Demibooks Composer: Building Interactive Books Directly On iPad

Interactive books built on an iPadDemibooks was among the startups gathered in San Franscisco September 12th to 14th at Tech Crunch Disrupt. TCD is where tech luminaries, start-ups and hackers, and assorted geeks meet to showcase breakout technologies and the people behind them.

Demibooks has released ‘Composer’ in iTunes App Store. Composer is a publishing platform with which an author or designer can create an interactive book right on their iPad. When I read in my email early this morning that the introductory price for Composer was ‘free’, I went immediately to iTunes and downloaded it.

Everything I had been able to learn from my  research about Demibooks Composer convinced me that it would truly be a major breakthrough for creating enhanced and interactive books.

Therefore, when I saw that Composer was being offered as a free app I was curious to learn what their business model might be. The missing piece of the puzzle was a service Demibooks calls ‘PrintShop‘. The name is a bit odd considering that nothing is ever printed. A more appropriate name could be ‘CompilerShop’. I’ll explain in a moment.

First, let’s look at the process of building your book with Composer. Gather your assets (graphics and audio) for the book. Demibooks does not yet support videos, but animation can be created using sequential art. It includes other cool features such as behaviors and physics. You build and preview your book app directly on your iPad.

Once your book is complete, you can email it to family and friends. The recipient will need to install the free Demibook Composer app on their iPad. That’s great that friends and family can see your book, but how do you get it into the hands of iPad users around the world?

In steps PrintShop. Up to now, you’ve created a limited distribution book. However, if you want to have a stand alone app, one that you can submit to Apple’s AppStore, your book will need to be compiled. PrintShop will do that for you, starting at $499. Let’s just round that up to $500. You will also need your own developers account with Apple, which is $100. So now you’ve laid out $600 just to get your app into the AppStore. Your next job is to get it to stand out among 500,000 other apps (see previous post re: discovery). While $600 is a low entry bar compared to the thousands of dollars needed to develop an interactive book a year ago, it deserves serious planning for independent authors and illustrators.

I’m looking forward to using Demibooks Composer. They appear to be off to  a good start. It will be interesting to see how they continue to perfect the platform and make it be profitable for all.

1 Comment to "Demibooks Composer: Building Interactive Books Directly On iPad"

  1. October 3, 2011 - 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for taking a look at Composer!! Here are some video tutorials that you may find helpful Please are eager to learn more about your experience with Composer.

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