First Adobe Digital Editions app for the iPad released into the Apple App Store
Apple kills off Made for iBooks category, eliminating special area used to promote interactive eBooks built using Apple’s own iBooks Author
Adobe today released an iPad version of Adobe Digital Editions, the company’s eReading solution. The app supports ePUB, including ePUB3, as well as PDF.
The app has the appearance of a utility, as Adobe has not exactly gone out of its way to load the app with an exciting demonstration of the app’s abilities. Inside the app once installed the reader will be presented with a plain jane guide to reading ePUBs and PDFs.
It is an odd way to show off its Digital Editions as the company is, at the same time, trying to promote its InDesign export to ePUB3 solution to creatives. To force the issue, it has stopped offering its Adobe Single Edition app to Creative Cloud members as a free benefit (starting in May).
Adobe is not alone in failing to show itself in the best light with its own eBook products. Apple’s own eBooks inside the iBooks Store rarely use its own iBooks Author and show the company has somewhat backwards when it comes to its own publishing efforts.
Adobe Digital Edition will come in handy when readers what to access eBooks from their local library.
Is Adobe working directly with Apple to encourage publishers to create their digital books for the iBooks Store rather than the App Store? If there is a deal it could lead Apple to kill off iBooks Author as an eBook publishing tool.
Apple recently eliminated the Made for iBooks category, and though books built using iBooks Author still sport a button saying Made for iBooks, there is no special features area for them any longer. This probably isn’t a big loss, as Apple stopped including all iBA books there, instead promoting only a dozen or so titles.
But really well produced eBooks (such as The Mozart Project), which used to be featured on the iBooks Store home page, or within the Made for iBooks section, no longer can expect much help from Apple.
I think there are two reasons for this. First, Apple sees growth for the iPhone, but not the iPad. “We are seeing more of our book sales starting to come from the phone,” Apple’s iBooks Director Keith Moerer told a recent conference.
Second, as big as iTunes sales has become, and it accounted for nearly $4.8 billion in revenue last quarter (this includes iTunes, the App Store, the Mac App Store, the iBooks Store, and services such as Apple Care), that still only amounts to 4.6 percent of total revenue for Apple last quarter. Take away apps, music, movies, and services, what does that leave for the share of total revenue for books, magazines and newspapers?
Recently Apple said its iBooks Store attracts one million users a week. An impressive number, to be sure. But imagine a print magazine living in a world where RR Donnelley’s revenue from printing accounted to less than 5 percent of its total revenue. It is always dangerous to work with a partner that you consider vital to your business, who doesn’t see your relationship as vital to their business.
What does this portend for iBooks Author? I’ve always worried about the software, it receives so few updates, and its last one did not do the one thing everyone wanted: add iPhone support.
But the last update in October added ePub support, as well as the ability to import Adobe InDesign IDML files. That was encouraging and seemingly a sign that iBA might be around awhile.