Dear Authors, Your Next Book Shouldn’t be an App

There was another editorial on TechCrunch yesterday, and the author (like Paul Carr) has been caught up in the iPad hype.

If you, as an author, see the iPad as a place to ‘publish’ your next book, you are completely missing the point. What do you think would have happened if George Orwell had the iPad? Do you think he would have written for print then copy and pasted his story into the iBookstore? If this didn’t work out well, do you think he would have complained that there aren’t any serious-readers anymore? No. He would have looked at the medium, then blown our minds.

Needless to say, I think she's wrong. Whatever you spend to make that app will be spent in a small, highly competitive market. There are 4 billion apps in iTunes right now. What makes you think your app will stand out, or that you'll make a return on the investment? BTW, most of the material created to enhance the ebook cannot be sold elsewhere; there is no other market. (Okay, you could post the content on a website, but wouldn't that undercut the app sales?)

About Nate Hoffelder (11381 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

2 Comments on Dear Authors, Your Next Book Shouldn’t be an App

  1. I don’t get it, you refer to digital (ipad) books as apps? If this is what you mean I don’t really understand your point. Fact is, an ipad book isn’t an app. Just like a song or albums from the itunes stores isn’t an app. You can just use the apple bookstore (just like the kindle book store) to sell your book in a digital version next to a physical one.

    Obviously there are tons of apps (well actually about 1500 for ipad right now), but it isn’t about apps, it’s about books. To me it feels like you’re saying not to sell a book on Steam (the digital game platform from valve).

    • I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Go look at the “Books” category in the App Store. Almost all of the titles listed are not ebooks but apps (there are a couple technical exceptions) in that they are free-standing pieces of software. The difference between an app and an ebook is that to make an app, you wrap software around the contents of an ebook and then submit it to the App Store. The software is there so you can display the ebook.

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