E- books

The E-book expansion

      This last week’s work culminated in getting eight duet books uploaded to iTunes to celebrate the advent of the iPad Pro. The Pro has the size of screen that can make these duet books a feasibility.

     Please check the listings under Recent Publications to see the titles, covers and to links to iTunes on the appropriate pages.  While many may prefer to practice and play at home from paper, we are frequently in motion to gather in the different aspects of the musical life we’re carving out for ourselves.  Taking your library with you on an iPad Pro can be a huge help in feeling well supplied for every eventuality and every student.

     When I was sending out some notice on Face Book about these duets prepped for the iPad, one colleague wrote to say “don’t forget us Android users”.  I told him that in fact I’ve had a dozen books uploaded to the Google Play Store for three years and there have been no sales whatsoever. Additionally, he was only the second person in those three years to express any interest in having things available for Android. So what conclusion could be drawn from that?

     When I told him that I had a dozen books in the Google Store he said he had not known. He subsequently explored there and made a purchase. I’m glad he brought it to my attention, and I’m glad he got something.

     I have no way of knowing the ratio of iPad to Android tablets being used in the musical community.  But by virtue of the sales I’ve experienced, it seems to be about 99 to 1 in favor of iPad.

     Some of the reason has to have been that until only recently, the Android tablets didn’t have a large enough screen to make reading music from them a promising adventure.  Other factors might be that making books for the iPad through iBooksAuthor, I can add audio and video clips that greatly enhance the interaction of these books. To my knowledge, no such capabilities exist in the Android book system.

     If you have either a Mac or a PC, these books can be purchased through iTunes and viewed on your computer – in many instances this means a considerably larger screen than any tablet now in common circulation.

     Things change all the time. I have seen a Panasonic 20” tablet with 4K resolution and it is pretty scary. Right now it is too expensive for general use but in time that will come down.  There is a very interesting Sony tablet at 13.3”, very thin and light – and flexible – but basically “just” a reader. But it represents a possible new avenue.

     I don’t think the E format will ever replace real paper books in humans’ hands. But the E versions do have a significant place as a secondary library resource for individual musicians. The demographics aren’t there for the big publishers but for a smaller one like myself, can take the plunge and at least get in the pool. Only time will tell if the pool will get warmer or just be drained.

I’d be happy to hear your opinions on this.