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Penguin demos future iPad book concepts

updated 09:50 am EST, Thu March 4, 2010

App revenue split more profitable than paper?

Publisher Penguin Books this week demonstrated a series of possible iPad books, presenting the concepts at an event in London, England. A number of titles may, in fact, bypass the iBookstore for the App Store, in order to enable interactivity. A children's book for instance could permit coloring drawings while reading, and still other titles could enable live chats, or augmented reality functions like displaying constellations over the real night sky. A book on human anatomy might allow people to zoom in on individual body parts and load animations on how they work.

The CEO of Penguin, John Makinson, argues that the iPad is the "first real opportunity" for a paid distribution model that people will like. "The psychology of payment on tablets is different to the psychology on a PC," he says. E-books could account for as much as 10 percent of book sales in 2011, according to Makinson, although Penguin may largely ignore the standard but non-interactive EPUB format.

"We will be embedding audio, video and streaming in to everything we do," he elaborates. "The EPUB format, which is the standard for e-books at the present, is designed to support traditional narrative text, but not this cool stuff that we're now talking about. So for the time being at least we'll be creating a lot of our content as applications, for sale on app stores and HTML, rather than in e-books. The definition of the book itself is up for grabs."

The executive notably comments that although Apple will be able to claim 30 percent of revenue from Penguin apps, the arrangement may still be preferable to the print world. There retailers can keep as much as 50 percent of revenue, even if they often charge higher prices. Penguin will be experimenting with pricing and access to consumer data, says Makinson. "There is an argument for saying Apple needs the content, that they should be paying us for our content," he adds, even if Apple has not been amenable to bargains so far.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Parky

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    And so it begins, people still not interested?

  1. jnicholas

    Joined: Dec 1969


    multiple formats for books

    One thing that looks confusing for me is that iPad books are going to be in so many potential formats. I wish they'd come up with a way to display these together. It appears that I'll have some books in my shelf for iBook, some will be inside apps like the Kindle app and others will just be scattered among my apps and and I'll just have to remember which books are where.

  1. Constable Odo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't understand why pundits say this

    type of learning is so unimportant. You don't need a full desktop OS to run these type of apps and maybe the iPad won't be as powerful as some desktop computer. But to be able to carry a light pad around and download large amounts of multimedia content at the push of a button seems like a very convenient way to do things. I'm not sure if pundits are concerned that the prices of the iPad is too high or what. I still don't think price or lack of USB ports should be a dealbreaker for adults that want to treat their youngsters to some multimedia learning. I'm not saying it couldn't be done on an iPod Touch, but the extra size of the iPad display will make it even that more compelling for children to learn.

    Most of the usage of a tablet will be playing back content and only a small amount of inputting, so an on-screen keyboard should be sufficient for most users. The iPad may have some deficiencies, but I'm absolutely certain that consumers will love to use the iPad because it will be simple to use. I'm very excited about the possibilities and I sure wished I had a tablet with lots of content when I was growing up. It would have saved quite a few trips to the library.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: pundits

    What pundits are you talking about?

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