23 June 2011

app vs. epub

Since this keeps coming up in discussions and in questions with people, I thought I just post a few quick thoughts on apps vs. epub as formats to produce your book.

Both formats are solid and can do a lot of the same things, it really comes down to what you want to do with it and how you want to market it. 'It' meaning, your book. Marketing an ePub is different than marketing an app - I may go into greater depth on this in another posting, this one will be short and sweet.

Typically, apps cost more to produce... or at least have in the past. With ePub3 and all that html5 has to offer, you can do some damage to any sized budget with either format!

Approach your decision like this: If your audience would consider your project a 'book' more than an app, it may be best to build it in ePub so that it resides on the users bookshelf. Storing books together makes sense and is easier for the user to find your content.

You may also want to ask yourself, is it a consumable or a legacy product. So, will people read it once and forget about it or will they want to come back to it time and time again. If the latter is the case then an app may be better for you as you can update the app over time, whereas epubs, once delivered, are pretty much done.

Apps allow for in-game purchasing, which is something that isn't quite there with ePubs, or at least not in conjunction with all devices that ePubs run on.

You may also want to consider your audience. Producing an app for Mac OS only sells to that group, you will need to build another app to go after the 'others' in that space. An ePub is good for nearly every reading device, including desktops, laptops and smart phones. So, it's a bit more versatile.

Some non-fiction titles are beautiful apps - check out Elements - it is a work of art, but I would consider to be a coffee table book if it were printed.... maybe that's the type of titles that should go app - coffee table books?

My personal opinion is one that favours curation... I like to put my books on the shelf and see their covers... or someday when I have enough, ...spines. The universal use of ePub files is also attractive, meaning I only have to build it once.

I know it's short, but it's not really that difficult. It really comes down to what you want to do with it.

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