Inside Burgundy: Jasper Morris's eBook - March 2013
"This puts all the electronic ‘e’s into Beaune Heaven. The maps are coloured, crisp and detailed, with a ‘tap to zoom’ feature that had me peering at the contour lines of Chassagne-Montrachet for a mesmerised time. I’d practically walked that vineyard by the time I left the page.
"Visually, it’s a delight. The font and clarity and spacing of the layout is so crystal-clear.. .What gives the e-book a jewelled edge is the addition of the luminously beautiful photographs; Burgundy seen through the lens of an artist, glowing with colour and so vivid it looks close enough to touch."
Inside Burgundy iPad ebook brings vintage tastes to Apple's iBookstore - January 2013
When Apple launched its iBooks Author software in January 2012, the emphasis was firmly on digital textbooks, with some talk about self-publishing potential for authors. 315 year-old wine merchants weren't mentioned much. Well, at all.
Yet fast forward to 2013 and British firm Berry Bros. & Rudd (est. 1698) has released one of the more impressive ebooks created using Apple's publishing tools: Jasper Morris' Inside Burgundy: Côte de Beaune.
The £14.99 e-book was released on Apple's iBookstore in November 2012, but is getting a serious new year's marketing push. It makes an interesting case study for independent traditional publishers figuring out the boundaries between ebooks and book-apps.
The ebook takes as its core a section of Morris' 2010 hardback book Inside Burgundy – other sections will follow – but adds videos, photography, interactive maps and note-taking features for readers to add their own tasting impressions of the various wines.
"A lot of people said 'it's a super book, but where's the screen-based version?'," says Christopher Foulkes of Berry Bros. & Rudd Press, the company's joint publishing venture with independent publisher Segrave Foulkes.
The idea: produce a version of the book that would be more portable than a 656-page hardback for people visiting the Côte de Beaune region. Yet Foulkes says when the project was first discussed in 2011, his team wasn't impressed by existing e-books platforms.
"We started looking seriously at the world of ebooks and were horrified at what we discovered. We were looking for a platform that was stable, flexible and allowed us to produce a book that we knew we'd have control over."
This was going on at a time when the EPUB3 ebook standard was being signed off, and when Amazon was working on its own Kindle Format 8 to give publishers richer formatting options.
By then, BB&R Press was mulling turning Morris' book into a fully-fledged app, but despite productive conversations with apps publisher Touch Press, the company balked at the likely costs. "An app costs six figures!" says Foulkes.
The launch of iBooks Author and the iBooks 2 format for iPad textbooks in January 2012 provided the format he was looking for, and work commenced on the first Inside Burgundy e-book, which by necessity would only be available for iPads.
Foulkes says this wasn't a concern. "We felt that if you had an iPad, you probably drank good wine," he laughs. "Well, there are exceptions to this rule, but if you draw a circle of iPad owners and Burgundy lovers, those two do intersect."
A year later, the result is a stylish and elegant e-book with some clever design touches from designer Lizzie Ballantyne, including panoramic images that scroll across two pages without an obvious join in the middle.
The impressive thing – but also the important thing for other publishers to note – is that in an understated way, this e-book is pretty close to some of the iPad book-apps that were generating oohs and aahs in the publishing world a year or two ago – yet designed and produced in-house for much less money.
"We will break even on this if we can sell about 2,000, although we're not sure if we are going to sell that," says Foulkes. "We can't promise anything: we may sell a factor of 10 below or above that!"
That £14.99 price means 2,000 downloads of Inside Burgundy would generate just under £30k of gross revenues, or £21k after Apple's 30% cut is removed. That gives you some idea of the budget in play here, including commissioning photographs – the hardback book is text-only – and shooting videos.
Foulkes says he was keen not to make the latter gimmicky, but to try to add something to the text. "If you can stand with the author in a Grand Cru vineyard and look down the hill, you're going to learn something," he says.
For his part, author Morris is enthusiastic about the implications of digital publishing, including the ability to update his work more often.
BB&R Press has also released a free e-book of his Annual Report 2012/13 as an introduction to the paid title, including his first report on the 2012 vintages and tastings of three, 10 and 20 year-old wines from the region.
"It's something people would want to buy on an annual basis," he says, hinting at plans to charge for next year's version. "Also, the Côte de Beaune book has quite a lot of new material compared to what went into the hardback version."
Making Inside Burgundy an iPad-only title was based on a choice of publishing formats rather than devices – which is to say BB&R Press was choosing between publishing tools and formats rather than between iOS and Kindle.
A couple of years on from that initial horror at existing ebook formats, does Foulkes see more scope to take this kind of project beyond Apple's iBookstore? "Maybe, if we could get to grips with EPUB3 without having to be retrained in cybertechnics," he says.
"For publishers, it doesn't seem to me that this is accessible. We've been working with computers for 20 years, but we don't feel that we are computer people: we use computers as tools. If we started getting into EPUB3 we'd lose control: our technical ability isn't there, so we'd have to get specialised people involved, and we'd lose control."
It's an interesting insight into the mindset of this particular independent publisher, whose desire for creative control of its ebooks has led it to Apple's platform rather than Amazon's.
It hints at iBooks Author being a bigger deal outside the educational textbooks world than was originally suggested, although it also may give Amazon food for thought as it continues to develop its own enhanced ebook publishing tools.
The idea of adapting this 660 page tome into an ebook came gradually to Simon Berry and his publishing manager, Christopher Foulkes. Firstly the idea was to accompany the new ways in which the book is used, but there were also practical considerations: it's much easy to carry a 600g iPad that a 2.5kg book.
"A book can be intimidating", points out Jasper Morris, "a screen is more friendly. The iPad is incredibly easy to use and so much easier to carry around than a book."
The quality of this ebook makes it one of the most impressive available on iTunes. So much so that Apple decided to use its launch to show off the quality of its iBooks Author software.
Berry Bros. & Rudd publishes Inside Burgundy as wine ebook - January 2013
Berry Bros. & Rudd has launched Jasper Morris MW's definitive Inside Burgundy on iPad – the first wine book to use Apple's iBooks Author programme.
The 650-page, £50 tome, which has sold nearly 9,000 copies, was published in October 2010 by Berry Bros and Rudd Press, the London wine merchant’s publishing arm set up in association with publishers Segrave Foulkes.
Berry Bros. & Rudd Press has now launched two sections of Inside Burgundy as an ebook, the first time a wine book has been published using bespoke technology.
Available on iPad and on computers via iTunes at present, the first two sections to be published are Inside Burgundy: Côte de Beaune, which costs £14.99, and Morris’s Inside Burgundy: Annual Report, which is free.
The electronic version is based on the text of the book - exhaustive detail of the thousands of growers and producers of the region gleaned from Morris's 30 years' expertise on Burgundy - with interactive, detailed maps. It adds dozens of photographs which are not in the book, and videos of Morris discussing aspects of the Burgundy vineyard. There is also a note-taking facility.
At the end of the summer, Berry Bros. & Rudd says, the Côte de Nuits section will be available, followed by Beaujolais.
The Côte de Beaune section incorporates material on new growers that did not make it into the hardback, Morris said. It also has the advantage of being fully and instantly updateable.
He added that they hoped the iPad version would broaden the market for in-depth information on Burgundy. ‘It is less intimidating than the book,’ he said.
While sales of the book version are healthy – the first print run of 9,000 in English has ‘almost sold out’, Morris said, with 800 sold by Beaune wine emporium Athenaeum, and more than 3,000 copies sold of the Japanese version, Berry Bros. & Rudd says it has ‘no idea’ how the new iPad version will sell.
‘We need to sell 2000 to break even,’ publisher Chris Foulkes said, adding that they were in 50 markets around the world.
Berry Bros. & Rudd are in talks with publisher Hachette over a French version, and a Chinese version is ‘under active discussion – there is a deal on the table’, Morris said.
Inside Burgundy is Berry Bros. & Rudd’s first publishing venture. A similar work on Bordeaux is being written by negociant Bill Blatch of Vintex.‘Three more titles on related aspects of the world of wine’ will be announced this year, all of which are designed to be published in print form and as an interactive ebook, Berry Bros. & Rudd says.
The eBook Inside Burgundy: Côte de Beaune - January 2013
This interactive e-book takes an in-depth look into one of the most prestigious wine growing regions in the world, with one of the foremost experts for guidance. Wine master Mr Jasper Morris' fascinating tome contains detailed maps of vineyards, as well as notes from his 30 years sampling the finest the area has to offer.
Prominent at the tasting was the electronic Côte de Beaune by Jasper Morris MW being shown on the latest version of Apple's iPad – thought to be iPad 5, though it might have been version 4, which came out in November. The Côte de Beaune is the first part of Jasper's award winning Inside Burgundy published by Berry Bros. & Rudd in 2010. It has been revised and made interactive by Seagrave Foulkes (Carrie Segrave, Chris Foulkes and Lizzie Ballantyne).
The app now has hundreds of colour photos, zoomable maps, videos of Jasper in the vineyards plus the ability to make and share your own notes, etc. It also includes Jasper's 2012/13 annual report.
Chris explained that the program they used was originally designed for producing text books and that they had adapted it. So successfully that Apple apparently say that this is the best book adaptation for the iPad and will be showing it to a group of techie journalists today. The Côte de Beaune app is available through the iBookstore.
Christmas gift ideas: Inside Burgundy - December 2012
Jasper Morris's magisterial Inside Burgundy was published, to great acclaim, in 2010. The fruit of over 30 years' worth of insider knowledge, the book soon became an essential source for those interested in exploring the region's wines in greater depth - with one caveat. Anyone intent on actual physical exploration of Burgundy would have to tote two kilos of book as they travelled the D974, the road that winds its way through the Burgundian vineyards. Now, publisher Berry Bros. & Rudd has taken the bold decision to reissue the book in five volumes specially adapted for the iPad platform. Wine-pages' columnist Natasha Hughes recently evaluated the ne first instalment - on the Côte de Beaune - and says "I love a traditional book as much as (or possibly more than) the next person, but the interactivity afforded by this iPad version certainly brings something extra to the party. While a book might easily offer the reader glorious full-colour photos, it can't feature interactive maps or videos that allow Morris to explain the quality factors that pertain to certain vineyards in greater depth. As you read through the text, you can also add your own comments on vineyards or producers of interest, or even include tasting notes, allowing you to add personalised layers of complexity to the already thorough text." Natasha also comments that the videos focus on the vineyards, whilst she would like to see Morris, who has a long-term relationship with the region's best producers, interview them in their own cellars. Berry Bros' Rudd say that idea that may well be explored in the volumes to come. £14.99 from iTunes app store, whilst the book is £50 from Berry Bros. & Rudd.
The publishing arm of London-based wine merchants Berry Bros. & Rudd has launched the first in a series of interactive e-books.
"Inside Burgundy", by Jasper Morris MW, was first published in 2010 as a standard hardback. Now, it's been split into a number of digital editions beginning with the Côte de Beaune. The e-book's interactive features allow readers to zoom in on maps, click on live links for more information on grands crus and premier crus, and access videos in which Morris walks the vineyards.