Learning does not change, nor does the need for it. However, what has changed from before is the availability of means to impart it in a way that enhances not just the learning experience but meets learning objectives deemed necessary to help learners better grasp learning content.
At Hurix Product Development, it’s this aspect we’re challenged by the most, and the reason why most days spin past with nary a trace of their passing save conversations and development trails around design and development of Kitaboo, an e-publishing platform for creation of Rich interactive eBooks for multiple platforms.
And the last few days should’ve been more of a blur than usual, not in the least due to Apple rolling out iBooks 2 for the iPad. But quite the opposite happened. It gave us pause for thought, a moment for reflection, and more than a glimpse of validation.
We saw some similarities with Kitaboo and our own concepts and thoughts we’ve wrestled with and implemented in the two years that Kitaboo has been in existence. It validated our trajectory as only competitor products can. However, of particular interest was paths of divergence.
Keen to find out areas of maturity Kitaboo has attained vis-a-vis iBooks we panned again, and sure enough, as we stepped through the latest Apple offering, several instances emerged indicating the level of comprehensiveness that Kitaboo has achieved over time in the domain iBooks seeks to serve.
Kitaboo enables multi-device output, i.e. it supports iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and PC/MAC versions. Apple iBooks Author limits its support to iPad.
Essentially this means that if you’re planning on using iBooks Author and wish to make your interactive eBook available on Android and PC/MAC, you’d have to look elsewhere. Moreover, you cannot preview your eBook in iBooks Author without hooking up an iPad. Kitaboo imposes no such restriction on you. You can preview your interactive eBook within your authoring environment.
With Kitaboo you’re free to brand your interactive eBooks across devices with your own eBook player. With iBooks Author you’d be hard-pressed to achieve this as you’re limited to using Apple’s generic branded player, iBookstore.
What this means is while your content is consumed you’re losing out on brand visibility, in turn limiting your ability to strengthen brand loyalty. With Kitaboo you’re free to brand your interactive eBook and consolidate the returns from content value and translate it into enduring brand loyalty that you can leverage for successive products.
If you’re looking to host your eBooks for sale on your own eCommerce site, Kitaboo is the way to go. Once you’ve created your rich interactive eBook, considering the effort that’s gone into creating and authoring the content, Kitaboo solution allows you the flexibility to choose the channel to market and distribute it, and to set the price of the eBook.
Interactive eBooks created using iBooks Author can only be distributed through Apple iStore on iPad. Moreover you cannot set the price of your interactive eBook (Text Book) beyond $14.99 on iBookstore.
And at the moment, iBookstore is not available in all geographical regions, meaning you could have your eBook for sale on iBookstore and not be able to reach your audience where iBookstore does not operate.
iBooks environment demands a much higher level of editorial input in defining interactions and page composition in addition to limiting the working of these interactions to iPad only.
With Kitaboo, the level of interactions offered are comprehensive enough to allow the author to create interactive eBook content with little or no editorial input considering that such input may not always be at hand. The interactions created in Kitaboo work across devices and platforms.
Kitaboo supports custom fonts used by publishers. iBooks Author restricts its support of fonts to those supported by Apple.
Kitaboo scales from retail to enterprise levels of usage while iBooks Author is primarily suited for retail.
What truly scores for Kitaboo is its cloud-based architecture. Since Kitaboo does not require the user to download the software to the user’s machine, it frees you from the need to stick with a machine with downloaded software as is the case with iBooks Author.
It means so long as you have a license for Kitaboo, it does not matter where you choose to access it from. You do not need Kitaboo on a local machine to author your rich interactive eBook. And it does not matter what machine you use to access Kitaboo.
In contrast, iBooks Author requires you to install the software on your machine before you can begin using it, the platform required being Mac.
As mentioned above Kitaboo generates multi-device multi-format output with support of e-Learning standards like SCORM compliance, essential for tracking/reporting users progress and enabling effective classroom training.
Kitaboo uses proprietary algorithms to intelligently extract meaningful and relevant information from provided input files, which further enhances the eBook creation process by dynamically generating book’s Table of Content, assessments, and key concepts/definitions among other things.
While we recognise that space is no longer a premium as it once was, we realise it serves nobody’s purpose to make eBooks ‘heavy’. Kitaboo prides in making eBooks sit light on infrastructure accessing and storing rich interactive eBooks. Our approach is driven by a belief that we cannot go wrong with ensuring eBooks are only as heavy as is absolutely necessary.
Legacy Content Support
Advent of technology enabling the creation of rich interactive eBooks meant publishers were scrambling to convert their existing legacy content. The alternative was a costly proposition. Kitaboo was designed to reuse the vast legacy content of the publishers and convert them into rich interactive eBooks, saving the publishers the costly exercise of re-authoring them for each new device format.
With Apple iBooks Author, since it supports limited formats, publishers with vast amounts of legacy content will have to re-author content assets to make them compliant with formats supported by iBooks Author, an expensive proposition.
Seamless Integration With Publishing Process
Kitaboo, by virtue of being a cloud-based application enables multiple actors in a publishing process seamlessly integrate their functions together to collaboratively create rich interactive books on the Web itself. In addition Kitaboo eliminates the need to create a supporting IT infrastructure (including manpower) and process typically involved in digital publishing process, reducing the cost significantly as compared to desktop based applications like iBooks Author.
In as much as the differences between Kitaboo and iBooks Author were revealing they helped us focus again on the philosophy underpinning Kitaboo, to enable and facilitate functioning within an existing eco-system.
Reading a book is not an experience restricted to the one reading but instead brings within its ambit an eco-system involving the author as publisher, the publisher as an enterprise, and the market as a validator of content value.
The eco-system is a sum of its parts. And products that align with this reality seek to facilitate the success of the eco-system.