What is the future of interactive ebooks, according to Adobe? (Because right now, it sucks)

I work in the school edition (for most of the manuals). I am a graphic designer and I've worked with interactive books for 2010. The current situation in the production and distribution of interactive books sucks. And I must say I am puzzled by the decisions and strategies of Adobe. By using the tools and technologies Adobe, it seems impossible to create interactive manuals which can be sold and distributed to a wide audience.

Let me explain what I mean, and tell me if this is your case... Am I missing something?

I - interactive PDFs suck

If you want to create an interactive PDF that you want to distribute freely and that people will read on their computers, it's great. You have a lot of tools to create interactivity, navigation, videos, sounds and other place. Rich in creative tools, easy to use... It's great. But if you want to read this great interactive PDF, you have created... on a Tablet (that's what an eBook is supposed to allow, is it not?), then you're fucked. On the iPad, Adobe Reader software cannot play videos, sounds, forms and of course anything in Flash technology. You can only use hyperlinks and build a kind of navigation. What makes a very lame "interactive book".

Of course, you can use PDF Expert or ezPDF Reader to play videos and use your interactive PDF forms, but what happens if you want to sell the book (you know, to pay the salaries of your employees, etc..)?

If you want to sell the book, you have two options:

OPTION 1-selling DRM-free and ask everyone to please do not illegally distribute (.. .and if you know something about human nature, this is a lost cause) or...

OPTION 2-sales with a DRM, which makes your PDF impossible to read in an application that manages video or any kind of interactivity. If you get stuck trying to sell an 'interactive' PDF which is basically just a normal PDF. Sucking of interactive PDF files.

II - EPUB suck

EPUB is excellent for novels and books without any fancy layout. I get it. But if you want to have control over typography, page layout and design of your book (you know, what a graphic designer did for a living), well the epub gives you nothing. Layout fixed EPUB is difficult to work with and InDesign gives near zero tools to make them. You must work in the code and twist it. So, is this the solution? Is the answer to what Adobe? Zero Adobe tools and coding in TextWrangler?

What about EPUB 3? I'm still waiting to see any good and beautiful interactive book using this technology. Even the examples on the International Digital Publishing Forum are unstable. The industry is very slow in adopting this format, to say the least. It seems dead on arrival. InDesign can export to Epub3, but is not any tool to help you to create interactivity. It doesn't seem like Adobe is really pushing this technology in any case. EPUB suck.

III - Sodo from Digital Publishing Suite

DPS is very good if you want to create apps just for iPad. If you want to create content for Android, it's a little more complicated, but it can be done. But if you want your DPS interactive books to be read on a PC or a MAC, it seems impossible (did I miss something?). You cannot export your book to these platforms. 99% of our audience are students. Their tool is a computer. They do not attend the class with an iPad. They bring their computer. So that we cannot make the manuals for them. DPS sucks.

So, what is the future of interactive books according to Adobe?

1 - is the interactive PDF? Have we not wait until the Adobe Reader software can read really interactive Adobe PDF with DRM?

2 - is the EPUB? Then why Adobe seem to be so inactive in the development of tools that could help create the good interactive EPUB?

3-is DPS? So is it possible to read on a computer? If not, is aware that the manual whole publishing industry cannot use this technology in Adobe?

IMO, Adobe gives up interactive PDFs because it was mostly flash based, it doesn't care EPUB3 and offers a minimum support just because a designer in need and he puts all his energy into the DPS and tries to create a format that he order.

For now, interactive design and production books suck. Am I missing something?

Something is in the wind. I can feel it... but I can't talk about... Stay tuned.

Tags: InDesign

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