Apple’s iBooks Author, iBookstore Create Powerful New Marketing Opportunities

Apple’s iBooks Author, iBookstore Create Powerful New Marketing Opportunities

Visage MobilityCentral transforms the white paper for Apple's iBookstore

When Apple announced iBooks Author in January, the company positioned the free ebook publishing tool as a way for faculty members of schools and colleges to create their own customized and interactive textbooks. However, since Apple allows the software to be used by anyone, it has become a tool for authors or organizations that want to self-publish either for personal distribution or for sale/download in the iBookstore.

While easy self-publishing tools may bring to mind the image of someone writing their first novel or a memoir, there are any number of ways to use both the publishing features of iBooks Author and the distribution channel of the iBookstore. One of which is as a marketing and informational tool – an approach that takes the concept of a white paper to a new and powerful interactive level.

Visage MobilityCentral, a company that offers a range of mobile management tools is using Apple’s iBookstore in exactly that way. The company recently published “Tablets Are Taking Over” – an interactive white paper that users can download for free to read and review on their iPads.

The ebook is essentially the data that you’d expect in a white paper – information and studies about the growing use of tablets in the workplace, background details the advantages they offer, information about the challenges that IT departments face in keeping corporate data secure on mobile devices, some tips and best practices, and a short pitch for the company’s solutions. As with most really useful white papers, this one offers a lot of useful information and isn’t just a giant digital brochure.

This is an interesting take on iBooks Author and ebook publishing in general. It’s a marketing and informational tactic that probably wouldn’t work outside the digital realm. In that digital space, however, it’s extremely effective. Part of that is because it presents the content as a book rather than as a PDF or series of web pages. The company took the time to really make this book attractive, interactive with multitouch gestures, and more enjoyable to read than most white papers. The result stands out against a lot of documents from their competitors and something about the fact that it’s delivered via iBooks makes it seem more like fun than work. It’s a great lesson in really using the advantages of a particular medium to their fullest.

The approach is similar to Apple’s digital textbook for the new Mac Integration Basics certification exam, which can be downloaded as an ebook for iBooks or as a PDF. Apple doesn’t take as much care to make this digital textbook all that much different from the PDF version. Even so, the fact that it’s delivered in iBooks and with all the features for bookmarking, highlighting, and note taking up features that iBooks offers adds to the enjoyment factor and makes reading the content seem less like work or training.

This shows that iBooks Author has a real range of uses outside of textbooks and first novels. In creating this ebook Visage MobilityCentral offers individuals or businesses some inspiration when it comes to presenting and delivering content. Whether that content is educational, technical training, or pure marketing, Visage MobilityControl shows that electronic publishing offers new levels of user engagement, which is important for anyone trying to ensure a message or lesson sticks in the minds of their audience.

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  • Gregory Sargent

    iBooks Author would revolutionize the world of publishing and such….but for one major pitfall: it takes months for Apple to approve titles! I’ve been waiting well over 30 days for a title to be approved. Until the approval process becomes more streamlined…I think the power of the platform will remain unused.

    See this Apple Support Community thread: https://discussions.apple.com/message/18041013?ac_cid=142432#18041013

  • VisageMobile

    Hi Gregory! We were worried about the approval time as well, however, the iBook was approved and in the iBookstore about exactly a week later! Have you tried to submit an iBook using iBooks Author yet? We’d like to hear about your experience as well!

  • 5lifemedia

    My children’s book, created with iBooks Author, had one trademark issue to correct but ended up being approved in just 3 days. This was at the end of June. Hopefully the approval process continues to be timely.

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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