Can a School’s Yearbook Work as an EBook?

English: The iPad on a table in the Apple case

Image via Wikipedia

Apple Rumors and Revelations

Last week’s announcement from Apple about iBooks 2, textbooks, and iBooks Author immediately grabbed my attention. This was mainly because I had been reading rumors for a couple of weeks that Apple might be doing something with textbooks; and since my school had implemented a 1 to 1 iPad program this year, I was pretty excited that the possibility of our students having their textbooks available in a iPad friendly format sooner than I had expected. I didn’t expect e-textbooks for my subjects to be available now, but the thought of that day moving closer had me pretty pumped.

So, when I got the email from Apple, I downloaded iBooks 2 and iPad U and did a little bit of exploring.  But this post really isn’t about that. It is about what was at the bottom of the email: the almost inconsequential blurb about iBooks Author.  I read the blurb about the program for Macs that lets you publish an iBook and then moved on because I don’t have a Mac. Didn’t really apply to me.

But maybe it could–or should…

Is It Time to Change?

Over the weekend I started thinking about iBooks Author and what it might mean for yearbooks.  This line of thinking is largely due to the fact that as a yearbook adviser in the middle of a push for a major deadline, everything seems to lead back to the yearbook at some point. It also comes from the fact that yearbook advisers spend a lot of time worrying about their yearbook budget and hoping that they will come up with enough money to cover it.

Could iBooks Author offer a viable alternative to the traditional yearbook?  If a school could use this to make the yearbook it might be a way to eliminate all those budget headaches yearbook advisers share every year.  A lot of schools have done away with yearbooks because of the cost associated with them.  I find myself wondering if that day may come for my school; I actually find myself wondering that more and more as the years pass.

We have all read, heard, or seen the effect of ereaders on magazines, newspapers, and bookstores. As more and more publishers move their products to digital formats, I now find myself asking if the traditional, hard copy yearbook should make a jump into the digital realm before it goes the way of the T-Rex.

The idea of basically self-publishing a school yearbook with iBooks Author and having people download it from the iBooks store is pretty enticing.  Yeah, Apple keeps 30%, but I am willing to bet that is drastically better than any rate any school gets from one of the traditional school yearbook companies–even if the school is lucky enough to actually make money from its yearbook.

With the elimination of printing costs (which are the biggest portion of a yearbook’s cost) books that lose money could shift to making money almost immediately. A yearbook budget would be reduced to hardware and software needs.

Of course, all of this would depend on the answer to one question…

Will People Go for It?

Are people open to the idea of buying their yearbook in an ebook format? Or could this be one of those ideas that end up of the list of dead yearbook trends like cd or video supplements? Would people want integrated video, links, slide shows, and other multimedia goodies if it meant giving up the experience of having their best friend sign their yearbook? Even if we decided to do this, should we use iBooks Author or something else?

These are some of the nagging questions I have now. I need to do more research and thinking before I come to any definitive answer.

What do you think?

Advertisements