We are up against a wall with the digital edition of a book that is about to be released in print unable to be approved by Apple because it presents features that are able to be replicated in the iBookstore.
Quite disappointing for us as we have been publishing on DPS for 18 months now and would rather use the toolset we know and pay for than spend time wrestling with a new workflow. However, it is easy to see why Apple has taken the stance.
As I see it, we have three ways to move forward, but I am looking for insight from the community on whether any of these seems especially prone to success:
1. Appeal to Apple with a list of similar apps that have been published recently. While this would be our easiest route, it seems to me to be the least likely to bear fruit. Apple has said outright that what's in the store is not an indiication of the current approval policies, so I don't see this one working out. I think Bob Levine had success with this, but it seems like a gamble to me.
2. Add features to the app that differentiate it from an iBook. One post somewhere in these forums suggested adding web-enabled content like an online survey or some social media interation using Web Overlays or HTML Stacks. My fear is that I don't have a great feel for the limitations of the iBook platform (EPUB3-esque) that I can say for certain what would differentiate us. Does anyone have any examples that show off iBooks being pushed to the limit?
3. Our last resort, and one that I know next to nothing about, is to convert the title to the iBookstore just as Apple is suggesting. This would mean throwing out the app approach and leaving DPS behind and takes us into very unfamiliar territory. Am I right in thinking that going the EPUB route would essentially mean starting over when it comes to things like videos and slideshows?
Thank you in advance for any and all insight you can provide.
For #2, here are some I believe are available in DPS but not using iBook:
1) Pinch and zoom images
2) Multi-state objects for custom interactivity
3) Scrollable frames
How much interactivity have you added currently? In your opening paragraph you mention it is a digital edition of a book. How much extra does the digital edition add over just being the print version in a DPS format?
Hi Neil! Thanks for the quick reply.
We have not utilized pich and zoom images (just pages) or scrollable frames in this book, though we have used MSOs to create slideshows but not to leverage customized functionality.
So far, we have used movies and slideshows, which are arguably quite tame. We shyed away from scrolling frames due to reports of poor performance on the New iPad.
After some brainstorming with our team, we have begun to explore the possibility of re-cooking the app as a multi-issue app (we already have DPS Pro for our magazine) and then using it as an umbrella app for a series of same-category apps we are working on right now.
I've been able to uncover a few other apps doing the same thing in the app store now. Do you know anyone using DPS to create their own bookshelf right now?
Steve, you might consider using some graphically advanced typography, which is rather difficult to achieve with iBooks.
That, together with functional object states and scrollable frames should make a strong point. The idea of multi-issue bookshelf is also good.
And of course try the direct discussion with Apple. It works (according to Bob Levine)...
Thanks Tomek. While I'm liking the advanced interactivity (we use as much as we can in our digital magazine) I'm worried about the timeline on getting this book out and think that a digital bookshelf might just be the easiest way for us to solve this problem while also setting us up for a better experience in the future.
I think we'll move forwad with that while keeping in mind that if we get a rejection on that new app, too, we'll be back to the drawing board building up some beefier interactivity.
Thanks again to both of you for your insight. I l ook forward to reporting back with our experience in a week or so.
I had an App rejected a few months ago, that Apple said should be a book.
When I pointed out that it had, scrollable frames, slide shows and links to external sites, they just approved it without a word.
Sounds to me you have some interaction in there, oh, I also added verticle navigation on some articles.
Check out China NewYear, it's free, and will give you an idea of things to do, if you've not already done them.
Don't be afraid to go back to Apple! if your polite, as I was, it will probably work.
I also told them that we already had PDF's available for people to read electronically, and that adding DPS functionality enhanced the user experience.
Hope that's of some use.
Hi Alistair. Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll take a look at the app you recommended.
How long did it take you to appeal to Apple?
We are about done with our digital bookshelf (multi-issue app) and aside from the need for additional download fees from Adobe, this seems like the quickest route and one that sets us up for future books (regardless of their interactivity).
I'm curious how long it took you to sweet talk Apple into seeing the light in your case, though. I've also heard from lots of folks (in the DPS and app development worlds) that different reviewers will handle seemingly identical scenarios differently. I think in the long run, I'm saving myself a few gray hairs this way.
....Plus I'm convinced that Apps do not see a human at the initial stage. I bet there is a quick "check box approval" system that does a huge amount of filtering. My China App was so clearly not a iBook, that it couldn't have been looked at by a human first off.
If I was right, wouldn't it be good if Apple shared their basic criteria (just tick box style) save everyone time!