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iBooks Author: Still Defying Expectations
In June, Miles Kelly Publishing was featured in the Bookseller’s article “IBooks Author uptake defies expectations”, and I wanted to continue with that subject post our first iBook Discovery Channel™: Speed Machines going live

Books made with iBooks Author are still in their early stage, that’s plain to see when you look on the iBookstore – this area is largely populated by titles from Dorling Kindersley. One reason for this might be that iBooks Author was initially designed with textbooks in mind, and the UK textbook side is nowhere to be seen, unlike in the US. Having said that, for Miles Kelly Publishing, it was a no-brainer to enter the world of iBooks Author, after all this is an age where interactivity and digital publishing is advancing at a rate of knots. Only yesterday I read an article that E-Books accounted for 15% of US Trade Publishers revenues - a massive $2 billion – how could we not get involved? Even more so, with every published sales report showing the meteoric rise of eBooks and how children’s digital publishing is not quite following this trend, it’s likely that most children’s publishers, and certainly children’s reference publishers, are constantly searching for that hook to initiate their own big spike in eBook sales.

From my experience, the problem with children’s books and how they cross over into the digital sphere revolves around interactivity. There are parts of children’s publishing that have done well, namely teen fiction, which has seen a similar rise to adult fiction. The rest has not been quite so meteoric. This is where iBooks Author hopes to bridge some of the gap. Yes, children’s publishers could spend thousands of pounds creating interactive Apps that enthrall and mesmerize children with their content (a massive nod to Nosy Crow here who have done this tremendously well) but what about the rest of us who cannot afford such huge budgets? More importantly, if you are like Miles Kelly Publishing, what about those children’s publishers who produce mainly reference material – how do you make that kind of material approachable to an iPad generation where everyone is vying for their time?

Miles Kelly was an early adopter of eBooks for children, starting in 2010 with traditional titles such as Children’s Classic Stories, which has proved to be a consistent seller. To date, we have over 140 E-Book titles in a mix of traditional and fixed layout formats. This has given us an opening to various Apple iBookstores. iBooks Author gave us the chance to take a successful series we produce in conjunction with the Discovery Channel™ and move it up to the next level. By no means was it an easy process; redesigning the book to work in iBooks Author caused our designers some serious headaches. Adding interactivity such as slideshows, videos and 3D models whilst painstakingly making sure they didn’t end up looking like boring bolt-ons to the original book constantly stretched our schedule. We had hoped for the book to be out at the beginning of June, but this then moved to the end of June. However our perseverance paid off, and the book looks fantastic. We were able to work quite closely with Apple on this project, gaining valuable feedback on what could enhance the book.

Complete article here.