updated 05:15 pm EDT, Mon July 9, 2012
Enhanced e-books sold through in-app purchases
TED Conferences has released TED Books, a new app for the iPhone and iPad. The title serves as a storefront for enhanced educational e-books including audio, video, and social networking features. Most books are under 20,000 words, intentionally short enough to be read in as little as a single sitting.
Each book can be read offline and/or streamed to an Apple TV. Downloads are typically $3 apiece, although people can also pay for a $15 subscription, which covers three months and six books; a new one arrives every two weeks. People subscribing within the first 90 days will also get access to all of the books in the app's back catalog.
TED community director Tom Rielly claims that if the app gets enough subscribers, it's "guaranteeing an author a first printing that is larger than they were used to." He also suggests that the medium might appeal to TED speakers who wouldn't normally have time to write a full-length book.