iBooks Author is Apple’s digital publishing software, used today to create digital books of all kinds.
A great strategy on how to use iBooks Author – and the interactive, multimedia-driven books it allows you to create – is to turn regular content into ‘premium’ editions by including new bonus features, just like the bonus features of a Blu-Ray movie, and then to charge a modest price premium over the original version.
Here are seven ways to create a premium edition of any book, using iBooks Author:
1) Include the audiobook
Get the original author of a book to record themselves reading the book out loud, and even include additional insights if you like that reside strictly in the audio recording. Then, include that recording within the iBook, with a button on each page that allows the reader to touch it and have the author read to them. Not only does this add immense perceived value to the content, but it also can be monetised as a separate revenue stream by selling the audiobook version separately.
2) Include a glossary
Take all the relevant vocabulary from your title – characters, settings, plot elements if a fiction title, or all relevant terminology from a non-fiction work – and utilise the built-in glossary feature of iBooks Author for your premium edition iBook. Make sure to hyperlink the glossary terms as appropriate throughout the main text of your work. Then, monetise the glossary separately as well by producing an iBook that is the ‘dictionary’ of your franchise, and sell that in the iBooks Store as well!
3) Include podcasts, TV interviews, or other media interviews conducted with the author
A curated selection of media appearances made by an author about a new book is a great addition within the actual book! Readers who are connected with an author, or connected with the topic of a book or a book’s characters, often can’t get enough of the additional insight these media appearances bring. The multimedia capabilities of an iBook are perfect to be able to include this bonus content.
4) Include video commentary from the author
This is a big one. Having an author speak, directly, yet casually, to the reader about the book or topics at hand, is something readers have shown they are willing to pay a price premium for. And with the rapidly expanding hard drives on iPhones and iPads, while this video might add to the size of an iBook, it is negligible for the end user. Including video commentary from the author ensures the iBook version will not be ignored by readers, as long as this content is made exclusive to the iBook and otherwise kept off the internet.
5) Include previous books in a series
This practice, which is becoming commonplace in other creative sectors, like video games, makes sense as a consideration for book franchises as well within the iBooks format. Throwing in a previous book in a series, as a bonus inclusion at the end of an iBook, is easy to do and makes it easier for new readers to step up and engage with a franchise knowing they have all the content under one roof.
6) Include hand-written notes, sketches, or photos related to the book’s original production
No matter the genre, or whether we’re talking fiction or non-fiction, readers love to peek behind-the-scenes at the production process of any creative work. Combine that with the knowledge that high-resolution images look great on any current iPhone or iPad, and it’s a no-brainer to include photography, outlines, hand-written notes, or images of any other documents which illuminate the creative process for readers.
7) Include early access to the follow-up book
With iBooks Author and the Apple ecosystem (including iTunes Connect and the iBooks Store itself), publishing new updates to existing titles is easy and seamless. Letting readers know early access to a follow-up book will be made available via a title update to an original title is a great value-add.
Bradley Metrock is CEO of Score Publishing, a digital media company with the mission of helping people become better interactive content creators. The company partners on content development, offers digital content creation training, hosts several national conferences on digital content creation (including the iBooks Author Conference), and owns and operates leading NCCA-compliant certifications in digital content creation.