Why an iBook?

Why an iBook?

We see some compelling advantages in looking over the horizon and publishing the first edition of 49 Faces of Alaskan Adventure as an enhanced multimedia iBook. We appreciate the:

  1. Ability to create beautiful page layouts that incorporate text, video, audio, interactive galleries, and embedded web content;
  2. Appeal to the next generation of readers and explorers;
  3. Access to the global network that revolutionized music purchases;
  4. Ease with which we can offer updates and expanded future editions;
  5. Rapidly expanding audience for this innovative new media format.
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Don’t get me wrong.  I love books:  paperback novels, hardbound volumes, coffee table books, anthologies, old text books. The hot pink used book credit slip from my favorite local bookstore occupies a cherished nook in my wallet. Box-loads of recycled stories furnish my growing Alaskana collection.

Why would we venture to create a digital book? We often share our vision for the 49 Faces of Alaskan Adventure iBook project with friends and potential participants over coffee, around campfires, or in river eddies.  Folks express enthusiastic support for our ideas. However, it’s common to hear, “I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of an enhanced digital multimedia book.”

Lately, I’ve been reading more and more novels with the iBooks App on my iPad or iPhone.  My iBooks library contains a wide variety of reading materials.  I can read PDF’s and open source e-pub books, as well as Apple’s iBook format.  The iBook format offers far more that the ability to carry a lot of text with me.  Apple has enabled authors to create books that include video, audio, image galleries, interactive images, 3D models, and embedded web content.

Imagine a reading a book, swiping a photo with your finger, and viewing video content on a full page. Another image expands into an interactive gallery. Listen to a personal story or interview in the subject’s voice.

Among the first powerful demonstrations I witnessed of enhanced iBooks’ potential was E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth  textbook. I loved studying biology in high school and university, and I taught biology and earth sciences to Alaskan students for years. I was enthralled with how embedded video, 3D molecules, and interactive graphics redefined the textbook experience.

I discovered Apple’s elegant and simple tools for authoring, enhancing, and publishing interactive iBooks. I envisioned developing a project to share Alaskan experiences.  When I considered all of the amazing people I’ve met who share my love of exploring the Alaskan wilderness, the 49 Faces project was born.

If our 49 Faces of Alaskan Adventure enhanced iBook were published today, our initial audience would be limited to iPad owners. Over 150,000 million iPads have been sold since their debut in 2010.  As I travel, I see these devices everywhere, from remote Alaskan villages to busy international airports. Many of these are in the hands of the next generation. Students everywhere are discovering that innovative educators can transform ubiquitous media consumption devices into learning and teaching tools.

We don’t expect our audience to be limited to iPad owners with interests in adventures, wilderness travel, and Alaska. By the time we publish our iBook, anyone with the latest version of the Mac operating system will be able to view enhanced iBooks on their computer screens.  In June, Apple announced that the release of their next OSX version (OS 10.9 or Mavericks) in Fall 2013, will bring enhanced iBooks to Mac.  We’ve read a few rumors anticipating that enhanced iBooks may also be coming to iPhone and iPod Touch with iOS 7.  We’ll soon learn whether these prove true.

Just as we carefully choose the gear we pack for our outdoor adventures, we deliberately selected the iBook format to depict the rich experiences shared by project participants. We may eventually publish versions of 49 Faces in other formats, such as e-pub, that don’t require readers to use Apple’s iBooks app to enjoy the stories and images. However; we believe that iBooks Author will enable us to publish more powerful portrayals of Alaskan adventurers and the dramatic landscapes they explore.

Did I mention that I love books? I love music, too.  I have collections of vinyl albums, cassette tapes, and CD’s. A few years back, iTunes changed the way I collect and listen to music. iBooks is changing the way I experience stories.  I hope our first iBook, 49 Faces of Alaskan Adventure, will find its way into your treasured reading collection.



  1. yay iBooks!! this oughta be an AWESOME book!!

  2. Apple just released the new operating system, Maverick, which allows all Mac users to access iBooks on any device, including the computer. This means that all Mac users can now access the “49 Faces of Alaskan Adventure” iBook. Upgrade now: http://www.apple.com/osx/

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