It's not another alternative for individual authors looking to self-publish (at least for now), but professional publishers looking to create and distribute interactive e-books now have a new option to consider in the form of Inkling Habitat. Initially available to select publishers in an early adopter program (a broader rollout is planned for later this year), the platform promises to make producing interactive e-books at scale more affordable, with the program itself completely free provided publishers agree to sell their books through Inkling's store. As mocoNews notes, however, Inkling isn't asking publishers for exclusive rights, so they'll also be able to sell them elsewhere if they choose -- the iPad is the initial target platform, with HTML5-based web publishing also planned. The system is also cloud-based, meaning that a group of folks in various locations will be able to collaborate on a single book, something that Inkling hopes will distinguish it further from Apple's own iBooks Author; its CEO even went as far as to use the analogy of Habitat being the Final Cut Pro to iBooks Author's iMovie.
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Inkling(R) Launches Inkling Habitat(TM), the First-Ever Digital Printing Press for Professionals
Scalable cross-platform publishing environment brings the digital publishing transition to its next phase


SAN FRANCISCO & NEW YORK, Feb 14, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Inkling(R), creators of the standard for interactive content experiences on iPad, today launched Inkling Habitat, a breakthrough software environment that represents the most significant advance in publishing technology since the advent of desktop publishing in the 1980s. Inkling Habitat gives professional publishers everything they need to create and publish media-rich interactive content for both iPad and the Web, without desktop software and without the constraints of the printed page.

"To reinvent the book, we had to reinvent the printing press," said Matt MacInnis, CEO of Inkling, who unveiled Habitat for the first time today in a keynote at the Tools of Change for Publishing conference in New York. "It's not about replicating the printed page on a screen. It's about making a first-class interactive experience on every device you target, and this is the first time publishers can do it reliably and at scale."

Inkling Habitat allows publishers to deploy standards-based content that includes guided tours, 3-D exhibits, interactive quizzes, and high definition video, in addition to impeccable text content. Everything can be instantly published--and updated--with a single click. Habitat will be available immediately to select partners, with broad availability later this year.

"When Inkling debuted its first textbooks two years ago, we set the bar for interactive content experiences on iPad," said MacInnis. "Now we're setting the bar for how interactive content is built, providing the entire industry with a means to scale interactive publishing into a viable business for the first time."

Open, flexible, and engineered for industrial use, Inkling Habitat is the first integrated publishing environment built for professional publishers.

-- Cross-platform with a click. Click "Publish", and Inkling Habitat pushes updates to every target platform at once, automatically customizing layouts for each device.

-- Everything in the cloud. Teams of authors, editors and production partners can collaborate on projects seamlessly from anywhere in the world. Because everyone sees the same thing at the same time, it's easy to communicate, collaborate and coordinate from first edit to final publish.

-- Object-oriented content structure. On the world's first strictly semantic publishing platform, content is treated like software, shifting the industry from a page-based model to a software-based model that benefits from decades of computer science advances.

-- Automated error reporting. Every time new content is published, Habitat runs a set of tests to make sure everything works. Broken links, missing files, and even glossary problems are spotted automatically.

-- Infinite revision management. Habitat automatically saves every version of the entire project, every time. That's a lot of data, but it means that nothing's ever lost. Anyone can roll back changes anytime, all the way back to the very beginning to see how the project has evolved.

Over the last two years, Inkling has worked with experienced partners to build a labor force many hundreds-strong of skilled editors, designers and programmers who use Inkling Habitat daily. Having worked behind the scenes to build over 100 Inkling titles, the industry's leaders in digital content production services, Aptara and Innodata, are now ready to expand production on the Inkling platform.

"As Inkling extends its game-changing approach to all types of books, Aptara is expanding our dedicated full-service Inkling Design & Production Center to all publishers," said Dev Ganesan, President and CEO of Aptara. "Our instructional and creative designers, content developers, and media specialists are working as an extension of publishers' in-house teams, using Inkling Habitat to increase the volume and speed at which print-bound books are transformed into engaging new interactive products."

"Innodata's engineering and design teams have produced millions of e-books for a wide range of platforms," says Jim Lewis, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Innodata. "The release of Inkling Habitat opens up new opportunities to create uniquely rich multimedia content experiences for all types of publishers and corporate enterprises, and we're excited to work with a pioneering partner like Inkling."

Open Air Publishing, a startup publisher of high-quality, digital-first books for the Inkling platform, has already launched three titles on Inkling using Habitat. Open Air Publishing's titles have won numerous accolades and are top sellers in their respective categories in the iTunes App Store.

"Inkling Habitat has given our company the opportunity to build something big quickly," said Jon Feldman, CEO of Open Air Publishing. "Habitat not only let us produce the highly interactive experiences you see in every title, but it also gave us unprecedented speed to market in 2011. We launched three full products with a skeleton crew in just under 6 months." Open Air Publishing has an impressive pipeline of additional consumer titles forthcoming in 2012.

Inkling Habitat is available immediately to select publishing partners. Interested organizations should register for the Early Adopter Program at www.inkling.com/habitat . The platform will be made more broadly available later this year.

About Inkling:

Inkling is reinventing publishing in the era of iPad, and we've started by redefining the book. Starting with the world's best textbooks from leading publishers, Inkling rebuilds each from the ground up into enhanced, engaging and interactive experiences. But it's about more than just books. Look between the lines, and you'll see a revolution in publishing: a new platform for creating, distributing and consuming media-rich, interactive content. Based in San Francisco, Inkling is backed by Sequoia Capital, and partners with the world's leading educational publishers. For more information, visit www.inkling.com .

About Open Air Publishing:

Open Air Publishing creates original, high-quality how-to books that are designed and built exclusively for the iPad. Open Air's groundbreaking digital books allow readers to touch, watch, listen and read as they master new skills and learn straight from the experts. Each publication is a beautiful and complete experience that combines the depth of a traditional book with stunning multimedia not possible on paper. More: openairpub.com

About Innodata:

Innodata INOD +13.27% is a leading provider of business process, technology and consulting services, as well as products and solutions, that help our valued clients create, manage, use and distribute digital information. Propelled by a culture of quality, service and innovation, we have developed a client base that includes many of the world's preeminent media, publishing and information services companies, as well as leading enterprises in information-intensive industries such as aerospace, defense, financial services, government, healthcare, high technology, insurance, intelligence, manufacturing and law.

About Aptara:

Aptara enriches content for capitalizing on all digital mediums. Providing full content lifecycle production--from content creation and design, to new media enhancements, content technology solutions, and production for all mobile devices and platforms--Aptara develops innovative digital products that deliver content how, when, and where recipients want it, while providing publishers renewed agility and revenue opportunities. Serving 9 of the 10 largest publishers in the world, Aptara is a US-based company founded in 1988 around its unique publishing technical expertise. Our over 5,000 professionals are deployed globally to help content providers create, enrich, publish, monetize, and manage their assets in the digital age. For more information: www.aptaracorp.com .

SOURCE: Inkling

Engadget HD Podcast 286 - 02.14.2012