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MTBlogBot2000
22nd March 2010, 04:21 PM
<img class="alignright size-full wp-image-5107" title="bpm-questions-you-should-ask-your-bpms-vendor1" src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/bpm-questions-you-should-ask-your-bpms-vendor1.jpg" alt="bpm-questions-you-should-ask-your-bpms-vendor1" width="140" height="200" />Welcome to another segment of <strong><em>Ask MacTalk</em></strong>. This is your chance to email me and ask a question regarding anything to do with Apple. You might have a technical issue you want solved, you might be seeking advice with a new computer, or just want to settle a bet with a friend. Either way, as long as it's Apple related, I will take a stab at answering one question, every Monday. If I pick your question to be answered, you win a $20 iTunes voucher!

<strong>If you have a question you'd like to ask, just email <a href="mailto:ask@mactalk.com.au?subject=Question for MacTalk">ask@mactalk.com.au</a></strong> - <em>just note, not every email will be answered or published, so if it's something urgent, your best bet is to post on the <a href="http://forums.mactalk.com.au" target="_blank">forums</a></em><em>.</em>

The question this week comes from <strong>Judy Frazer</strong>. She wants some info about the iBook store and the iPad.<!--more-->

<em>I am more than confused about e-books - are they available or not for the iPad in Australia? Every opinion I have read contradicts the previous one! And as or the cost, if and when they become available, will it be worth it? And what will be actually available, again, if and when. Should I invest in an iPad? I'd love to, but it does depend on so many unanswered questions.</em>

Well Judy, I'm pretty much in the same boat as you. In their usual style, Apple has given no information about the Australian release of the iBook store, except that it won't be available on launch here in Australia. The "answers" I'm about to give you are all my best, educated guesses as someone who is a keen observer of such things.

So - availability. There's no official date for the iBook store being available in Australia. Nothing. There has been a job listing on the Apple website for someone to fill the role of "<a href="http://jobs.apple.com/index.ajs?BID=1&amp;method=mExternal.showJob&amp;RID=48775">Manager, iBooks Asia Pacific &amp; Canada</a>". This job listing is still up, so I assume they haven't filled it yet. That's not a good sign if we want an Australian iBook store sooner rather than later, if there's no manager assigned to our region. There's plenty of (stupid and complex) reasons why the iBook store is US-only for launch day, but it mainly boils down to all the contracts and agreements and boring things that need to be worked out before e-books on the iPad can hit our part of the world. It's very similar to how the iTunes Music Store took ages to reach our shores all the way back in 2005.

Which e-books will be available? Again, it's hard to know for sure, but if you look at the Australian version of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/browse/-/1284007011">Amazon's Kindle Store</a> and the <a href="http://www.dymocks.com.au/VirtualStore/LandingPage.aspx?Store=Digital&amp;Ne=10&amp;N=4294967265">Dymocks e-Book store</a>, you can get an idea of the sort of titles available. It's pretty bare. Unfortunately, many Australian titles aren't available and Australian publishers haven't really worked out deals with retailers for eBook distribution, hence, there's none available. The good thing is that the iPad supports the 'epub' format, which is an open standard for eBooks - think MP3, but for books instead of CDs. There are a couple of places online you can legitimately buy ebooks, or even download them for free. It's just a matter of scouring the net for the content you want and converting it to 'epub' format. However, even then, the availability of quality ebooks is nowhere near the selection available at a local bookshop, let alone an online store like <a href="http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/">Book Depository</a> or Amazon.

How much will they cost? How long is a piece of string? Unlike with the iTunes store, books will be variable in their pricing. Could be $10, could be $15, could be $20. It's really up to the publisher and what they think they can get away with. Sometimes it's often cheaper to buy the paperback version of a book, particularly for popular titles as they're sold at a discount (e.g: a copy of 1984, or any of the Penguin Classics won't really cost more than $10 - the eBook might even cost more).

Should you invest in an iPad? If you plan on using the iPad solely as a reading device, I don't think it's worth it. The Kindle has a much better screen and accepts more formats and is easier to get content for. However, if you want to use the iPad for anything else (movies, Internet, magazines, games etc.), then the iBooks are a nice feature to have along with that, rather than the killer feature.

It seems to me that the eBook market is very immature right now. It's very similar to online music only a few years ago. Hopefully with Apple moving in to the market, we will see all the major (and non-major) publishers get their content up on the iBook store, turning it into a one-stop-shop for eBooks, much like how the iTunes Store is now for music. Unfortunately, as early adopters, we will have to wallow in this primordial pool and wait for the rest of the world to catch up.

<em>If you think you can help clarify the iBook store situation for Judy too, just drop a comment on this post with your suggestions, or with info on how you've done a similar thing yourself. I may answer these questions first, but there's always more than one way to skin a cat.</em>

techAU
22nd March 2010, 05:27 PM
I think you should get an iPad. While at launch the iBook section in Australia may be unavailable or very limited selection, this will only improve over time. If you can make use of the other features of the device in the mean time, while Apple makes deals with publishers, then in 6 months the situation may be very different.

I'm heading to the US and turns out I get there on launch day - April 3rd. I'll be going to an Apple store in LA and checking out an iPad, if I like it, I'll buy it. I don't have a US iTunes account, so won't be buying iBooks either.

What does interest me is apps like Canon EOS Companion Guide which works like the Stansa app but would be much more usable with the iPad screen size.

Joey1983
22nd March 2010, 09:08 PM
There's always the Kindle app, which is being made as an iPad app (http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2010/03/the-ipad-kindle-app-is-a-peek-at-kindles-full-colour-future/) now too.

dodo
23rd March 2010, 06:12 AM
Kindle or an iPad?

The Kindle has the Kindle Store. The iPad is going to have Stanza, the Kindle Store, the iBook Store, and surely many other eBook stores.

If you want competitive prices for your eBooks, then I'd get an iPad.

TheKeddi
23rd March 2010, 08:37 AM
I had a Kindle, it does one thing well but only one thing.

We don't know yet what it will be like to read books on the iPad but I for one will be getting one for this very reason, oh and the loads of other things the iPad can do also.

I think the iPad is the way to go, with the new magazine formats being made for it and the benefits of the multiple iBook stores as mentioned above it's going to be a great device. And lets not forget all the free books you can get from the App store. It just seems that the Kindle is a crippled little thing, all be it with e-ink but yeah, not as versatile as the iPad.

Now I will be able to sit in bed and do all the things I did on my iPhone but with a bigger screen! Awesome!

sahm24
23rd March 2010, 09:16 AM
My major concern with iPad is obviously the contents. I am keen reader of books but the problem is I do not read stuff that are number one best sellers or has the potential to be a best seller. I am more into soccer books and here in Australia, to be honest there isn't much options for me except to buy from either Borders online, where I get my book shipped from England, or from Amazon.

I am worried about if the stock for the iBook will be based on demand or will it be a general bookstore where you have access to anything and everything. I have no doubt that the UK iBook will have the soccer books in their collection but what about Australia?

mab
23rd March 2010, 09:53 AM
Remember the cardinal rule; never buy rev. one Apple gear :)

Japester
23rd March 2010, 09:56 AM
Remember the cardinal rule; never buy rev. one Apple gear :)

I don't subscribe to that anymore. You've got AppleCare, so you're covered if there's a problem.

TheKeddi
23rd March 2010, 11:02 AM
I always buy rev 1 Apple gear, and touch wood, I have never had a problem with any of it!

dickg
23rd March 2010, 03:40 PM
If I can rent an ebook (like a DVD) or, better still, 'borrow' one from the library - and I know they are looking at Kindle-type formats - I will get an iPad. I will not pay retail for a product that has virtually no cost past the computer typesetting stage; that is no printing, distribution, storage or retail, for a book I will probably only read once.

If I can't rent or borrow, it's no iPad for me.

Japester
23rd March 2010, 03:44 PM
If I can rent an ebook (like a DVD) or, better still, 'borrow' one from the library - and I know they are looking at Kindle-type formats - I will get an iPad. I will not pay retail for a product that has virtually no cost past the computer typesetting stage; that is no printing, distribution, storage or retail, for a book I will probably only read once.

If I can't rent or borrow, it's no iPad for me.

What about the other functionality? If books are the only interesting feature to you, then you probably should get the Kindle.

I wouldn't decide not to get an iPad on one criterion.

ozerus
23rd March 2010, 04:21 PM
If I can rent an ebook (like a DVD) or, better still, 'borrow' one from the library - and I know they are looking at Kindle-type formats - I will get an iPad. I will not pay retail for a product that has virtually no cost past the computer typesetting stage; that is no printing, distribution, storage or retail, for a book I will probably only read once.

If I can't rent or borrow, it's no iPad for me.

And what about the person who has poured a great deal of time and effort writing a book?

when you buy something you are not just paying for the cost of materials and manufacturing, you are paying for the cost of the persons experience, a good writer has put in a great deal of effort and money to become a good writer, many writers write for the love of the written word and dedicate much of there time to it.. Should they not be paid for there dedication?

areal
23rd March 2010, 04:52 PM
And what about the person who has poured a great deal of time and effort writing a book?

when you buy something you are not just paying for the cost of materials and manufacturing, you are paying for the cost of the persons experience, a good writer has put in a great deal of effort and money to become a good writer, many writers write for the love of the written word and dedicate much of there time to it.. Should they not be paid for there dedication?

Not to mention the editors of the world. Oh, wait.

dickg
24th March 2010, 03:52 PM
Ozerus - Writers get royalties.

Japester - I am not into gaming or movies or other hungry stuff but it would be icing on the cake.

ozerus
24th March 2010, 03:56 PM
Not to mention the editors of the world. Oh, wait.

Editors I couldn't give a shit about.. but the writers I do, I've known a few of'em and I've seen how much of them self they pour into there writing and how much time and effort goes into it.