Apple’s iBooks and iCloud – big steps in the right direction but are they ‘there’ yet?

Apple’s iBooks and iCloud – big steps in the right direction but are they ‘there’ yet?

We all know that one of the biggest issues for publishers, authors and agents in the digital age is discoverability. It’s crucial that any digital product is widely available and noticeable.

So naturally I was thrilled to see that Apple’s Books (iBooks and Audiobook downloads) have now been brought into the iTunes software proper.

This is a serious improvement on the visibility of Books in the world’s most successful digital content store. It enables customers to buy books for their devices without needing to use their iPod/Phone/Pad to browse.  But it’s not perfect yet – you still can’t read the books without owning an iOS device.

Apple also made several big announcements this week at their Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), including the new iOS 5 and OSX Lion, but the service that got everyone buzzing was iCloud.

iCloud is Apple’s latest revolutionary customer service, promising to create a PC Free era for its iOS products, and synching Apps, Music and iBooks. For more information click here.

Similar to Amazon’s excellent Whispersync service, the iCloud tracks your position in a book across all your devices, should improve the reading experience in iBooks significantly.

As with most cloud systems this will let you read whatever you want, whenever you want – right?

Well no, not quite.

Although it is in the small print, Apple appear to have no intention of extending the iBooks app to work on PCs or Macs, at least for the time being...

‘You acknowledge that any iBookstore Product purchased on a computer will not be viewable on any computer, and will be viewable only on an iOS device with compatible software.

Quoted from Apple’s iBooks terms of Sale.

Hopefully this will change over time but, until then, the many alternative platforms and retailers like Amazon and Kobo will probably steal the show for those readers (like me), who are attached to reading on many devices – including their computers.