not using the iTunes store, the book can only be released for free. Going this route, you can publish to PDF or the proprietary format.
My take... this is a bit of a blunder. Apple has shown its hand to competitors Amazon, Adobe, and Barnes and Noble in regard to its eBook strategy. Limiting the publishing options and the app to only OS X Lion, also prevents wide adoption. Thusly, competitors should have time to respond and should be able to take the moral high ground if they support actual standards.
From what I have heard, the books produced from the tool are fabulous and very cool.
But is it my book? Not really. It seems to me, if you were to write your own book, I would use another tool and maybe port it to iBooks Author if I think it would be worth it.
Anyway, I would like to spend some more time with ePub3. It looks like the content is just HTML5 with some special packaging rules. Hopefully I can post more on the subject.