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Smashwords iPad News & the Apple Revolution

This news from Smashwords comes at an appropriate time, given the death of Steve Jobs.  The self-publishing revolution is entirely because of Apple. Entirely.  You can point to the Kindle as being the change agent, but the Kindle more than likely wouldn’t exist without the success of the iPod.  Though ereaders existed prior to the iPod, the iPod and iTunes changed how people access content.  As always, Apple provided the model which other people then adopted into other platforms.  The Kindle Fire is now mimicking the iPad.

Also worth noting that the Mac spurred the age of desktop publishing:

PostScript enabled computer users to at last escape the world of a single typeface in only a single point size that could only be capitalized and underlined for emphasis. PostScript allowed computer owners to pick from scores of typefaces, adjust character size as needed and switch to italic or bold or shadow at the press of a key[3].

In its own way, PostScript was just as exciting as PageMaker, and it had many times the potential user base. Like PageMaker, it required a crisp, bit-mapped display and a precise laser printer to really show its stuff. PostScript made the Mac special, not just clever. The marvelous thing about PageMaker and PostScript was that they went together beautifully and in turn, they could only work well on the Macintosh. The combination of desktop publishing and a graphical user interface sent waves of delight and terror, respectively, through the market and the competition.

The Macintosh had found its niche. John C Dvorak’s question, “Why would I want this?”, now had a clear and compelling answer. The Macintosh of the 1980′s was primarily a desktop publishing machine. Its GUI simplified the life of users, but the GUI alone did not make the Mac a viable platform. Apple’s clever machine changed the desktop publishing world forever and eventually came into its own as a home computer for the rest of us.

The Kindle or the smartphone are just smaller versions of the home PC revolutionized by Apple in the eighties. The democratization of technology and content is at the heart of the self-publishing revolution.

Now the news: great news for Smashworders:

Apple this week dramatically expanded the international reach of Smashwords ebooks by distributing our catalog to 26 new iBookstores across Europe and Scandinavia.

Prior to this week, over 50,000 Smashwords ebook titles were available in Apple iBookstores in the US, Canada, U.K., Germany, France and Australia.

All Smashwords authors, publishers and agents enjoy immediate access to this expanded distribution.

Below is the list of new iBookstore countries now reachable through Smashwords.

Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland

Mark Coker adds:

I expect the US will end 2011 with ebooks accounting for 15-25% of trade book sales. Contrast this with markets outside the US, where ebooks will account for probably between 1% and 5% of the market this year. These markets are only now beginning to enter, or will soon enter, exponential growth phases that will take them to 15-25% the next few years assuming their growth trajectories follow similar patterns seen in the US and other English speaking countries.

Now imagine this being possible without Apple’s innovations.

About Henry Baum

Avatar of Henry Baum
Author of The American Book of the Dead, which won Best Fiction at the DIY Book Festival and the Gold IPPY Award for Visionary Fiction. Largehearted Boy says it's "reminiscent of Philip K. Dick and Haruki Murakami, a book that boldly explores the future and defies genre." Also the author of North of Sunset, winner of the Hollywood Book Festival Grand Prize, and The Golden Calf - first published by Soft Skull Press, with editions in the U.K. (Rebel Inc.) and France (Hachette Littératures). He was a finalist along with Alan Moore and Dr. Brooke Magnanti for his novel " God's Wife" for Best Writer at The Erotic Awards London UK in 2013. He lives with his wife Cate Baum in Los Angeles. He's the founder of SPR.

6 comments

  1. I don’t get all this fuss over Apple and Jobs. I bought my first computer in 1986. Right now I’m on my 9th computer, which runs Windows 7.

    I’ve never owned an Apple anything. Nor a Mac, nor anything beginning with an i.

    Once, I used a computer running an Apple operating system. It was at Kinko’s. I didn’t realize it was running Apple (or Mac, or whatever they call their OS) until it CRASHED, and I had to call the clerk for help.

    That’s right. The Apple OS is so similar to Windows, I didn’t even notice I was running Apple rather than Windows. And Apple CRASHES, same a Windows.

    I’m sure Apple makes okay products, but this Applemania sounds so cultish. I’ve built a dozen or so websites from scratch, using Windows based Dreamweaver. I’ve written books with Windows based software. I listen to MP3s on a Sansa (not iPod) player. My phone is Verizon.

    Apple products are, I’m sure, no better or worse than the rest. They just cost more, and have glitzier marketing.

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    • Avatar of Henry Baum

      Everything you’re talking about: Windows, mp3 players, androids, have roots in Apple operating systems. Even if you don’t use something with the Apple brand, it’s had a hand in the tech you’re using. That’s what the Jobs stuff is about: he shaped the entire industry, not just Apple.

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    • Henry Baum what are you talking about? The first Mp3 player had absolutely nothing to do with Apple at all. OSX is based off a Unix Kernel. In case you don’t know what that means. Apple’s OSX “The most advanced operating system in the world.” Is a reskinned version of Linux. Apple even uses Linux Redhat for ALL of their servers. True story Microsoft bailed out Apple. Apple wouldn’t exist any longer had it not been for Microsfot. Another FACT Steve Jobs didn’t innovate shit. He was just a terrific salesmen and made it so that all the 12 year old kids who had an MP3 player were uncool and that you had to have an Ipod in order to be cool.

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      • Avatar of Henry Baum

        OK, Apple didn’t revolutionize everything. But they didn’t have a hand in inspiring anything? iTunes was a game changer, so was the first Mac, so was the iPhone, so was the iPad. You can parse which came first, but Apple has been innovative, even if they stole elements from other operating systems.

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  2. Avatar of Ron Fritsch

    I’m a person who has absolutely no opinion on any of these matters one way or the other, but I’ve enjoyed reading this discussion. I’ve always assumed some brainy people on the West Coast like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were fighting it out, stealing one another’s intellectual property, and claiming all the glory that came with it. While the rest of us just sat back and took advantage, as we pleased, of whatever they came up with that we found useful or entertaining. I’m glad I’ve lived in the same world with these people.

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