I had hoped to write this article using one of my own books as an example. In August, as I wrote here, Apple changed the rules for submitting ebooks with embedded video. If you are interested in publishing a book with video, and downloaded the updated iBookstore Publisher User Guide 1.3.1, you might have been worried about the requirements it contains.
For example, it says you must have a black frame at the beginning and end of every video.
It also says that final files must be produced with Compressor 3.5.2, which, for the record, is only included with Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio Retail, which even when discounted by Amazon, cost lots of money. I count myself among those who thought, "Oh, maybe I don't have the proper tools to put video in my ebooks."
Then, I got a nice note from Jeffrey Dinsmore who had bought my EPUB book and had happily used it to publish an exciting new project that combines short stories with short films. He was thrilled that their new ebook had been accepted by the Apple iBookstore. He says it's the “first fiction ebook in the iBookstore with embedded video”.
It's pretty interesting as a book, that is, enhanced ebook. It's curious to have both media right there in front of you, and to read one and then view the other and think about how and why they were presented differently. You can download a sample and see for yourself, though I don't think any of the videos are contained in the sample. Luckily, you can see them on the Awkward web site.
But that's not why I'm writing this post. I'm writing it because Jeffrey proved, by getting his book into the iBookstore, that those extreme requirements in the iBookstore Publisher Guidelines aren't really requirements. They're recommendations. When I asked him if he had followed the guidelines about black frames, using Compressor, and using a specific resolution of the source video, he replied, “I did absolutely none of the above ... just slapped the .m4v files in and crossed my fingers!”
So, there you go. If you want to publish an ebook with embedded video or audio, all you have to do is follow the instructions as outlined in my EPUB book.
P.S. I wasn't able to get any of my own enhanced ebooks into the Apple iBookstore, not because they weren't technically accurate, but because Apple considers them to be “examples”, despite the copious step-by-step information they contain. I'll keep trying. Meanwhile, if you get your enhanced ebook into the iBookstore, please let me know!