iBooks Author — What Could Have Been

Artificially slowing the iPad’s pace.

Daniel Steinberg on passion behind teams at Apple:

iBooks Author could have been a trojan horse into the personal publishing business. It would have been classic Apple. Instead of small authors going to Amazon’s platform, they would have started with iBooks Author. Apple should have made it easy for them to push to Amazon as well. Why? Because these people wanted to publish on Amazon but they weren’t considering publishing with Apple. Thousands of authors would have come to Apple to create content and stayed with Apple after publishing content there.

John Gruber commenting on the same article:

iBooks Author was announced in January 2012, when the iPad was two years old. The iPad itself, seemingly, would be a fine device for creating books with iBooks Author. But iBooks Author remains Mac-only.

Let’s be clear, even now on the Mac iBooks Author is a heap of trash. The idea is amazing, the execution though is an app that is at best “painstaking” to use. Of all the books I buy on my iPad (and I buy all my books in the iBooks Store, for better or worse) I have not bought any in over a year that were iBooks formats.

I agree that this is a prime example of an app the iPad should have and a clear indicator that Apple is holding the iPad back, as Dr. Drang says:

The biggest problem for the iPad is Apple’s unwillingness to let it become its own thing.

Having said all of that, the way forward with digital publishing is clearly not the proprietary iBooks format. It’s ePub (unfortunately) and I can create that on my iPad in just a few taps. (In case you don’t believe me, here’s this post in ePub format, created with a few taps.)

I agree with what Dr. Drang, Gruber, and David Sparks have been saying about the iPad — we are all saying the same things (more or less) — for whatever reason it very much seems like Apple is holding the iPad back. Whether it is not porting apps they easily could, not letting it be self-sufficient, or shitty positioning, it all culminates with the fact that Apple is a roadblock to the success of the iPad.

Simply put: there’s no technical reason the iPad could not be on par with a Mac.

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