iBooks Author was announced last month to a lot of hoopla, but left many ebook publishers wanting a textbook authoring tool that would streamline the entire book publishing process and have more features. Today, Inkling announced their new online ebook publishing tool -- Inkling Habitat -- that is designed to speed the workflow for textbook publishers.
Inkling Habitat is currently on a limited distribution, but users who are accepted into the Early Adopter Program have a chance to try out the robust features of the tool. Habitat is a cloud-based tool, so authors, editors, and artists can collaborate on textbooks simultaneously from anywhere. There's infinite rollback, so every addition, change, or edit is saved. When it's time to publish the ebook, Habitat creates content for every target platform and customizes the layout for every device.
Inkling notes that they're trying to treat content more like software, "shifting the industry from a page-based model to a software-based model that benefits from decades of computer science advances." There's automated error reporting built into Habitat, so any time content is published it is run through a gauntlet of tests to make sure that everything works properly.
Inkling is no newcomer to the electronic publishing world, having published over a hundred electronic textbooks to date. The company was founded by Matt MacInnis, a former Apple educational marketing manager.
There's no word on what the cost of Inkling Habitat will be, or if the company will grab a portion of the proceeds from each published textbook. From the company's website, it's not even clear if Habitat creates standalone apps or traditional ebook files that are compatible with existing bookstores. In the meantime, if you're a publisher, writer, or educator, you might want to sign up for Inkling's Early Adopter Program.