Apple has opened the floodgates for aspiring authors by revealing a system that allows for self-publishing on the iBookstore without having to sign up with a publishing service like Smashwords or Lulu. The new service, which was brought to our attention by the folks at MacLife, allows anyone to sign up through a Web portal as long as you are able to meet several fairly straightforward requirements. This is definitely good news for new, independent, or undiscovered authors.
To take advantage of the service, you must first have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for each work you wish to make available for sale. Obtaining an ISBN isn’t as difficult a process you might think; it can take as little as two weeks. Second, you must have a copy of the work in ePUB format. There are a variety of different ways to convert text into ePUB format, many of which are free (a list can be found on the LexCycle website). You must also have a valid iTunes Store account as well as a US tax ID.
The last requirement is that you, as the author, must have access to a modern Mac. In order to participate, you must encode your eBook with Apple’s software, which needs an Intel Mac running at least OS X 10.5. The encoding process most likely adds Apple’s very own brew of DRM to the book, ensuring that your writings won’t be distributed outside of the iPhone or iPad.
It’s not clear whether Apple takes a cut of each sale, but the company does allow you to set your own price and choose which countries to publish in.
If you are an aspiring writer and give the service a spin, drop us a line. We’d love to hear about your experience.
Wall Street has called the end of an era and the beginning of the next one: The most important technology product no longer sits on your desk but rather fits in your hand.
The moment came Wednesday when Apple, the maker of iPods, iPhones and iPads, shot past Microsoft, the computer software giant, to become the world’s most valuable technology company.
This changing of the guard caps one of the most stunning turnarounds in business history for Apple, which had been given up for dead only a decade earlier, and its co-founder and visionary chief executive, Steven P. Jobs. The rapidly rising value attached to Apple by investors also heralds an important cultural shift: Consumer tastes have overtaken the needs of business as the leading force shaping technology.
Apple is a company with thick skin. It takes an awful lot of prodding to rile the company or even provoke a response from its executives. Those jerking the company’s chain better hope this resilience to their attacks continues, because a single response from Apple at WWDC could wipe out Google and the bloggers that support it. Here’s how.
.When Steve Jobs talks, people listen
On the rare occasions that Apple does respond to an issue, it does so in a brutally open and devastating way, such as when Jobs lambasted the idiot chatter about music and DRM with clear cut reality, or his more recent donkey punch delivered to Adobe’s Flash.
Jobs is also famous for succinctly explaining what he thinks about technologies or specific approaches to design, such as his castigation of the mini keyboards covering a third of the face of smartphones or mouse or stylus-based interfaces in the modern era of mobile multitouch devices.
Pundits and competitors, from John Dvorak to the CEOs of Palm and RIM, spent years explaining why Jobs was wrong about all this until meekly changing their collective tunes once they realized that it was them, and not Jobs, who had all the trouble seeing plain reality.
Headlines tell such a sensationalized side of the story. Here’s the missing bits of recent tech media events that have been reported with a slant starting with:
NPD says Android has surpassed iPhone in US unit sales
The suggestion: the reign of iPhone is over because Google’s Android platform is taking over the market in terms of sales and installed base.
The reality: Android sales are certainly not eating up iPhone sales, which are higher than ever–especially in the first quarter, when Apple’s hardware sales have historically plateaued. Rather than taking on the iPhone, Android is really just replacing the plummeting sales of Windows Mobile and the old Palm OS (and even webOS) and the embedded software that formerly ran a lot of HTC and Motorola phones. Consumers are upgrading away from pseudo-smartphones from LG and Samsung, and buying more advanced smartphones, which looks good for Android.
Globally however, Android sales are still well below the iPhone. According to IDC, Apple took 16.1% share of smartphones in the quarter, while HTC and Motorola (the only Android makers, who also sell other non-Android smartphones) amassed a combined global share of 9%. Android’s total share is less than half that of second place RIM’s BlackBerry sales and less than a quarter of the smartphones sold by Nokia, but Android is getting a lot of press to suggest that it is taking over the market, at least in the US.
Why is Android doing so well in the US? It’s the same reason RIM’s BlackBerry sales have kept pace ahead of the iPhone, despite failing to best or even match Apple’s platform in terms of technology: most of those phones are being given away for free. That’s an easy way to claim market share, but not really a way to actually create sustainable growth. And if you look at RIM’s global sales in the last quarter, they’re only up 45% year over year compared to Apple’s 131% growth, despite all of RIM’s promotional free giveaways contrasted with Apple’s actual sales to customers.
Rupert Murdoch and the top execs at News Corp. keep insisting that sites that aggregate content from elsewhere on the internet are “stealing.” Of course, as we’ve noted, News Corp. has an awful lot of sites that rely on aggregating content from elsewhere — so apparently it’s only legit when Murdoch does it himself. Murdoch, of course, has also famously claimed that fair use is a doctrine that courts would “bar altogether” if challenged in the courts — but at the same time, his own company regularly claims “fair use” to defend its own actions.
That’s generally called hypocrisy.
And it keeps getting worse. The latest is that TorrentFreak has noticed that Fox News recently put together a photo gallery of the Icelandic volcano eruption, and used some photos from Flickr — even though the photos were limited were covered by copyright and not free for others to use without permission and/or license. The photographer in question has tried contacting Fox News and has so far been totally ignored. And yet Murdoch just mentions in passing — incorrectly — that he thinks Google News “steals” his content by sending him traffic and its front page news…
Apple’s iPad will be a revolutionary gadget, certain pundits have predicted, transforming everything from print media to environmentally friendly transportation to computing at large. But I’m beginning to think that Apple’s much-hyped new tablet may have more impact on mobile marketing than any other segment.