Apple: Some Skepticism And A Jaundiced Eye

I’m constantly amazed at how easy it is for Apple to generate publicity, rumour and spin for its forthcoming product and service launches. On occasion, I’ve been as guilty as everyone else when it comes to this.

The one rolling in tomorrow has generated considerable coverage and is variously supposed to involve new authoring tools for ebooks, a revolution in the text-book industry or new distribution routes for self publishers.

Of course that is all fine except that there are some pretty good authoring tools for ebooks, not to mention many fine companies supplying such services. There are already several companies pursing the text-book market with a view towards radical change. Apple’s ebook distribution platform is frankly lacking (how many companies could get away with providing direct access to their self-publishing services ONLY to those who have a MAC*) so I hope personally that they decide to improve that side of their operation. Looking at their marketing image and text, I reckon I’ll be disappointed.

It is possible that Apple will launch something revolutionary tomorrow but I doubt it. I can’t help but feel though that Apple seems to be seen as a white knight by commentators inside and outside of the book publishing industry.

This is almost completely unlike Amazon, a company that has TRULY revolutionized the book publishing industry (or rather rode the wave of the changes revolutionizing the book publishing industry like no-one else), but is becoming the favourite target for attacks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Amazon apologist (In fact I pointed to their long game fairly early on) I just think we need to keep our heads and a fairly hefty dollop of skepticism in hand when we discuss Apple. It has an impressive track record of being right, but its victories are Apple’s and rarely (except as a handy by-product) anyone else’s.

Keep that in mind tomorrow,
Eoin

* Yes, I know you can use an aggregator, but please, why is this a restriction?

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2 comments

  1. I find it odd that you confuse the eTextbook industry and the eBook industry.
    It is clear that Amazon’s strategy in eBooks turned out to be far superior to Apples. However it is equally clear that this market has never really appeared to capture Apple’s, Jobs’ or Cook’s total commitment. It seems more of a hobby, like Apple TV.
    This new eTextbook development by Apple is curious. Clearly it is aimed at a very specialist corner of the eTextbook market, and equally clearly no one really knows yet what impact it will make on the market.
    What at first may appear like a very niche and one-device solution may break out if the product is good enough.

    On a broader note the whole subject of eTextbook’s is one that is in major transition right now and no one has come on to the market to really change the game

    1. Howard,
      This was written before the announcement when it was far from clear exactly what was forthcoming, hence a somewhat hedging bet!

      As it happens I suspect the iBooks Author launch has nothing to do with eTextbooks as such and EVERYTHING to do with that Apple sees a big market enhanced ebooks.

      Some publishers agree with them, but I have my doubts. On the other hand if they are right and enhanced ebooks ARE a key segment in the industry they (Apple) will have built a clever platform for their creation and distribution just as AMAZON did with KDP for text ebooks.

      Eoin

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