There was quite a bit of [activity](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2012/02/09/interent2-net-services/) [recently](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2012/02/09/oer-panel-gathers-to-assess-state/) over the announcement by Apple of [iBooks Author](http://chronicle.com/article/Apples-New-E-Textbook/130399/). Now two other platforms are gaining some profile regarding their offerings. To me, it just shows à al [Christensen](http://seanmehan.globat.com/blog/2012/02/10/current-books-on-how-education-needs-to-change/), how ripe the market is for some disruption to displace the dominant and stagnant leaders who are incumbents of sustaining the status quo.The first offering is from [Booktype](http://www.sourcefabric.org/en/booktype), and is an OSS platform that allowd for collaborative authoring, proofing, and editing to output print and electronic media (Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Lulu.com, etc.). The code is up on [Gitbub](https://github.com/sourcefabric/Booktype) and there is a demo on the site. It has a very compelling UI and a mature set of features. They are up to the 1.5 production release. Booktype effortlessly renders beautiful fonts, illustrations and tables to pdf, epub, mobi, odt, html and more for digital distribution or print services. Advanced options allow you to choose from preset book formats, set ISBN numbers or even apply web-friendly CSS templates for personalised layouts and styles. I think that they are quite savvy as well, understanding the business and costs constraints with their pitch at translation efficiency.
The other offering is [Inkling Habitat](http://www.inkling.com/habitat/), which is creating a cloud-based platform for the professional market. Matthew MacInnis, Inkling’s chief executive, said the company’s tool is designed to give the global teams who work on professionally published textbooks a single outlet to publish interactive material for the iPad and the Web. Mr. MacInnis said hundreds of users can access the same textbook content at once, and the software will keep track of each step in the editing process.
Clearly there are major differences between these two offerings, and there will be segments that value each. The fact that there is more energy being invested in this domain is exciting to me, as I have been calling for disruption for years. Let the innovation continue apace!