I know that Apple has made it easy to design, code, and publish apps for the iOS devices. Three hundred thousand apps and likely five hundred thousand apps by the middle of 2011 is a testament to how Apple can really shine when it wants to.
However, outside of iTunes and the App Store, Apple's effort into other media has been met with mediocre success as with TV and movies. And it has so far floundered with ebooks. What should Apple do?
How about an iBookstore SDK?
Sure, Tom Clancy or Stephen King is going to add much pictures, videos, or sounds to their best sellers but for others who might be interested in providing more than just text, Apple should provide an easier way to do it.
For instance, the Nook Kids app from Barnes and Noble is essentially a separate app and store for children's books. And more than that, it offers the ability to the user. While that is a rudimentary feature, it is a feature that the iBooks app is sorely missing.
And I am certain that Kindle won't be far behind with more interactive features in the future.
Having said that, Apple should be the one leading the charge on this. This is exactly right up Apple's alley when it comes to innovating and disrupting markets. And to do that, an iBooks SDK is needed.
And it wouldn't be that hard to come up with. It can simply be a subset of the regular iOS SDK that is easier for writers and publishers to release their materials into the iBookstore.
Already, the iBookstore is behind Amazon and Barnes and Noble when it comes to selection. To make up for that, Apple should come in and say, "we can make ebooks more interesting and engaging for readers".
So far, that hasn't happened but Apple has been awfully quiet about this. Perhaps, something is cooking for iOS 5 that might including taking the iBooks app into a whole new level that will force its competitors, including new entrant, Google, to follow.
I recently download an app called Grover Monster. It's basically a book called "the Monster at the end of this Book". It is a highly engaging book that my nephew loves. The book reads to the user and has simple animation and a lot of sounds for children.
Now compare that to the static children's color books in the iBookstore. Boring.
So, come on, Apple. You shook up the ereader market with the iPad. Now do it again with more engaging ebooks. I'll bet that both Amazon and Barnes and Noble are improving their readers to provide their users and publishers options that will turn ebooks into real ibooks. Interactive books.