What's happening in the publishing industry is not evolution -- it's a revolution. The pendulum is swinging back toward the author and the iPad is just one more milestone along the way. Here are four reasons why the iPad is revolutionary:
1. It's not just a book on a computer screen. The whole concept of "Book" is finally changing and the idea that a book is a bunch of chapters packaged between two covers is fading. The iPad is a true multimedia device. That means the author can use all available means to convey content. It's not just a better book, it's changing the nature of books and giving the author more tools to connect. We will soon see eBooks with metadata, annotations, multimedia, links and social connections.
2. It's not just another distribution channel. The iPad brings iTunes simplicity to book purchases. With the integrated iBookstore authors will be able to reach out to an audience that is already downloading and reading eBooks on their iPhone. What people aren't talking about is how the iBookstore will allow anyone with an iTunes account to purchase books and view them on their iPhones and iPod Touch, too!
3. While publishers are arguing over prices, authors are figuring out how to get their books into the iBookstore on their own. Online publishers like FastPencil are making it possible for authors to publish and distribute their books anywhere. If you are an author and you want to publish a book on the iPad through the iBookstore, you'll be able to click a few buttons and you're in. No agent, no publisher, no permission slip required.
4. The iPad is going to put more money in everyone's pocket -- except bookstores. Unfortunately, my local bookshop may disappear in the next couple years if not sooner. Just as the iPod ended the reign of the record shops, the iPad may signal the end of the bookshop. And the 100% retail markup for books, too. Digital delivery means almost zero overhead and all profit. Apple has taken the same stance as FastPencil, providing the lion's share to the author or publisher. Traditional publishers chop the profits and give less to the author, but that's changing as authors choose to go direct. More money is going to the author.
And that's the real revolution -- authors are in control and rewarded for quality work. The more we see companies like Apple, Amazon, FastPencil and Lulu work to help authors connect with their audience, the further we are toward a complete revolution in the publishing industry. It's not just the next generation of books, it's the next generation of an entire industry!