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Penguin Books bets big on iPad interactive content

post #1 of 73
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Penguin Books demonstrated of a series of interactive ebook titles the company is preparing for Apple's iBook Store for iPad, in a presentation looking at how the company plans to accommodate a transition to digital ebooks.

According to a report by PaidContent UK, the London-based publishing company expects ebooks to grow from 4% of its sales to 10% next year, thanks in large part to the market Apple is creating with the iPad.

John Makinson, the company's chief executive, said "the iPad represents the first real opportunity to create a paid distribution model that will be attractive to consumers."

Thinking outside the book

Thinking beyond the simple ability to just view the text of conventional books electronically as the Amazon Kindle does, Makinson said, "We will be embedding and streaming audio, video and gaming into everything we do. This will present us and the platform owners with technology challenges.

"The .epub format, which is the standard for ebooks at the present, is designed to support traditional narrative text, but not this cool stuff that were now talking about. So for the time being at least well be creating a lot of our digital content as applications, to sell on app stores in HTML, rather than as ebooks.

"The definition of the book itself is up for grabs. We dont know understand at the moment what the consumer is prepared to pay for [] We will only find answers to these questions by trial and error.



Apple's iBook Store vs the traditional book store

Asked whether his company was chafing at Apple's iTunes business model that takes a 30% cut of all sales, Makinson said that this is actually better for publishers than the existing agency model for books, where retailers take 50% of sales.

"There is an argument," Makinson said, "for saying Apple needs the content; that they should be paying us for our content." That argument hasnt worked however.

"We'll have to become more innovative and take some risks," Makinson said. "We'll need above all to listen to our readers, to understand what they want and what they'll pay for. But if we can do all that, which is a big task, I agree, we'll have a great and varying digital business."

post #2 of 73
hopefully o'reilly gets their "ipad recovery techniques" in e-book format so i can ... oh, wait ...
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post #3 of 73
Makinson sounds relatively open-minded and willing to embrace new technologies, as contrasted to the image of some media companies who have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the scary future.
post #4 of 73
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Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Makinson sounds relatively open-minded and willing to embrace new technologies, as contrasted to the image of some media companies who have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the scary future.

He definitely gets it.

I wonder if Apple will release a proper format for interactive material using the iTunes LP and iTunes Extra forma. While all the video and audio can be encrypted I'd think that content owners would like the other data encrypted, too.
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post #5 of 73
-Penguin Books demonstrated of a series of interactive ebook titles-


OH MY!!! Face it folks...THINGS ARE NEVER GONNA BE THE SAME...EVER AGAIN!!!!

This beats the toaster by a universe!

Thanks Steve. This may be the turning point for society.

Interactive, color and sound books for children, adults, doctors and repairmen.
If it's broke, anyone can fix it now.

How about danish furniture assembly! You won't have to take it apart and reassemble
the bookshelves anymore, because you can see it being put together on the iPad and you won't get part A mixed up with part D!!!
post #6 of 73
Is the iPad a game changer ... that seems to be what everyone is arguing about. At its core its not incredibly unique as far as technology or software goes (more evolutionary than revolutionary). However, the potential of the iPad given Apple's public reputation for innovation, and yes ... its closed ecosystem demonstrate how it can excell where other have failed.

I have been still debating whether or not I would buy an iPad, but after watching that video, and seeing what Penguin is preparing for the iPad there is no way I wouldn't buy one now. I'm convinced ...
post #7 of 73
Nah people want Windows 7 on a laptop that weighs 4lbs with no keyboard! hahaha sorry I couldn't resist
post #8 of 73
That is very impressive. Arguably it is the birth of a new medium, because that is not really a 'book', nor is it a video. It must be quite an exciting creative challenge for the people developing in this format, a whole new sea of possibility to swim around in. Here is another example, in this case the application of this technology in a commercial situation, although whether the device is an iPad or not is not certain; http://distorted-loop.com/2010/01/23/4156/

The more glimpses we get of this, the more convinced I become that this is the breaking crest of a new wave, that computers have matured to the point where they are no longer 'computers' in the contemporary sense of the word, but are utility devices that will become ubiquitous in a myriad of different applied uses across homes and workplaces.
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post #9 of 73
Penguins "gets it", and seems to be willing to put in the effort to put out great content and the effort to learn how to monetize their digital offerings.

This is huge news for the iPad.

I'm convinced about the iPad. Many don't seem to be.

I believe they'll see that the iPad is a "sleeper" and down the road they'll look back and realize just how revolutionary, and not evolutionary, it is. ("They" meaning the people who aren't convinced the iPad is anything special.)

Greg
post #10 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post

Nah people want Windows 7 on a laptop that weighs 4lbs with no keyboard! hahaha sorry I couldn't resist

I thought they wanted Windows 7 on a tablet that weighed no lbs and had a choice of 4 keyboards.

But hey, what do I KNOW, I DON'T DO Windows

or is that - iDo multithingy and some otherFthingy together?
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post #11 of 73
Just make these books be inside the iBooks app and make the pages turn like the other ones.
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post #12 of 73
Wow!

On second thought, WOW!!!!
post #13 of 73
Maybe I'm too old, but I hate multimedia "books". You convert information from something that you can control the pace of instruction to a lowest-common denominator product. Case in point, I bought an 8-DVD training series to run at lunch for the office. Expected 16 hours of content or less that would adequately cover the material. Instead, it is nearly 50 hours of disorganized ramblings, much in line with unnecessary videos on the web.

Hope it isn't a return to the "Multimedia PC" that the CD attempted and failed, as The Register points out.
post #14 of 73
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Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post

Nah people want Windows 7 on a laptop that weighs 4lbs with no keyboard! hahaha sorry I couldn't resist

Ahahahahah!!!

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post #15 of 73
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Originally Posted by giosaccone View Post

Ahahahahah!!!

Wow. You signed on to say this as your first post!?

Welcome to AI.
post #16 of 73
Makinson does get it. At least this one publisher has the guts to embrace and explore the possibilities. Kudos to him.
post #17 of 73
It's going to be even bigger and better than I thought.
post #18 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaarrrgggh View Post

Hope it isn't a return to the "Multimedia PC" that the CD attempted and failed, as The Register points out.

Good point. Watching this reminded me of an Encarta demo from the early 90s. People kept saying "it's going to change the way children learn and knowledge is shared!" Well not so much. I realize the technology is different and the internet makes updates easier and not having to drag a class of kids to a computer lab isl going to make adopting easier, but there is still going to be a lot of barriers to overcome before technology replaces print.

But man knowing my kids aren't going to have to lug around backpacks full of text books...
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post #19 of 73
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Originally Posted by Dogcow View Post

Good point. Watching this reminded me of an Encarta demo from the early 90s. People kept saying "it's going to change the way children learn and knowledge is shared!" Well not so much. I realize the technology is different and the internet makes updates easier and not having to drag a class of kids to a computer lab isl going to make adopting easier, but there is still going to be a lot of barriers to overcome before technology replaces print.

You are right, but printed encyclopedias in particular are well and truly obsolete, thanks in small (very small) part to encarta.
post #20 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Makinson sounds relatively open-minded and willing to embrace new technologies, as contrasted to the image of some media companies who have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the scary future.

That's because it *is* a good deal for the publishers, despite all that crap from a week or so ago when the publishers were arguing they'd have to be almost the same price as real books and everyone was agreeing with them.

Productions costs are ridiculously low, distribution is free, advertising is included, and the publishers get a much larger cut anyway.

For a publisher that already has paper versions of books they've been producing for many years, eBook versions *should* be a no brainer, (and they should be a lot cheaper than the paper one's as well). Capitalism being what it is they probably won't be, but there is nothing stopping them from being so.
post #21 of 73
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Penguin Books demonstrated of a series of interactive ebook titles ...

It's worth noting that they didn't demo any "interactive titles" at all here.

The video shows obvious *mockups* of *possible* ways in which these as yet *hypothetical* eBooks *might* be done.

It was just a keynote presentation of what they are thinking of doing not a demo of actual product.
post #22 of 73
This is a remarkable shift for books and computers in general. I'm getting an iPad but probably in a few generations, like when USB3 comes out and the more storage is added. I'm anticipating the iPad to be huge after its first year in the market when the potential in the iPad store starts knocking my socks off every day...
post #23 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Makinson sounds relatively open-minded and willing to embrace new technologies, as contrasted to the image of some media companies who have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the scary future.

Great post. Some very exciting things to come.
post #24 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

Makinson sounds relatively open-minded and willing to embrace new technologies, as contrasted to the image of some media companies who have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the scary future.

I know that this is the perception of people. However, having worked in educational publishing as a designer for a service provider to the major educational publishers I can say definitively that they have been looking into digital content and the delivery of it for educational publishing since at least 2002. And since that time they have been working on incorporating the technologies needed for this into their workflow so that they will be ready for the transition, and when they had a business model that they could make money with.

Back in 2002, at the request of our clients, we did a "pilot" project for dual publishing of a science book for web and print delivery. We played around with adding flash content to the online version and looked into XML tagging of the content. There were some major hurdles we came up with, a few of them were:
  1. Screen size, at the time limited to 800 x 600
  2. XML integration into the print production workflow to repurpose the material easily.
  3. 508 compliance, this added about 30% to the cost of editorail work alone.
Today the XML tools are a lot better than they were then, and the editorial/design have imported XML workflows built into them. They will probably be sending a lot of the XML conversion work to India as well which will help to keep the costs down (most of the production work on textbooks today is done in India anyway). Average screen sizes are much larger now as well.

508 compliance could be an issue still, you don't have short and long descriptions to write for the images, tabbing order,or screen readers to worry about with a printed book. However the browser technology is a lot better today, and I would imagine the screen readers have improved as well, so it may not be as much of an issue today as it was in 2002.

I think that one of the last major hurdles to overcome today will be the business model, how will you make money off of it, especially when most people think it should be as low as 1/4 the cost of the printed book because you aren't printing it.
post #25 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogcow View Post

Good point. Watching this reminded me of an Encarta demo from the early 90s. People kept saying "it's going to change the way children learn and knowledge is shared!" Well not so much. I realize the technology is different and the internet makes updates easier and not having to drag a class of kids to a computer lab isl going to make adopting easier, but there is still going to be a lot of barriers to overcome before technology replaces print.

But man knowing my kids aren't going to have to lug around backpacks full of text books...

I don't think books are going to disappear. Their prevalence will reduce certainly, but I think people will still be buying and reading books in fifty years time. As I mention earlier, I see this as the birth of an entirely new medium, that will cannibalise (to use that Mac cliché) book sales certainly, but there will still be reasons for the old medium to survive - where there is no power source for example, let alone the high device cost of entering this new era. The advent of cinema reduced but did not destroy theatre, TV and then video reduced but did not destroy film, and even radio, after years of decline, has stabilised and found its niche.
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post #26 of 73
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Originally Posted by rnp1 View Post

-Penguin Books demonstrated of a series of interactive ebook titles-


OH MY!!! Face it folks...THINGS ARE NEVER GONNA BE THE SAME...EVER AGAIN!!!!

This beats the toaster by a universe!

Thanks Steve. This may be the turning point for society.

Interactive, color and sound books for children, adults, doctors and repairmen.
If it's broke, anyone can fix it now.

How about danish furniture assembly! You won't have to take it apart and reassemble
the bookshelves anymore, because you can see it being put together on the iPad and you won't get part A mixed up with part D!!!

My thoughts exactly (well, except for the Danish furniture part; didn't think of that). It's finally beginning to dawn on people why Steve Jobs' comment that this is the greatest thing he's ever done might be close to the truth. The iPad's potential is so obvious to those of us who get it. It's also equally obvious why the iPhone OS is ideal for this device. The 4:3 dimensions and the extra wide bezel will also prove to be smart choices. Why can't the rest of the world get it?
post #27 of 73
When will AI switch out of FLASH to view content? Can't view this with my iPhone. \
post #28 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

He definitely gets it.

I wonder if Apple will release a proper format for interactive material using the iTunes LP and iTunes Extra forma. While all the video and audio can be encrypted I'd think that content owners would like the other data encrypted, too.

Yes, the situation is begging for an Apple SDK and also perhaps an export option in iLife apps for a new format for this. Imagine an app as powerful and as easy to use such as iWeb or Pages that delivered rich, interactive content!

This isn't just about the major publishers either, it's also about you and me being able to create and distribute content one day just like the apps store opened up application development to the masses.
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post #29 of 73
There was a series of CD books series called Living Books by Broderbund that I bought for my kids when they were in elementary school. These were a series of interactive books. Arthur and The Tortoise and the Hare were just a delight for my kids.

Just goes to show that there is more to the iPad books than the Kindle, you just need the imagination and foresight to think differently. I stated in earlier forums on the topic of the Kindle vs the iPad, the iPad is more than a reader. There is room for the iPad in education with interactive text books and linking to websites.

If the Kindle was lower priced, I would be interested in a purchase since I would use it to store my reference books for easy access.

Presently, I am not looking to buy the iPad since most of what I do can be done with my MBP.
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post #30 of 73
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Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

It's worth noting that they didn't demo any "interactive titles" at all here.

The video shows obvious *mockups* of *possible* ways in which these as yet *hypothetical* eBooks *might* be done.

It was just a keynote presentation of what they are thinking of doing not a demo of actual product.

And how great that they are 'thinking' unlike so many others. The way they demo the 'thinking' is of no importance at all at this stage.
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post #31 of 73
This is all great and all... But how much more will these interactive eBooks costs???

My fear is that these eBooks will be price almost the same as the traditional title and offer a little more than the extra content on DVDs.
post #32 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post

Nah people want Windows 7 on a laptop that weighs 4lbs with no keyboard! hahaha sorry I couldn't resist

You should realize that people might want something different than a laptop running either Windows or Snow Leopard. Learn to think differently and outside the box and you might discover that laptops will be replaced with something smaller, lighter and more powerful and no key board, its only a matter of time.
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post #33 of 73
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Originally Posted by AdamIIGS View Post

Nah people want Windows 7 on a laptop that weighs 4lbs with no keyboard! hahaha sorry I couldn't resist

I may be wring but many companies are opening app stores and Apple may initially get the sales going but could face competion with other slate, pad readers once it starts to take off.

We wont know until the real numbers show up plus you have devices not out yet that could offer flash, exchange and a stylus fir enterprise and education. This is ine time we will have to sit back and watch what happens.
post #34 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by allblue View Post

I don't think books are going to disappear. Their prevalence will reduce certainly, but I think people will still be buying and reading books in fifty years time. As I mention earlier, I see this as the birth of an entirely new medium, that will cannibalise (to use that Mac cliché) book sales certainly, but there will still be reasons for the old medium to survive - where there is no power source for example, let alone the high device cost of entering this new era. The advent of cinema reduced but did not destroy theatre, TV and then video reduced but did not destroy film, and even radio, after years of decline, has stabilised and found its niche.

I concur.
post #35 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by slapppy View Post

When will AI switch out of FLASH to view content? Can't view this with my iPhone. \

It is a bit ironic that videos of potential iPad uses cannot be viewed on an iPhone (and, by extension, the iPad).
post #36 of 73
Penguin is one of my favorite publishers. They make quality books. I'm glad to read the company is embracing a new technology wholeheartedly.
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post #37 of 73
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Originally Posted by Dogcow View Post

Good point. Watching this reminded me of an Encarta demo from the early 90s. People kept saying "it's going to change the way children learn and knowledge is shared!" Well not so much. ...

You are absolutely right. This is one of the most common misconceptions there is about how technology relates to education, but trying to get people to stop believing this nonsense is harder than getting people to stop believing in religion or that ghosts don't exist.

I have worked in Education technology for over ten years and there is a very persistent perception amongst educators that "more computers = better learning." Education is a major driver of Apple's sales and most educational technology places buy every single new piece of tech that comes out. Every single time they are gushing about how this is going to "change the way children learn." The same statement was made about everything from HyperCard to iMovie and it's 100% false in every case.

What people generally forget is that paper and pencils are also "education technology," and we have always been using the latest technology in education. The ways in which the new technology is better than the old are really *practical* ways. In this case there won't be heavy books. In the 20's and 30s with the widespread use of paper and pencils, we got rid of those old messy chalk slates. These are just practical advantages, the same ones in fact that non-educational sectors see by using the same technology.

The seemingly unshakeable idea that if you fill a classroom full of technology and computers "kids will learn better" or somehow that learning will be different, faster, or any of that sort of thing is a complete myth. "Learning" has to do with the process that happens between the teacher and the student, the technology used, whether it's pens, books, or computers is mostly irrelevant.

Pythagoras taught some of the most advanced concepts known with a stick and a bit of sand to draw in.
post #38 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnp1 View Post

Interactive, color and sound books for children, adults, doctors and repairmen. If it's broke, anyone can fix it now.

How about danish furniture assembly! You won't have to take it apart and reassemble
the bookshelves anymore, because you can see it being put together on the iPad and you won't get part A mixed up with part D!!!

The iPad needs to include some good voices.

So it can say things like, "Not that part, dummy. It's that one over there."
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post #39 of 73
Crap! Looking at the above comments, the lines on launch days 1 and 2* look to be getting longer and longer.

*Launch day 1 is for the wifi version. Launch day 2 is for the 3G version.
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post #40 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Wow. You signed on to say this as your first post!?

Welcome to AI.

Hey he's got good taste!

I showed this video to one of my "it's a big iphone" friends and he actually came away impressed, which was funny because this shows so little of the actual use. (or maybe he's just a Spot fan!)
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