Review: Vellum, the ebook generator for Mac with added prettiness

vellum

One of the great things about technology is the way it has democratized the publishing world. Today, anyone can publish an ebook on iBooks and Amazon, whether as a freebie or a commercial book.

Creating an ebook isn’t difficult. If you’ve written your book in Pages, you can export to EPUB–the format needed for iBooks–direct from the app. There is also the excellent Calibre app (featured in our How-to guide), which will convert just about any file format to any type of ebook. There’s also iBooks Author, but that has the disadvantage that if you use it to create your book, you’re not allowed to sell the iBooks version through other channels.

But as I found out when I came to create my own ebook, generating an ebook that looks attractive on all of the different devices available is a rather tougher challenge. That’s the job the Mac app Vellum claims to do, so I put it to the test …  Read more

Amazon releases Kindle Textbook Creator for Mac, a cross-platform iBooks Author competitor

Kindle Textbook Creator Beta Mac

Apple first released its iBooks Author Mac app for creating interactive textbooks for the iBooks Store back in 2012, and now Amazon is delivering its own textbook composing Mac app for publishing to the Kindle Store. Kindle Textbook Creator, announced today, is available in beta for both Mac and PC with the competitive benefit of publishing to the cross-platform Kindle Store, which is available on iOS, Mac, Android, and more. Read more

Mac Starter Pack: unleash your iTunes gift card and upgrade your Mac with these great apps

App Starter Pack Mac 2014

Let’s assume you unwrapped a brand new Mac this year (awesome!) or scored a ton of iTunes/iBooks/App Store credit (still awesome!) and you need ideas for awesome apps to buy and check out for your new MacBook or iMac. Tons of new apps have launched on the Mac this year and even more have added new features and remain essential. Below are some of my favorite Mac apps that I’ve used needed from time to time or even use daily and should give you a solid place to start whether your a brand new Mac user or Mac veteran looking to do more with your machine. Read more

Some judges in ebook appeal express sympathy with Apple’s position

ebook-trial

Some of the judges in Apple’s appeal of last year’s ebook trial verdict appear sympathetic to the company’s argument that its deals with publishers helped, rather than hindered, competition, reports Reuters.

Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs asked a Department of Justice lawyer why it was wrong for the publishers to get together to defeat a “monopolist” that was using “predatory pricing.”

“It’s like the mice getting together to put a bell on the cat,” Jacobs said.

The court had earlier heard evidence that at the time Apple entered the ebooks market, Amazon held a 90% market share …  Read more

Apple’s appeal of last year’s ebook ruling begins today

ebook-trial

Apple is having a busy time in court at the moment. Not only is it defending the iPod DRM class action, but is this morning beginning its appeal of the verdict of last year’s ebook trial.

The court ruled that Apple was guilty of anti-competitive practices in two ways. First, the company asked publishers to switch from wholesale pricing – where publishers sold in bulk to retailers, who set their own prices – to an agency model, where publishers set retail prices and retailers took a commission. The court ruled that this reduced price competition …  Read more

Apple’s new ‘Change is in the Air’ ads show novel uses for the iPad Air 2

ipad-air-2-ad

Apple released a new iPad Air 2 campaign during Sunday football today showcasing various unique physical and software applications for the iPad Air 2.

Featuring the song “Who Needs You” by The Orwells [iTunes Store, YouTube], the ad is a departure from last year’s iPad Air which were focused on a single user.

iPad Air 2 isn’t just the thinnest and lightest iPad we’ve ever created. It’s the most powerful. From the studio to the classroom, the field to the garage, it’s helping people discover new and better ways to do the things they love. Imagine what you’ll do with it.

Microsite embedded below: Read more

Eddy Cue discusses Apple’s ongoing ebooks litigation in Fortune interview: “we have to fight for the truth”

Apple SVP Eddy Cue with Beats founders Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine

Apple SVP Eddy Cue with Beats founders Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine

In a new interview with Fortune, Apple’s SVP of Internet and Software Services Eddy Cue opened up about Apple’s ongoing ebooks litigation ahead of the company’s December 15th appearance before a federal appeals court. Apple formally appealed the ebooks antitrust ruling earlier this year after a judge ruled in favor of the Department of Justice in 2013 claiming that Apple conspired with ebook publishers to raise prices.

“We feel we have to fight for the truth,” says Cue. “Luckily, Tim feels exactly like I do,” he continues, referring to Apple CEO Tim Cook, “which is: You have to fight for your principles no matter what. Because it’s just not right.”

Earlier last month, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote approved a $450 million settlement under which Apple will not be forced to pay any fees if it wins the upcoming appeal. Read more

Apple granted final approval for $450 million ebooks settlement despite judge’s concerns

iBooks Mac iPad iPod

Following preliminary approval it received in August, Apple has been granted the final court approval it needed in its $450 million ebook settlement, according to a Reuters report.

During a hearing in Manhattan, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote approved what she called an “unusual” accord. It calls for Apple to pay $400 million to as many as 23 million consumers if the company’s appeal of a ruling finding it liable for antitrust violations is unsuccessful.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote previously expressed concern over the proposed settlement citing a clause in the agreement that she called “most troubling”, but today called the settlement agreement “within the range of those that may be approved as fair and reasonable.” Read more

Apple acquired BookLamp startup for $10-15 million earlier this year (Update: confirmed)

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 8.38.51 PM

Apple acquired a company called BookLamp earlier this year for somewhere between $10-15 million, according to information uncovered by TechCrunch.

The Idaho-based startup created what was referred to as “Pandora for books,” including a system known as the Book Genome Project that could recommend books based on analysis of the text and previous ratings of other books by users (very similar to Pandora’s Music Genome Project, which does the same thing for musical analysis).

Read more

Apple settles out of jury trial in $840 million e-books pricing suit

iBooks Mac iPad iPod

Apple settled out of court in the latest e-books price-fixing suit brought against the company, allowing the company to dodge an $840 million bullet, as reported by Bloomberg. The case, brought against the Cupertino company by multiple states and consumers, was set to go before a jury next month, but that will no longer be necessary.

The terms of the settlement have not yet been revealed, and the opposing sides of the case have one month to request formal acceptable of their agreement by the court.

Read more

Coming in iOS 8: WiFi calling, Tips app, FaceTime call waiting, iBooks preinstalled, much more

iOS-8-features

There’s a lot of new features coming in iOS 8 that you might have missed during Apple’s presentation today. Apple briefly flashed the slide pictured above and in it listed a bunch of new features that it didn’t talk about in length or at all during its keynote. Some of them include a “Tips app”, panorama on iPad, WiFi calling, FaceTime call waiting, rich text editing in Notes, iBooks preinstalled, and accessibility improvements like multi-device support for MFi hearing aids and the ability to exit Guided Access mode using TouchID. Read more