Apple Will Break Open The Digital Book Floodgates

iWork secret life as ZIP file revealed, includes PDF preview

In the case of the new iWork files, changing the file extension to .zip and expanding the archive reveals the as-expected XML document and plist files (for the document and its formatting) as well as a little PDF surprise — a preview version of the file. What this means for you is that you can send an iWork file to a friend or co-worker and regardless of their operating system choice or installed software base, they can “view” your document by unzipping it and opening the PDF.

Yes! It’s true!

It’s XML down there! An unZipped Pages file:


Zipped up just like any ePub eBook file! Except it can do much more!

This is XML from Keynote:


Notice the capabilities: animation, UI status, and soundtrack!

This is XML from Pages:


Notice the capabilities: video, footnote, bibliography, annotations!

Check out Apple’s developer page about XML — this one is about Keynote (notice especially how they changed the 1.x file format for total XML!).

Let me spell out what this means.

You will not need a developer to create a digital book.

You will be able to do something just like what Vook:


and Enhanced Editions:


and CSI creator Anthony Zuiker:


are doing — using iWork, iMovie, and all standard software tools on any Mac!

No programming required!

This will break open the door to real artists who can envision what digital books can be as things in themselves.

Going all XML like this, making things simple, is how Steve Jobs wins:


Hop to 3:22 in this video to see a demo of Pages:

Creating a digital book will be that simple. The only things currently not in Pages are Preview and Create Digital Book menu options.

These digital books will be launchable, just like apps. Apple will not go the file route, making people first launch a reading application and then scroll scroll scroll through a list of files.

People might object that this will fill Home Screens with too many things. I insist that Apple has already thought of that and there will be a method to segregate and organize digital books.

All of this is the fatal stake in the heart of ePub and all eInk devices.

Because once people see digital books, they won’t settle for tarted-up text files.

If you’re a writer who has been sitting impatiently, thinking the digital book movement has been passing you by due to its expense and complexity, your day is coming. Get your plans together to bring them into creation.

Thanks to snoslicer8 and Jonathan (copyhacker) Vaught for supplying sample iWork files for this post; to Moriah Jovan for some XML parsing, and Gear Diary for the Level 26 screensnap.

16 Responses to Apple Will Break Open The Digital Book Floodgates

  1. Moriah Jovan says:

    Man, I can’t WAIT to get my hands on THAT.

  2. […] Cane on Apple’s long term strategy for ebooks! You’ll like it: Here Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Michael Kaiser (Arts in Challenging Times)Three […]

  3. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by mikecane: @MoriahJovan @geardiary

  4. […] Cane, ebook guru, has a post titled, Apple Will Break Open The Digital Book Floodgates, about how Apple is creating a digital platform for creating ebooks that doesn’t require any […]

  5. Thank you, Mike. This catches me up. I believe!! I’m an artist & I write, I’m making my eBook plans.

  6. stefn says:

    I know you know but Apple will add that Create Book button, not out of the goodness of its heart, but because of the App Store.

    So Apple will take on all the production and distribution and many of the marketing tasks of publishing.

    And all publishing will become App publishing, if not App Store publishing.

  7. […] Cane, ebook guru, has a post titled, Apple Will Break Open The Digital Book Floodgates, about how Apple is creating a digital platform for creating ebooks that doesn’t require any […]

  8. ianf says:

    You wrote it back in November 2009. Four months later, and seven weeks before iPad appears, the key question is, of course, has Apple integrated those functions into the iWork, so that hypertextual multimedia ebooks can be created right off the ‘pad itself? In essence every unit then becoming a painless ebook-compiler/ generator.

    That would indeed be a KillerApp™, and flood the iBookstore ;-)) If it is coming, it’s no wonder Jobs kept schtum about it, hoarding that information until just before the iPad lands in Apple stores in April!

    [ found here courtesy of Mike Cane ]

    • mikecane says:

      No, those capabilities have not been put into the latest version of iWork. Apple moves deliberately and at a slower pace than I like. Since I expect another Apple event before the iPad goes on sale, perhaps those functions will be finished and added. But I doubt it. Apple is too busy courting the print publishers right now and wants to woo them over. Once eCrap ePub FAILs, Apple can make a case for its version of digital books.

      • ianf says:

        OK, I get it. I, too, expect another iPad-centric event in April, presumably detailing the deals Apple has struck with content producers/ aggregators in between. I’m not sure they are willing to wait for ePub’s eventual death, though. Since many of those newly-won publishers will have been sold on the promise of easy ePub-creation, Apple will not want to piss them off. In fact, I expect the (desktop) Pages, etc, to allow saving docs in that format. And then, quietly, perhaps in the fall?, iWork update will sport the hypertext multimedia books….

        • mikecane says:

          Whoever said ePub creation was “easy”? Have you ever frikkin done it? Aside from Atlantis word processor on the PC side, it’s a nightmare.

          • ianf says:

            Actually, I sad “… sold on the promise of easy ePub-creation,” not that it was easy. Done ePub myself? no [created plenty of other content of no lesser complexity though]. All that doesn’t preclude that, in order to woo the publishers, Apple may be adding “Save as ePub…” option to Pages app – which at least should qualify as “uncomplicated.”

  9. ianf says:

    Administrivia: you need to do something about the justified column layout of the comments – this is not the New York Times. What was wrong with left-aligned rhetorical question.

    • mikecane says:

      This is WordPress.COM, not .ORG. I don’t host this and I use the free templates that are available. Modifying them would require an annual fee I’m unwilling to pay.

  10. Dan says:

    You can create multimedia content for the iPad now, as in the following:

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