Apple, with its new “epub” export feature in word processing software Pages, just sent a shot across Amazon’s bow. Y’all may have heard, there’s a bit of a bottleneck for publishers getting their titles into the Ibookstore. I’m still in the 30s, with more “pending.”
Short version of why that’s happened is, well, Apple’s only had two months working with smaller presses. Things go wrong. Longer version ties into history: everybody who launches, Amazon on down, has problems integrating titles.
Of course, the fact that Apple was relying on a supposed standard (Epub), that… works in theory but not practice, even if valid, didn’t help matters. There are certain parallels with the history of Mobipocket, another firm that initially relied on “standard inputs” when it launched, before loosening up a bit and taking over the world.
With Pages, you’ve got Apple making its own tools for Epub export that I suspect will fly in the Ibookstore, alongside Apple making certain improvements in Producer (NDA), and would-be Apple publishers no longer dependent on half-assed Adobe software or 3rd-party integrators.
This will get interesting.
/If it matters, sales of my 30-odd books in the Apple store are already equal to sales of around 500 books in the Kindle store a year ago, and the growth is fast. Ya might call it unprecedented. Though of course, I don’t expect all, or even a third, of Olympia will be there.
//Hurray for a return to side-loading and DIY mobile interfaces.