March 22, 2016 Last Updated 9:16 am

Monday was Recycling Day, or my response to whatever that Apple press event was

Guest column: Bradley Metrock, CEO of Score Publishing, and producer of the iBooks Author Conference, expresses disappointment with Apple’s continued deemphasis of digital publishing via iBA

So, I watched the Apple press event.  It was boring.  It was self-indulgent.  And it talked about recycling and the FBI for 20 minutes of a 60 minute presentation.

Let’s focus on the recycling spiel for a minute.

iBA-resource-370Apple does know a thing or two about recycling.  It recycled Steve Jobs himself, bringing him in as the ultimate reclamation project, and benefiting wildly as he kicked everybody’s ass in one of the most legendary corporate success stories in modern history.

But those days are gone.  Welcome to the aggressively blasé era of Tim Cook, who appears to be interested primarily in political optics rather than aggressively building value.  Would you be surprised to learn this isn’t actually the first time someone’s called him insane for his actions as CEO?

If you want to talk recycling, fine, whatever, let’s do it: however much money there is to be saved from people bringing their old phones and tablets into Apple stores and having Liam recycle them, far more is out there waiting to be saved by promoting Apple’s secret weapon they never ever talk about: iBooks Author.

Yep, “that” iBooks Author – you know, the one Steve Jobs championed before he died?  It’s still here.  And Apple has even updated it quite a bit over the last year or so.

But they’d rather put together and show off a 5 minute video about Liam, than talk to you about one of their most important products in iBooks Author, despite the fact iBooks Author is much more capable of positive triple-bottom-line outcomes.

So how does iBooks Author do more to help the environment than Liam?

  • iBooks Author creates digital textbooks, instead of printed ones.
  • iBooks Author creates digital program guides for conferences and events, instead of printed ones.
  • iBooks Author creates digital training manuals for larger organizations (like Southwest Airlines, keynoting this year’s iBooks Author Conference), instead of printed ones.
  • iBooks Author creates digital marketing brochures for smaller organizations, instead of printed ones.

iBooks Author creates awesome digital books of all kinds…instead of printed ones.
It can save hundreds of thousands of trees a year across the world, empowering the betterment of education in our country and many others desperate for it.

Take that, Liam.

Phil Schiller even mentioned the new iPad’s True Tone Display, which in conjunction with Night Shift, shows Apple is all-of-a-sudden deadly serious about screen readability.  Given that this was a major reason why the Kindle dominated the iPad years ago, you’d think Apple would take the opportunity to segue into a renewed effort to corner the digital book market.

But there was no such connecting-of-dots in Monday’s recycled, very-very-tired press event.

Metrock-300This is a company that’s happy to meander down the road Steve Jobs paved, cashing checks along the way and waiting for a calamity that might force them to change.

We got more mentions of yak habitats at this press event than we got mentions of iBooks Author, despite the fact one of these things is going to help the world a whole lot more than the other.

All we can hope for is that we’re not recycling this guest column a year from now, or the feelings of resignation that company leadership has profoundly lost its way.

Bradley Metrock is CEO of Score Publishing, a digital media company based in Nashville, Tennessee, and executive producer of both the iBooks Author Conference and Hype Conference.

  • Mackay Bell 7 months ago

    Well, I agree that iBooks Author isn’t being promoted and nurtured the way it should be, but I put the blame on the DOJ lawsuit which basically told Apple that it better not try to really compete against Amazon. Apple fought it to the Supreme Court and just lost. So I don’t think it’s a big surprise that they didn’t want to highlight that loss, or that they have been holding back waiting for it to be resolved.

    My hope is that now that it is settled, even though Apple lost, they can get serious about enhanced ebooks. My fear is that losing might have killed their enthusiasm for many years to come.

    Ultimately, it will be up to artists to embrace the tool or not. Apple can only do so much.