David Sparks:

I just spent several hours playing with iBook Author’s media tools inserting movies, keynote animations, and interactive pictures into my new secret project and it ruined me. There is no turning back. As an author and a reader, I will never look at a static page e-book the same. While for some types of books, like novels, words on a page are fine, for a lot of books the failure to include media just became inexcusable.

I’m now considering outsourcing all of my thinking to David because his entire post sums up my own impressions of Apple’s Education Event.

When I first saw iBooks Author, I went through the usual initial emotional paralysis experienced by any geek as I virtually elbow-checked my way to the front of the Mac App Store line.

But then I started thinking bigger picture. If it succeeds, iBooks Author represents the first layman’s tool for creating a kind of new composite media that’s likely to become a dominant artform this century.

The marketing emphasis with iBooks Author is clearly on textbooks, but more generally, iBooks Author is a tool for blending previously siloed media into a single thing.

The “open” internet today is rich with media, but they mostly stand alone. And e-books are honestly just glorified pictures of their paper ancestors locked behind glass. iBooks Author may change all of that.

Want to quote something someone said on a podcast? Don’t transcribe it—losing tone and inflection. Drop in an audio snippet.

Trying to describe a highly technical workflow or build a software manual? Why not put a screencast on the page instead bloating the book with unnecessary words?

Would pictures and screenshots tell a story better? Embed a gallery.

Books, particularly technical and educational books, are going to get both shorter and richer at the same time. And anyone will be able to make them.