Video is becoming part of the fabric of our lives, and Apple’s release of iBook Author - an authoring tool for iPad interactive books - is one of the clearest indications of the way video will be used in the future.
As part of their push into education, Apple has announced their iBook initiative. Students can now buy luscious, interactive books for their iPads that feature animations and videos as well as conventional text and images.
This diversity of content types means that creating interactive books is more complicated than authoring conventional “linear” ones, but Apple has tried to minimise the effort with their software and publishing process.
To create an iBook, you simply drag and drop the elements into pre-made templates. For example, each book can start with an introductory video when opened, and to set this up, all you have to do is drag the pre-edited video into a placeholder on the page. Other video clips can be added at any point within the book. You can preview your work immediately by connecting an iPad to your Mac when you’re running iBooks author, and then, when you’re done, you just press “publish”, and the book - complete with video - is available for anyone to purchase and download from the cloud.
An important development
Even though the idea of video in books - “multimedia” in other words - has been around for twenty years, we think that iBooks Author is significant in at least two ways. First, people can consume multimedia on things that are more like books than computers: tablets are eminently portable and you can use them on a train or plane or on the sofa. Second, for the first time there is a simple way to author books that include video and to get them published.
All of which is very good news for video makers, who now have a new and potentially lucrative source of work.
Now we just have to wait to see whether Amazon will follow suit.