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Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.
[Mahatma Gandhi]

I’ve been following various news blurbs and discussions about the iBooks Author software release. The main dissenting voices have discussed the Apple license stipulation that the books produced in iBooks Author are only to be sold in the iBook store (or something to that effect). These discussions display varying degrees of alarm. Other that that, I’ve read little else against Apple’s new, free software. Here are a few of my thoughts:

1. I was delighted when I could trade my bottle of rubber cement for a waxing machine back when I pasted up art boards for print production. When I saw how clean a Linotronic printed out a ruled line, I never again used a ruling pen. So I’m certainly going to give iBooks Author a try. My publishing production output is too small to use Adobe© Digital Publishing Suite in order to get a book prepared for the iBook store in the form I imagined.

My one self-imposed rule has always been, only move to a new technology if it meets or improves upon the industry standards. If I can produce a nicely designed, bug-free, multimedia, interactive eBook to sell in the iBook store with iBooks Author without having to stand on my head and hold my mouth right, then I’ll do it. Then I’ll lay out the book in other ways to sell in other places which takes me to my next point…

2. Books used to be produced only in hard cover. Then they went into two versions, hard cover and paperback. Now books are often published in multiple versions—hard cover, paperback, PDF format, ePub, Kindle format, etc. I just assume I’ll be producing books in multiple formats. This often requires specialized layouts, and tweaking electronic files differently depending upon where the book will be sold. I bend one way to fix an eBook to sell on Amazon, and another way to sell on Barnes & Noble. For images, print requires a higher resolution than other publishing routes. I try to do whatever sells a good quality book.

3. InDesign will continue to be my layout application of choice I am sure (I used to say that about Quark XPress). However, I can already see how I can use the assets (photos, text, illustrations, etc.) that I use in an InDesign layout to assemble an iBook Author book.

The bottom line? I’ll keep my eye on my goal and stay flexible in considering solutions to production issues.