Multi-Touch iBooks, interactive books for the iPad, iBooks for iPad–What are we gonna call them?

May 16, 2012 by

It’s time to come up with a name for the multi-touch books for the iPad, the interactive books for the iPad sold in the iBooks store, iBooks 2, that have been made in iBooks Author that are vastly different from the Amazon Kindle books or the Barnes and Noble books for the Nook.  We wish Apple had branded them with a specific name–like Siri is to voice commands.

If you do a Google Keyword review of any of the terms used above to describe these books, something has to be done because the nomenclature isn’t working.  If fact, it’s down-right confusing.

What Makes A ‘Multi-Touch Book For the iPad’ Different?

We’re citing, “Multi-Touch books for the iPad” because that’s what Apple calls them on their site. Have you done a Google Keyword Search on that term lately?  There are 22 global searches for it monthly. In the “Local Monthly Searches” category, Google lists ”    –    “.  That’s not good.

These books are fundamentally different than any other book available on the market today, but the lack of a branded name that’s sticking, is making people who hear us describe them look at us like we’re talking another language, and apparently, we might as well be doing that.

Videos In Books

But when you show someone one of these “books” and they see the books have video in them, and 3-D animations, quizzes, photo galleries, and scrubable timelines, they go, “Wow!” We’ve even seen young 20 somethings jump back in amazement and church preachers raise an eyebrow in surprise.

The Al Gore Our Choice  book (Classified as an “Interactive App” on the iTunes store)  has nearly an hour’s worth of video in it.  Nothing on Kindle nor Nook even comes close.

Vook.com

This screen shot of the Vook.com comparison page really is an eye-opener:

Vook.com offers services to create eBooks that also can be published on the iPad and a multitude of other devices.  And because it can embed video, does that make it an interactive book?  Does that also make it a multi-touch book for the iPad?

Charts and Graphs

There are charts and graphs in these books created in iBooks Author, the software released by Apple in January.  And yet, they’re also different than say, the Al Gore book, which while it can be classified as an interactive book for the iPad, it was built in the iOS API and not in iBooks Author.  (In Gore’s book the charts and graphs are interactive.  In iBooks Author, at least for now, they’re static and can’t even be enlarged on the page.)

But it’s not like an e-Pub book either that was simply converted in Adobe’s InDesign program and exported out.  That kind of book can also be loaded up to iTunes and sold.  But it’s not going to be “multi-touch” capable.

Classification Needed Now

As someone who is about to release a major publication into this arena, it’s frustrating that there’s no clear-cut way to describe what we do.

But on the other hand, we always say in a campaign that it’s better to define yourself than have someone else do it for you.

It’s so early in the development of this field of publishing.  iBooks Author wasn’t even released until January 2012.  But it’s undeniable, to cut through the confusion of what this specific category is, Apple should have given it a specifically branded name and not left it as a descriptive, non-descriptive entity.  Maybe the thought was that all iBooks will eventually include video, 3-D animations, etc. but for now, they don’t.  So when someone tells you they know what an iBook is and then proceed to describe a publication exported from InDesign, it takes about five more questions to get to the fact you’re talking about two different things….

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