Earlier this month, Apple did something which by now they seem to have mastered – launch yet another killer product that has left everyone spellbound. Even those who are picking holes in the product can’t stop talking about it. Because, notwithstanding all the shortcomings (Read, no flash, just one USB port, 4:3 screen display, etc.), everybody knows that it will sell in millions.
For those in the publishing industry the launch of iPad meant a little more. By launching a device that supports rich multimedia, eBooks, eBook Reader, etc. backed by a full fledged iBookstore, Apple has sounded their arrival into the eBook market in style. While the Amazons, Barnes & Nobles, Sony, etc will go in to a huddle in their respective boardrooms to devise a counter strategy, the Publishing community has much to cheer about. So, what could be the single most talked about topic in the publisher organization. May be figuring out how to get their content ready for the iPad.
Isn’t that quite obvious. Here is a device that packs eBook functionality unlike any of its predecessors. The leap from e-ink to full color graphics, and complete multimedia support opens exciting opportunities for the publishers. It is said that the iPad supports epub format, and has proprietary DRM in the mix to allay any copyright worries for the publisher. Publishers that have already have an epub strategy will probably find it easier to capitalize than those that do not. But, they still have the challenge of devising a strategy for the iPad specifically as their earlier strategies were probably built around the standard devices like the Kindle, Sony Reader, etc. In other words, having their content in epub format is just not going to be enough for publishers; not if they want to harness the power and performance of iPad optimally.
Let’s just give it some thought. STM Publishers can now have eBooks that are rich in multimedia illustrations, and exciting ancillary content built around their existing content that makes the learning experience more interesting and absorbing. K-12 publishers can build Talking eBooks, animated storybooks, etc. that redefines the way a child interacts and relates to books and characters in books. There are many that agree that the iPad could be the ultimate plaything for a child. A child likes to touch and feel, hold, push buttons, etc, and the iPad allows all this and more, making a very strong case for more and more interactive content for children. WARREN BUCKLEITNER, in his blog on NY Times, stresses that this is a new outlet for storytellers. And, publishers are storytellers, and the iPad has just made it more exciting.