Innovative Publishing: iOS App Development for Non-Programmers

As e-reader adoption begins to wane and consumers buy more tablet computers, publishers are scrambling to provide the enhanced, innovative reading experiences readers are coming to expect. It’s not just about the straight-text ebook anymore.

iOS App Development for Non-Programmers, a self-published ebook by Kevin McNeish, exemplifies the best in innovative reading experiences. It won the Publishing Innovation Award for best self-published ebook from Digital Book World at this year’s Digital Book World Conference + Expo in New York. (See the rest of this year’s PIA winners here.)

The book is a primer aimed at non-professional developers on software development for the Apple iOS mobile platform (iPads and iPhones) — basically, an instructional manual on how to make apps. The book won for its clear, simple design, its highly usable user interface and great content.

We corresponded through email with Kevin McNeish, the author of the book, to learn more about this innovative product.


Book1DivingIn2Digital Book World: What qualitative objectives did you seek to achieve when you started working on iOS App Development for Non-Programmers? The award notwithstanding, are you satisfied you achieved this goal?

Kevin McNeish: Our objective was to create a series of books that would teach someone with absolutely no programming experience how to create Apps for the iPhone and iPad. We are very satisfied with the response we received from our readers. We get emails each week from readers with a similar story—they tried to get into App development by reading other beginner books, but these other books assumed too much knowledge on the part of the reader. With our iOS App Development for Non-Programmers series, they were finally able to climb the curve and learn to create Apps. That’s extremely gratifying. Although we weren’t expecting it, we also had a good number of professional programmers purchase the books and post very positive reviews on Amazon and the iBookstore.


DBW: What quantitative objectives did you seek to achieve? Has awareness and sales of this project met your expectations?

KM: We wanted the book to be a best-seller in its category. Books 1 through 3 in this series are consistently in the top 10 in the iOS category, at times reaching No. 1, which definitely meets our expectations.


The author, Kevin McNeish

The author, Kevin McNeish

DBW: What in your opinion is the one thing that makes iOS App Development for Non-Programmers unique and cool?

KM: After seeing how few books took advantage of the iBooks format, we were intent on making full use of the platform to create books that were exceptional. We included videos that provided step-by-step instructions, as well as interactive diagrams that helped the reader get a mental picture of how code works. These multi-media teaching tools helped readers understand concepts that would be difficult to grasp by simply reading text.


DBW: As more people buy iPads and other tablets and publishers try to create more interesting content, what new things are you excited to see come out next year?

KM: I’m looking forward to more books taking advantage of the advancements in ebook technology, engaging readers with a true multimedia experience. The platform and tools are there. It’s up to authors to spend the extra time to create content worthy of the platform.


DBW: What else are you currently working on that we should be looking forward to?

KM: I’m currently working on a book titled Self-Publishing with iBooks Author. This book is packed with in-the-trenches experience I gleaned from creating our book series. It teaches authors how to take advantage of all the great features of iBooks Author to create exceptional multi-media books.

iOS App Development for Non-Programmers Credits

Author: Kevin McNeish
Photography: Sharlene McNeish
Technical editor: Greg Lee
Copy editor: Benjamin J. Miller

2 thoughts on “Innovative Publishing: iOS App Development for Non-Programmers

  1. Gavin King

    The business model for publishing books as apps just doesn’t stack up when you compare it to developing interactive eBooks in epub3. As more retailers support epub3 (Apple and Kobo so far) it will make more sense to release print books as eBooks rather than apps. Apps you can charge $2.99 for and is an overcrowded marketplace, very difficult to get any real traction. eBooks still retail for $9.99 and more for eBooks with interactive and multimedia content.

    Apps still have there place for content that requires a high amount of processing on the phone or to feed live internet content into the app. For audio, video, animation and advanced layout epub3 is the obvious choice.

    2013 will see some interesting titles released as epub3, I just wish the retailers would hurry up and embrace this standard.

  2. vlad

    Creating native and HTML5 apps is no longer a problem. Due to user friendly and flexible online app building platforms it is really easy to get an app in the Appstore and Google Play even if you have no programming skills. Among the services I used myself I would recommend Snappii as their opportunities in mobile app development seem to be endless and can suit any business needs.



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