Initial iBook 2 titles offer disappointing interactivity



  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,614member
    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

    Just because you have a top of the line camera, DOESN'T MAKE YOU A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER..

    Along the same lines ... Apple's DeskTop Publishing in the mid 1980s allowed ordinary folks to (almost) professionally type and layout content for themselves for the first time in history, sadly it produced some of the most horrific printed material possible and thanks to computers and printers people still do to this day . Thank heavens Apple set iBook Author up to be nearly fool proof and not as free form as iWeb for example. However, DTP did unleash many talented folks as will this I am sure. I liken this to iTunes with music and pod casts. I suspect we will see a mass of small companies and individuals breakthrough into book production that could never have done so before.
  • paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,213member
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    I think memories of Apple with Jobs at the helm are quickly getting warped. Apple under Jobs was notorious for delivering well done but limited features in both HW and SW. High focus in core features without muddying the waters out of the gate. This is what iBooks Author looks like to me. On top of that, Jobs only stepped down as CEO less than 6(?) months ago sonits inconceivable to me that iBooks Author ? in the first post-Jobs special event ? does not have Jobs DNA all throughout.


    Though inevitably history will be forever rewritten in Steve Jobs' name. Sadly.

    Hopefully (author) competition will ensure that the quality of iBooks will become as high as we know they can. If not there is an opportunity out there waiting to be exploited.
  • wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

    In an ideal world Apple should have arranged an agreement with Mike Matas and the team from Push Pop Press.

    Instead of (allegedly) forcing them to stop Push Pop Press interactive book production (and a resulting buyout by Facebook) they should have made the Push Pop Press team an integral part of Apple in charge of interactive textbooks.

    They could have been put in charge to help textbook publishers update their textbooks for the 21st century.

    Initially as a free service by Apple (a 'start-up investment' to get publishers and readers hooked, for a couple of books per publisher), later-on for a small cut of the proceeds.

    Shame this didn't happen.

    That's because Apple was already working on what Push Pop intended to do and already had a team.. And the result of that is iBooks Author. It's not the greatest thing since slice bread but it's a great start.

    Apple allegedly forced Push Pop out for allegedly using Apple IPs..
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,614member
    Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

    That's because Apple was already working on what Push Pop intended to do and already had a team.. And the result of that is iBooks Author. It's not the greatest thing since slice bread but it's a great start.

    Apple allegedly forced Push Pop out for allegedly using Apple IPs..

    Didn't the folks involved start at Apple and had inside knowledge too? I'm not suggesting anything nefarious, it's a wonder though that Google didn't grab them and protect them from law suits with big $s so as to have an Android version of this. It seems weird they got so far along and Al was involved too as an Apple Director with pushing their product. What a waste of effort to have these two teams working in parallel.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,792member
    First off much of what Apple releases is far from perfect. The evolution of the iPhone is a prime example, there where releases that where barely functional. All while Steveo was at the helm. Steve was more interested in the direction of development than perfection at anyone point.

    Second the big publishers will not be the ones to excel with iBooks. It is jump to far for them. Instead new hungery developers will be the key to the success of iBooks. Think of the current books as placeholders that will eventually be replaced as developers evolve their skills and proven techniques are offered.

    Look at the other paradigm shifts Apple has been responsible for, none of them happened over night. This is the case with both hardware and software. It takes time to develop market mind share. Likewise developers take time to develop their skills.

    As for interactivity that is simply not something that is suitable for every page of a text book. In some cases there will be little interactivity at all. Frankly think about school and the classes where interactivity is possible and works.

    In any event lets see how much of this negativity is a problem in 5 years. By such time iBooks will either have become a winner or have died.
  • hankx32hankx32 Posts: 121member
    Hopefully the big textbook companies are currently hiring creative and dynamic people for their interactive books departments! The companies never had to manage video and interactive graphics before, so it may take a little time to get them to fully integrate modern content into these books. (by a little time I mean less than a year, I mean how long could it take?) Anyway, it seems to me that in order to produce an awesome history textbook, the publishers will need to incorporate content from documentary film footage. WWII footage will need to be contained throughout the book, what kind of licensing fees would the film owners demand? How would this affect the pricing of awesome full featured history books? Once new players in the iTextbooks industry release awesome new interactive tomes, what will be the political ramifications be? I can envision a future where AAPL's social reach induces a backlash among Evangelical Conservative types calling for an AAPL boycott or even iPad burnings similar to what they did when John Lennon scared them. (Kind of like the Flesh Fairs from the movie A.I.) Either way, I hope the upcoming textbooks really blow us away, and really create a spark for kids to want to learn. When I watched the video last week, when they unveiled in NY, I was blown away.
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    It's a pity they didn't even make the math ones more interactive. That seems like the lowest hanging fruit, in that math is what computers are good at. You could embed live formulas and graphers in to the page.

    One thing that I haven't heard mentioned is the possibility of interacting with other people through the book. For example voice chat with other people currently reading it. Or the publisher has an army of retired teachers sitting in a call-centre somewhere, and the kids can ask questions.
  • lostsynclostsync Posts: 6member
    Originally Posted by hobBIT View Post

    But who is going to pay for this?

    I don't know if you've been in school lately, but unless textbook authors make around 9 billion dollars a minute, I think the publishers have the cash to pull this off.

    That said, Apple probably should have sent over some personel for guidance after seeing the initial crop of books. At this point, you can't really expect publishers to have a firm grasp on this type of software [though it would be very nice if they had taken that initiative given the state of technology today...].
  • anatolytanatolyt Posts: 4member
    Well, I`ve tried iBooks Author already and created the book which I`ll publish on this week in iBookstore.

    So, the problem of iBooks Author is that people who made it, they didn`t study well InDesign and its developing history. iBooks Author has a lot of things which have to be "by default" because these are most useful funtions (footnotes, correction of existing styles or styles which you are making during production, menu and UI in fullscreen mode are not acceptable).

    BUT, here is first version and I didn`t wait too much from this except more comfortable operations with multimedia content and appearance of the books.

    Anyway, I would like to see good development in future and looks like we have same thing like FCPX but in books production.

    Producer wants to make something too simple and productive but forget about small BUT very important details which ruin his creature.

    For information.

    I`ve been working in publishing business since 1993 up to 2001. At this moment I`m publishing or producing anything for own pleasure.
  • depannistdepannist Posts: 28member
    Another underwhelming release by Tim Cook. When the AppStore opened, there were a number of impressive 3rd party titles to show what can be done. When iAds were released, the first iAds were again very impressive. Though in both cases the quantity may have been low, the quality was high. Whether it was Jobs that insisted on high quality or the 3rd parties involved just wanted to impress, point is they were good showcases.
  • boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 953member

    Books (reading with sub purpose of interactive)

    Apps (interactivity with sub purpose of reading)
  • thataveragejoethataveragejoe Posts: 830member
    Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

    While I appreciate what you're insinuating - that of course this isn't the end of the line and the initial use of a V1 product doesn't mean the idea or intent is wrong - I can also appreciate what the reviewers of the books on iTunes are saying. Apple is the kind of company where you just expect them to show their best and prove why you want their stuff.


    You would have thought Apple would have screened the books and gone back to the publishers saying - "Hey, you can do better. You're not using our technology well. We want you to wow these people!"

    You mean like they should have done with their own Final Cut Pro X?? \
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    That suggests conventional book publishers have more in common with the music labels and movie studios, who hesitantly tiptoed into iTunes with the horrified terror of a cat being forced to take a bath.

    Good job, DED!

    Wonderful turn of phrase, despite the mixed metaphors (a horrified cat would hardly tiptoe).

    Please reread Hunter S. Thompson's better stuff. You could do worse than to emulate his style. He was a master of the visceral phrase. You do your best when you employ "no holds barred" descriptions. Colorful and entertaining descriptions are one of your unique and unusual talents.
  • Quote:
    Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post


    Books (reading with sub purpose of interactive)

    Apps (interactivity with sub purpose of reading)

    Maybe. But what is wrong with changing the paradigm? That is the whole point of the new venture.

    A picture is worth a thousand words. And at a framerate of 30 pictures per second, the available information can be multiplied vastly. Think about, for example, an old-timey painting of the Battle of Gettysburg, which might illustrate a history text. Now think of a video clip of a cannon being loaded with balls of shot, and blowing a thousand holes through a target painted like soldiers.

    The first gets a glance. The second sends a chill down your spine.
  • minderbinderminderbinder Posts: 1,703member
    Enough with the Tim Cook/Steve Jobs whining. People are remembering with rose colored glasses, there were plenty of screwups under Jobs and the stuff that's coming out now likely still had much of his influence. Frankly I think there's a good chance that things could even improve a bit under Cook, particularly quality control and actually listening to what customers want.

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    Interactivity should only be used when it's an added benefit not simply because it can be done. I'm sure some buyers expected interactivity on all pages but that's ridiculous. The focus should be improved education not improved entertainment.

    The main example in this article is an ABC book. The info pushes the sound effects as a major selling point, but as one of the reviews pointed out, most objects don't have sounds. And the implementation that would make sense would be touching the letter and you hear the letter and sound spoken, touch the picture and you hear the sound effect for that, touch the word and it plays the word. Instead there are play buttons off to the side.

    A book like this aimed at kids learning letters and building vocabulary. In this particular case users absolutely would expect interactivity on just about every page, at least minimally so. And things like speech and sound effects are the easiest (and cheapest) things to add to something like this.

    It is surprising Apple didn't screen this book and send it back for improvements. With the terrible reviews I wonder if the company will create a revised version and allow buyers to update it. I was thinking about buying this for my kid to check it out, glad I read this first so I didn't waste my money.

    And with the other books, Apple is hyping this as being more than just a PDF. If they want it to take off, they need textbooks published that are more than just PDFs.

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

    We've had electronic versions of such things for decades.

    Heck, the See 'n' Say wasn't even electronic, it's a mini phonograph that runs via pulling the string, no batteries needed.
  • evilutionevilution Posts: 1,029member
    Poor workmen will always blame their tools and this is no exception.

    People without a clue had a quick dabble over the weekend and gave up moaning.

    The "game changers" are still working on their ibook now and will be for some months to come.

    No software will allow a nobody become a somebody over a weekend.
  • jpc1957jpc1957 Posts: 12member
    I bought Al Gore book for iPad, was expecting much more. Very disappointed and quickly deleted it. Effects were only for show, took huge amount of space for no benefit. Also the same with the first newstand magazines I got. Just used effects for no real benefit, didn't utilize form factor, no meaningful interactivity. Tried maybe a dozen free issues, deleted them all. Even the photography magazines were more frustrating then useful.

    On the other hand, I have used some really nice children books that my granddaughter loves. Only about 1 out of 10 maybe I get, but the tools and technology are there (thanks Apple, just fix the content size issue NOW, a gigabyte for a book? really?). Developers/Publishers just need to get out of the box.
  • pdq2pdq2 Posts: 270member
    It's like when CD drives first came out. All sorts of horrible crap the publishers just crudely repurposed from their original use. Unfortunate, I suppose, but as someone who's inspired by iBooks Author to try putting a textbook together (in a technical, but visual field), the fact the big boys aren't taking this seriously (yet) is just fine with me.
  • 8002580025 Posts: 172member
    Originally Posted by

    Slader, a collaborative online educational service that provides academic resources for high school students, compared conventional textbooks with the initial iBooks offered by the same publishers and [URL=

    noted[/URL], "It’s akin to reading a PDF copy of the printed textbooks that exist in classrooms today. The interactive features promised are virtually nonexistent. Beyond the usual iPad features (highlighting and in-page definitions), there’s nothing new included in the publishers’ math iBooks."

    Individual reviews of iBookstore textbooks also conveyed a general disappointment. "Pretty poor showing for a launch of the new interactive iBooks," one reviewer complained about DK's "My First ABC" title for children. "I can't believe this is the poster child for interactive book debut. There's nothing to interact with!" another said.

    Pretty much useless and unnecessairly negative reviews. Did these self-professed paragons of educational content review stop to consider no one could magically transform their existing e-Book materials to Apple's new platform overnight? Most likely, initial offerings would be based on the previous technologies in the form of PDFs.

    Rather than seemingly dismiss the Apple platform outright, it might have been better to give authors and/or texbook publishers a more reasonable amount of time for conversion, and increasing student-to-content interaction. It's not the platform, it's the content. And Apple doesn't create the content.
  • eliangonzaleliangonzal Posts: 374member
    Originally Posted by maccherry View Post

    This is sad. Tim Cook is f***** up.

    Apple should have had a full blown interactive text book, that was a mix of all the basic high school subjects, before launch. They had enough time. Time Cook better watch himself.

    Especially since you're gunning for his job?
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