April 21, 2014 Last Updated 1:35 pm

TASCHEN releases both interactive and replica eBooks into the Apple iBooks Store

Each Monday, TNM looks at books – either a new book on the publishing industry, or new digital book releases. This week TNM looks at the digital books inside the iBooks Store from German publisher TASCHEN.

The Cologne-based publishing house of TASCHEN was established in 1980 by Benedikt Taschen who started at the early age of 18 by starting a store called TASCHEN COMICS.


Jazz Life – William Claxton

The publisher is known for its eclectic releases, everything from at photography and painting, to design, fashion and film. Not surprisingly, starting in late 2012 the publisher began publishing ebooks into the Apple iBooks Store. Today, TASCHEN has 20 eBooks available and in the Apple iBooks Store, as well as two stand-alone apps. Because of Apple’s bizarre rules, a company can not have a paid books account and an app account under the same name, so the eBooks can be found under TASCHEN, while the apps are under the account name of TASCHEN GmbH.

Several of the books can be found in the “Made for iBooks” section of Apple’s store as they use iBooks Author to create their digital editions. In general, these are superior to those that are essentially replicas of the print edition. The New York Times: 36 Hours. Europe is one of three eBooks TASCHEN has published into the iBooks Store from the series created for the NYT. Although about $10 cheaper than the print edition available on Amazon.com, a reader would probably prefer to have this in print. The advantage of the digital editions are that the phone numbers can be called from an iPhone, and that the links will bring up Google Maps.

In contrast, William Claxton. Jazzlife is a well-made eBook that uses iBooks Author to create a more interactive experience. But the real value here is that the photography of William Claxton can be beautifully presented on the iPad. Photography print books are expensive to produce. TASCHEN produced a deluxe edition that it charged $2,000 for. A collection of Claxton jazz photographs published by Twelvetrees Press is now out of print, though copies can occasionally be found on eBay where they go for $180-250. (I received a copy as a gift from my friend and photographer Dean Brierly, who has his own photography eBook available inside the iBooks Store.)

One of the more recently released eBooks is 100 All-Time Favorite Movies, also produced using iBooks Author. The books includes plenty of information on the 100 films they have choose, but goes to the logical next step of including movie trailers, audio, interactive images and galleries.


Linda McCartney – Life in Photographs

Most of these newer iBooks Author built books are designed in landscape. But an early release from TASCHEN, Linda McCartney – Life in Photographs was designed in portrait, though landscape photographs can be enlarged and seen in landscape. TASCHEN released three editions of the McCartney book (French and German, as well as English), and it remains one of their better sellers. (The book’s editor’s include Annie Leibovitz.)

One of the publisher’s more recent releases also has a jazz theme: Jazz Covers, which looks at LP covers from the 1940’s to the 1990’s. The release contains over 400 audio samples of the featured LP covers inside, as well as more interactive images and picture galleries.

Recently I spoke to the editor of a music magazine and discussed the future of digital publishing. I said that they were sitting on a treasure trove of archived material that would be perfect for eBooks. I also said that the record companies they deal with would be eager to supply audio files for any digital magazine or eBook they produced. The editor (and the publisher) were simply not interested. My last word of warning was that, though they might not be interested, other publishers would be. The eBooks of TASCHEN certainly prove me right.

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(NOTE: To have your book or eBook considered for Books Monday, please contact Talking New Media through the Contact page.)

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