October 22, 2013 Last Updated 2:29 pm

Lack of iBooks Author update will have publishers wondering about the future of the platform

I usually don’t panic when I don’t see a particular Apple software app updated after a launch event. With so many apps and hardware products to preview, a software product like iBooks Author probably doesn’t merit stage time.

But there have been very, very few rumors about a refresh for the eBook publishing solution iBooks Author, and all attempts to get Apple to talk about the program have been ignored – also not unusual as getting Apple to acknowledge anyone other than Walt Mossberg is also par for the course.

iBooks-screen-lgIt has been exactly one calendar year since Apple introduced version 2.0 of iBooks Author. The update, issued on October 23, 2012, right after that year’s iPad event, brought portrait-only books to the program, as well as embedded custom fonts.

Since October 23, 2012 there have been no updates to the program. None. Not even a tweak here or there.

As a result, the program has been compared to iWeb, Apple’s failed attempt to bring web design to the masses (it turned out that creating websites was more complicated than simply designing a web page). But Apple continues to make self-publishing pretty easy for authors, and interactive textbooks was supposed to be a big Apple initiative. What happened?

Well, the answer may still be “nothing” – Apple could dump an update tonight, tomorrow, next week.

But I’m beginning to feel that this is less likely.

iBooks-screen-lgIf Apple has decided to abandon iBooks Author then there is really no gap between the Apple platform and Amazon’s. That would make Amazon’s platform the develop-first option every time for eBooks (just as iOS is for apps). It already is where most books are sold –– except in the area of interactive textbooks and interactive books from small publishers (like many newspapers and magazines that have entered the space).

I won’t feel stupid if Apple unveils a new version of it eBook publishing software, after all, it has been Apple that has failed to properly communicate its plans. I was even hoping to include a chapter on the program in my soon-to-be-published eBook. But when Apple didn’t seem to care about the talking about the program I wondered why I should either.

I put the odds of Apple having lost interest in its eBooks program at about 50-50. Sometimes you just have to take Apple at its word, or in this case, its silence.

  • Angela Snyder 4 years ago

    Looks like they rolled out a tiny little update (2.1) that really didn’t include more than a small bug fix. Shame. I agree with you. I think it might be on its way out the door. Too bad! I work for a small publisher and we don’t have the resources to build a web-based ebook operation of our own that could include interactivity. I had high hopes.

  • Geordie 4 years ago

    iBooks wasn’t updated either – wouldn’t expect an update to author without an update to iBooks itself. Call me naive but I’m currently happy with the author software – what ain’t broke etc. What were you really hoping for in a major update, and what would be so bad if the software stays as it is for another 6-12 months?

  • D.B. Hebbard 4 years ago

    Got to keep up, Geordie. iBooks Author has had two updates since this post appeared, and iBooks one update. But I’m still looking for iPhone support at a bare minimum.

  • Geordie 4 years ago

    Say no more

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