What Apple Didn’t Say About Changes From iBooks Author Version 1 Series

Dec 5, 2012 by

What Apple Didn’t Tell Us About Changes From iBooks Author Version 1 Series

We published our book for iPad 21012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya by Dr. Mark Van Stone on Aug. 23, 2012 using the 1.0 version series of iBooks Author. The book cleared through Apple’s approval process in a day or two and was up on the iBookstore without us even realizing it.

The book has been selling well; not as well as we hoped, but it’s been selling. As we get closer to Dec. 21, 2012, interest has been picking up and we’ did a TV interview here in Dallas Tuesday that’s slated to run soon.

But there’s been a problem we didn’t know about until after the October 23, 2012 update to iOS 6, iBooks 3, iBooks Author 2.0 and iTunes Producer 2.8. At least three customers have bought our book and reported not being able to actually open it once it’s on their iPad. While that number is small, in our opinion, that’s three too many.

What is more troubling is that we received no notification from Apple, iTunes Support, iBookstore Support, meaning the problem could have been with the individual users. We just don’t know. When we asked iTunes Store Support why they gave refunds instead of letting us know about the problem, their answer was that they simply don’t discuss why they issue refunds.  Not helpful.

Trying To Get To The Problems Caused By iBooks Author 2.0

So as we publish this piece, all we know is that three customers said once they downloaded version 1.0 of our book for iPad, they couldn’t open it. The bar across the icon of the book was black, which tends to indicate there’s a problem.

When we opened our .iba file made from the version 1.0 series (It was last opened on Aug. 23, 2012)  in version 2.0 on Nov. 24, 2012, we immediately got a flag warning from the software saying that the image on page 156 was too large. Thumbing through the book also showed that iBooks Author 2.0 had messed up multiple widgets we’d laid out perfectly in version 1.0.  They were compressed into a tiny size and were sitting at the left sides of pages. Several of them we’d laid out to encompass an entire page. Version 2.0 messed all that up and required us to repaginate several places in the book.

The first flagged warning is pictured below:

Warning Screen in iBooks Author 2.0

Warning Screen in iBooks Author 2.0

It never occurred to us that we might need to open up an old version of the book made with an earlier version of the software to ensure that the new version didn’t mess it up. That’s not how software updates are supposed to work! And certainly, one wouldn’t expect that something that had passed muster in an earlier version suddenly was being flagged as a problem. But that’s what happened.

So up popped that first screen warning asking if we wanted to see the problems it’d found.

So, I clicked yes and got this next screen:

Issues with Photo on Page 156

Issues with Photo on Page 156. This dialogue box appeared and said an image that worked fine up until Oct. 23, 2012, was no longer any good in our book for iPad.

To fix the photo problem meant taking the original, running it through Photoshop, shrinking it, and then reloading the page. Nothing difficult there, but if there is anything causing a problem with people downloading the book and it opening now in iOS 6, it’d seem this was it.

But wait. Version 2.0 caused even more disruptions inside the original product.

Widgets All Messed Up

Things got even wonkier after that. There were multiple widgets in the book that got totally screwed up by iBooks Author version 2.0. As you can see, some of them got zapped in size and then moved to the top left portion of a page, completely affecting the pagination within a chapter.

Widgets From iBooks Author 1.0 Are All Messed Up In Version 2.0

Widgets From iBooks Author 1.0 Are All Messed Up In Version 2.0

 

To fix everything back required going through all 179 pages of the book and ensuring that the pagination wasn’t messed up.

There were numerous cases where it was.

Pagination From iBooks Author Version 1.0 All Messed Up in Version 2.0

Pagination From iBooks Author Version 1.0 All Messed Up in Version 2.0

Last Saturday night a week ago, we tried to save these changes so that we could quickly upload the book back to the Apple servers and have the issue resolved.

Then came about the whole issue of the destination drive was full that was written about last week.

Software Updates On Our Mac

It is important to note here that we keep our MacBook Pro’s software up-t0-date. We updated to Mountain Lion the day it came out. We updated iBooks Author as soon as Apple released it on Oct. 23, 2012.  We updated to iBooks 3 on an iPad 3 on Oct. 23. We updated to iTunes Producer, which is used to send books for iPad to Apple’s servers as soon as we saw it was available. So you can imagine how we felt when we started getting responses from the truly good people we’ve been working with for three months off and on now at iBookstore Support suggesting that our uploading problems might be coming because we HAD NOT updated the software. No, our problems were happening because we HAD.

iBookstore Support

So after the problem with the destination drive, we reported the problem to the iBookstore Support team.

We kept also trying to get our book to upload once we got past the destination drive issue.  And we soon had more problems, which will be discussed in the next post.

For now, the book has been uploaded to Apple and it has been approved. But to say this hasn’t been quite upsetting and frustrating would be a great untruth.

Suggestion To Publishers

We strongly recommend that if you have a book on the iBookstore right now that was made in version 1.0 of iBooks Author that you open it up in version 2.0 and see what kinds of bugs might pop up.  Then we also suggest you do an upload of a new version to the iBookstore. You can imagine the pain in our hearts the past week and a half trying to get our book reloaded to the iBookstore when it’s about the 2012 Maya prophecy and we’re down to 17 days away. This could not have come at a worse time for us. But thankfully, we did get some great one-on-one support from our many friends at Apple to help get this resolved. It was just a real nail bitter there for a spell…..

 

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iBooks Author Issues–Verify your destination disk isn’t full

Nov 25, 2012 by

iBooks Author Issues For Uploading A Book for iPad–Verify Your Destination Disk Isn’t Full

It has been a struggle the past few hours to address several iBooks Author issues while trying to upload a new version of a book made in the pre-Oct. 23, 2012 versions of the software.

The problems began with two reports from customers who bought Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya on the iBookstore. They say they downloaded the book and it won’t open.  Having a copy from the 1.0-series of iBooks Author, knowing it is working fine on my iPad, and knowing how Apple works out the bugs in software before releasing an update, I was puzzled by this and begun to investigate.  As a result, a fresh copy has been uploaded to Apple, but it has been a multi-hour process and since it’s a weekend, iBooks Support is closed.

What I Had To Do

When I opened our book, which I’d not had the .iba file open since Oct. 8, 15 days before the release of version 2.0, it first alerted me that there was a photo on page 156 that was too big. It had worked from in version series 1.0-etc.  Nonetheless, it was now being flagged as a problem, and so I loaded the photo into Photoshop, resized it, saved it and then loaded it into the.iba file, while also extracting the older, bigger conflicting photo.

I also fixed two typos we’ve found and then began to save the book for exporting and reloading to the iBookstore via iTunes Producer. I then saved the file and exported it a couple of times as a .iBooks file.  No problem. I then began the process of “Publishing” the file to send it to Apple.  Here’s where the troubles began.

This Became A Major Drama

First of all, apparently via the iBooks Author autosave function on my Mac, (loaded on a hard drive that has some 300-plus Gig of memory left on it), began to display the following message:

Verify your destination disk isn't full and that you have permission to write to it

“Verify your destination disk isn’t full and that you have permission to write to it” while loading a book for iPad to Apple.

“Verify your destination disk isn’t full and that you have permission to write to it”  kept displaying. I took those exact terms and did a search and there is pretty much NOTHING in Google about this.  NOTHING.  Great. It was 11 p.m. at night on a Saturday and I was stressing to get this done and off to bed.

After a little more digging I learned that if you go to the “Title Bar” of an open file on a Mac, a little triangular box will appear and you can do a drop down.  That produced this box:

Title Bar Dropdown Menu in iBooks Author for Versions and Autosave

This is the Title Bar Dropdown Menu in iBooks Author for Versions and Autosave. After getting the dialogue box above, I then proceeded to “Browse All Versions…”

From there, I chose the “Browse All Versions …” link that then took me to this amazing looking screen. The problem was, none of the earlier versions on my machine were ones that I could open. I don’t know if they’d been purged or if there is still some other issue remaining.

 

Browse All Versions ... Screen on MacBook Pro Using iBooks Author

Browse All Versions … Screen on MacBook Pro Using iBooks Author

 

The next thing I tried, since I couldn’t pull up an earlier version, was the “Move To…” option, which allowed me to move the autosaving and to actually SAVE the .iba file again.

Move To ... Screen in iBooks Author

Move To … Screen in iBooks Author

Now that that hurdle had been overcome, I thought I was ready to load the book once again to the iBookstore. It’s been on sale on the iBookstore since Aug. 23. We’ve had a good run of sales.  It’s an established product.  But when I chose to “Publish” this newer version, Lord have mercy…. Over I went to iTunes Producer 2.8 and that’s another story to tell….

More about that in the next post.

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Books For iPad–The Ongoing Training & Maintenance Manual Revolution

Nov 21, 2012 by

Books For iPad–The Ongoing Training & Maintenance Manual Revolution

Books for iPad now are being used for training purposes as well as in the field for things like aircraft and automobile maintenance, and even things like cookbooks.

English: An image of an iPad 2.

English: An image of an iPad 2. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because images, scrubbers/interactive images, 3D animations and even videos can be embedded in a book for iPad, they can be used in the field by technicians and practitioners.

Which would you rather haul around, a 3-inch binder full of technical manuals or an iPad that has the same and regularly updated information with photos and videos?

There exists great potential for books for iPad in corporate training and even maintenance manuals. Picture yourself as an aircraft mechanic working on a jet engine and instead of hauling around a 3-inch binder written by the manufacturer a couple of years ago, you now can have an updated version on your iPad with you all the time and use it whenever it is needed with far less hassle and inconvenience.

Training and maintenance materials in a book for iPad can save time, costs and maybe even lives.

 Do You Have Materials Ready To Process?

We are a publisher of books for iPad located in Dallas, Texas, USA and we are ready to work with your company to develop the right materials to help make your training and maintenance manuals and materials the most up-to-date and innovatively successful tools you can provide your employees. Just complete the manuscript submission process above or give us a call today at 972-863-8784 and let’s talk about how to move your company forward.

 

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Maya Myth Moment–The Aztec Calendar Stone Is Not The Maya Calendar

Nov 21, 2012 by

Over on our special project site, The Wonders Expedition, we’ve begun the series–Maya Myth Moment–that we’ve developed in conjunction with our author, Dr. Mark Van Stone, one of the most renowned Maya Scholars in the world, to do a daily debunking of Maya Myth from Nov. 21 thru Dec. 21, 2012.

The Maya Myth Moment

The Maya Myth Moment from TheWondersExpedition.com is a daily update from Nov. 21 – Dec. 21, 2012 designed to debunk much of the nonsense circulating about the ancient Maya.

Dr. Van Stone has worked with us throughout the year 2012 to produce his first book for iPad2012: Science and Prophecy of the Ancient Maya.

We invite you to wormhole on over to The Wonders Expedition and check out our first video on the Aztec Calendar Stone. While you’re there, also sign up to receive the daily updates we’re going to send out for the Maya Myth Moment.

It’s going to be a good and educational series, and was designed to help knock down some of the major nonsense that’s going to get stirred up in the 30 days remaining before Dec. 21, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Thanksgiving Wishes

Nov 20, 2012 by

My Thanksgiving Wishes

“Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?  

“Dear George, remember no man is a failure who has friends.”

You may recognize those lines from Clarence Oddbody in It’s A Wonderful Life. I add them to the post today to say thank you to each and everyone of you for your years of friendship, trust and amazing memories.

No Man Is A Failure Who Has Friends

No Man Is A Failure Who Has Friends

Some of you I’m closer to than others, but understand, equally, we’re all as important as the other to the whole.

Thanksgiving Wishes

If you’re hurting this holiday season from the trials of life, whether they be financial, marital, physical, mental, or those caused by the actions of others, please know I’m praying for you and hoping you shall soon enjoy better, happier days.

If the strain of the holidays gets to be too much, please ask someone for help instead of keeping it bottled up inside. Counselors are ready to help you at a moment’s notice. Many have sliding scales for those who can’t afford full-priced help, but desperately need it.

A local minister can be of help, too.

And ultimately, there’s the gift of prayer.

Believe me, I have been weathering some awful storms in my life the past few years. Many of those hard times have been chronicled here. Others are kept locked in the painful chambers of my heart.  Time has done marvels in healing me. God has done much to heal me.  I have taken my own steps.  But ultimately, I have been largely healed by the support of some amazing friends who didn’t judge, who didn’t mock me, and who were there when I needed them.

The purpose of this post isn’t to name them. It’s to thank them in a special tribute this pre-Thanksgiving Eve.  God bless you my many friends.  And thank you.

 

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What Is The Meaning Of Thanksgiving?

Nov 19, 2012 by

What Is The Meaning Of Thanksgiving?

Got your turkey out of the freezer yet and into the fridge so it can start thawing? That’s probably not where you thought this post was going from the lead, but I’m throwing it in for free.

As you begin to make preparations for Thursday’s holiday here in America, I want to ask you about your meaning of Thanksgiving?

In years past, in many ways for me, it has been a gateway holiday, kinda like a gateway drug.  It gets you started, but very soon you need more to get to the good stuff–the granddaddy of them all, Christmas.

First Thanksgivings

I remember being in Northern Michigan, with snow on the ground, and mom having cooked the meal.  I can’t recall if dad was home that year or Arc Light in B-52s. Little else about it do I remember.

I remember being in kindergarten and living in Northern Indiana at my grandparent’s house while dad was in Vietnam a second time circa 1970 or ’71. I remember making a pilgrim’s belt out of construction paper and seemingly a black hat, too. I remember our kindergarten field trip where they took us to a turkey farm.  I don’t remember the meals. (Though my mom has shared a story with me about how there were conflicts between the Sheptak and Claxton meals in regard to how large or small the celery was cut for the stuffing….)

But that’s about it. After that, Thanksgiving largely turned into a day that opened the doorway to the Christmas season.

Later Years

When I began putting up Christmas trees and decorating for myself, it became a tradition that the tree would be up before Thanksgiving. That way we got to celebrate the Big Deal twice, as it were. The thankfulness part largely got lost, it was just something we did to eat a big meal and be ready for Christmas and all. Then we’d watch the Cowboys football game. And later still in life, came a friend whose family would be up for the Black Friday sales–something I’ve never seemed to have the extra dollars to go partake in, let alone, the interest.

Then Came The Second Divorce

In my second marriage, Christmas and Thanksgiving became harder holidays to enjoy. My second wife really didn’t like much of either day. Her dad would come into town from Washington state and stay a few days. That brought stress upon the house because somehow we all had to present more of what we weren’t than what we were or something, I still don’t comprehend nor ever will.  There were always mean verbal words that were exchanged for reasons I still don’t understand, doors slamming, and extra naps. The best part was time sitting with my out-of-town mother-in-law who took it all in stride, was patient, caring, and actually fun to be around. I miss her.

Throughout the months of November and December I would be trying to excite the kids about the holiday season, while my ex was trying to get them to think about something else.

We had the house decorated from top to bottom, inside and out.  It was a very happy time for me, in spite of all the undertow.

When I moved out in 2010, I lost a  lot of my accumulated Christmas fare. With the agony that came from a second failed marriage, and subsequent things I’ve learned since, it got hard to enjoy what has always been my favorite time of the year.

Thanksgiving 2012

Time, they say, heals all wounds. I don’t know about them being completely healed, but this year, for certain, I’m doing all I can to see Thanksgiving and the holidays in a new light. One which I’ve lost touch with, and maybe never really quite understood.

The Meaning of Thanksgiving--Count Your Many Blessings

The Meaning of Thanksgiving–Do you ever Count Your Many Blessings?

Yesterday I went back to church for the first time in months. And like often happens, when you sit there in church and you hear a message, somehow it seems like God was waiting for you to be there in that perfect spot to share with you just the very words you needed to hear.

All weekend long, I spent cleaning up the apartment here and getting ready for Thanksgiving. And yes, I put two trees up Saturday night, put out my animated, mechanical Santa and Mrs. Claus and began to settle back into life and my “home,” as I have not been able to do since before I met my second wife, before we got married, before my world got majorly turned upside down.

So yes, the potential is there to make Thanksgiving 2012 a “going through the motions event,” but there’s more afoot here this year.

Count Your Many Blessings

We didn’t sing Count Your Many Blessings yesterday in church, but this weekend I hanged a sign from my mom above the door that says THANKFUL, and in cursive over that, is Count Your Many Blessings. I’ve been singing the song over and over in my head all weekend. If you don’t know the song, here are the lyrics:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Refrain

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Refrain

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Over the past three years, I’ve let the weight of all that was wrong, all the wrongs that had been done to me, all the misfortune, all the sadness, all of what was wrong in the world, become the overwhelming force in my life. Last year, we didn’t even put up a tree here in the apartment–well, we put up the Charlie Brown Tree–and of course, a lot of that had to do with the fact that we were supposed to be getting back the house–one we found had been trashed, appliances removed and the mortgage hadn’t been paid on since July of 2010.

This year, I’m rising above all that.

I have so many things in life to be thankful for. Things that in many ways I’d lost sight of.

I have my three, beautiful and very intelligent daughters, whom I love beyond words. Each amazes me daily with their many special talents, insights and inner strength. Because of decisions I have made, my girls have had a tough road at times.  But through it all, they have grown stronger and are more prepared for the hardships that this life can cast upon us than I was in so many ways.

Albeit my weight is still an issue that brings me down and troubles me daily. Going swimming five days a week for the past three months hasn’t seemed to help; it’s just made me hungrier!  But I have good health in spite of it all. I can get up daily. I can walk. I can run.  I can work out and I can be productive. I can also eat less and healthier.  It’s my choice. It’s something I must own up to and I must face.

I have some of the greatest friends I could ever have hoped for, many of them scattered around the globe.  Some are closer than others, and that’s okay.  Each has just the right impact on my life.

The list goes on.

This Thanksgiving

My girls are coming Thursday and we’re going to spend the day cooking. We’ve got a great big turkey in the freezer right now and it’s about to make the drop into the fridge to start thawing. We’re going to have healthy and unhealthy snacks during the day and we’re going to have a fancy meal together Thursday afternoon. Every year while chopping onions and celery for stuffing, I tell myself that next year we’re all going to be in NYC for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Though I was told by a friend the other week the best vantage point for that remains on my living room TV set. Maybe next year, we’ll see.

And no matter what’s happening outside of my home, no matter how much I owe to this or to that, how much I have been hurt by this person’s actions or that, how much I wish there was snow on the ground or my family or dearest friends were closer, I’m going to be counting my many blessings this holiday season.

God has given us so much to be thankful for, and really, only a few years to enjoy it down here. The promise of Heaven afterward is something I’ve often lost site of these past few years.

So what is your meaning of Thanksgiving?

What do you have to be thankful for?

 

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Books For iPad–Should We Even Be Calling Them “Books”

Nov 19, 2012 by

Books for iPad–Redefining the Word “Book”

Something needs to be done about what we call books for iPad.

Books For iPad--Should we even be calling them "Books?"

Books For iPad–Should we even be calling them “Books?”

Apple says, “iBooks should be used to refer only to the application and is always plural. Do not use the word iBook to refer to a publication or to the general category of ebooks. Instead, say your publication is a book available on the iBookstore.”

According to the Google Keyword Tool, the term “iBook” generates 1.22 million global monthly searches on the Internet. The term “iBooks” generates 1 million global monthly searches. To those who have signed end user licensing agreements, Apple says not to use “iBook” in marketing literature. But Web searchers are using it in their Google searches, so if you don’t use it on your Web pages, you’re reducing your chances for even being found via on-page content.

Not having an Apple-sanctioned, Apple-approved brand name for books for the iPad is hurting business for those in the publishing industry who focus on this type of book.

In my opinion, Apple needs to come up with a brand name we can use, or stop prohibiting publishers who have signed end user agreements with them from using iBook and iBooks without fear of retribution.

This Is Not My Grandma’s Louis L’Amour Type Of Book

This is not a book in the traditional sense. Yes, it’s got words in it and you can take a traditional book and put it into the software and ergo, it’s a book, but when was the last time you read a book with two hours of video in it?

We shouldn’t even be calling these creations “books.”

There should be some new term created for what these actually are because they’re not normal books.

Part of the frustration I have as a publisher and marketer of these books is that I call somebody and say, “Hey, I want to talk to you about the book we’ve made for the iPad.” What comes to their mind is the traditional book. They’re thinking about something you can thumb thru like a magazine.

“When I do interviews, if I can help it, I’m going to that station or I’m going to find that reporter so I can put an iPad in their hands and I’m going to say, ‘Here is my book. Here is what it can do. And here, let me show you the Rio Azul Mask in 3D where you can turn it.  Here, not me, you, turn it.’ And when you do that, their eyeballs pop. And it’s magic and they’re going, ‘Holy Cow!’ Because they’ve never seen anything like it because this isn’t a book. This isn’t like a normal book.”

Apple’s marketing dollars are spent on hardware, not on software and not on the products one can make using their software to use on the hardware.  This is making it harder to exist in this space, but it’s also freeing up the opportunity to share the message of what these books can be, should be and how they can be built.

Simply put, this is not the kind of book my grandmother would have sat and read. This is not a Louis L’Amour western. And given his imagination, I really wonder what he would be doing with this vast accomplishment in technology.

What Do You Think?

So what do you think?  Is there a better term we could be using to describe books for iPad?

 

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