Excited by Apples new self-publishing technology, I have raced to update one of my most popular books – Impressions of Papua New Guinea – and publish it in the i-Book store. The book is now instantly downloadable, free of charge, by simply going to i-books and entering David Kirkland or Papua New Guinea into the search engine.
At this stage, the only hurdle is that you need to access Apple’s i-book store from your i-pad or tablet to do it but I’m sure that will change shortly when a global platform is created to make digital publications more widely accessible. Of course, this is based on two major assumptions: That the number of people choosing to read digital books over static books on i-pads and tablets will continue the phenomenal increase (why wouldn’t it with the instant access they provide and the ability to store thousands of books in a single device you can easily carry in one hand), and that authors embrace the new technology.
For my part, I found Apple’s free publishing software incredibly easy to use. You choose a sophisticated template, determine how many pages you need and then basically drag and drop pictures from a folder or write text and cut and paste it into the pages. It really is that easy. Completed, you press a button to upload it to Apple – along with a preview and a thumbnail of the cover – wait a couple of weeks for them to approve it and, hey presto, you have yourself an i- publication that can be read anywhere in the world.
While this may well satisfy your need to see your name in lights in the i-book store, sadly, if you want to make money out of it, you need to either go through what they call an “aggregator” to upload it (they will take a commission) or you need to have an American tax file number. At this stage – and I’m sure that will change – that’s the only way you’re going to get paid. Otherwise, as I did because I was keen to test the system, you give it away for free (then, as I’ve since done, you secure sponsors for the next one having showed them what it looks like). What’s most exciting about this technology, beyond it being so simple to use, is that it allows video clips, photo galleries and active web links to be inserted into the book and that it puts authors directly in touch with the market (cutting out the publishers and distributors).
Anyway, if you have an i-pad or a tablet, download my i-book and have a look (remember to turn your device sideways to read it). It really is amazing technology and, in my view, its about to deliver incredible opportunities for those of us who can write and capture photographs.
Let me know how you go.