Is Apple Providing An Opportunity for Teaching Pros?

Apple introduced iBooks Author in New York on January 19th

Over this past holiday season I managed to work in a little personal reading for a change – taking on Walter Issacson’s look at the life of Steve Jobs.  While I’m far from being an Apple devotee I do own a few of their products (iPhone, iPod Touch) and I will have to admit to being a tech junkie from an early age.  Yes, I was that kid programming in Basic on my Commodore Vic-20 back in 1982, so the life of Steve Jobs and his legacy in the world of technology was a big draw to me.

I voraciously absorbed the book and found there was a lot to take away from the 600+ page text, but it was not what Jobs had created in his lifetime that really drew my attention.  It was more intrigued by the subject matter in the latter part of the book and a project that Jobs was in the process of taking on as his life came to it’s end.

The formal announcement of iBook2, a plan to revolutionize the text book industry in the education system, came on January19th in New York.  At the same time Apple released a new free Mac App (program)called iBooks Author and my brain began to swim with possibilities.

There have been plenty of e-book creation applications on the market but many have involved a cost or the requirement of the user to have a decent knowledge of graphic design and e-publishing.  From all appearances iBooks Author (I have yet to try it) looks dead simple to use, allowing you to drag and drop files to incorporate your images and text files.  Custom books of any length, content, and subject that you desire can be created with some effort but relative ease.

You can then export the book to share with anyone on an iPad or sell it through the iBookstore (once approved) with Apple receiving a 30% cut of the sales price.  The 70% net for the author is much higher than what they would receive through a traditional publisher.

What does this mean for golf teaching pros?  It means they can create custom books for the students they coach (or their members)  and build their personal brand by being a published (albeit self-published) author.

Sure, it all hinges on their end user owning an iPad but that number continues to grow.

How about a pro offering a coaching package that includes a custom book with a reminder of what they worked on during their coaching sessions?  Video footage can also be included along with audio and even 3D animations.

Jason Helman, the 2010 PGA of Canada Teacher of the Year and Director of Instruction at Wyndance GC in Uxbridge, Ontario was intrigued.  The Westport, Ontario native and Mac user is currently working on an Instruction Book of his own and had a fairly positive reaction when he got wind of iBooks Author.  “This could be one of the biggest value ads for golf professionals and their clients,” he told me. “This will totally enable my students to leave the coaching tee with tangible information from our session.”

Helman added, “Students only retain about a 1/3 of the information provided; this type of platform will enable them the opportunity to recall key points from our coaching session. We live in such a “right now” society, with busy lives, and simply having a book with the student’s coaching information in it is so valuable to knowledge retention and progressive learning. As we know, golf can sometimes be regressive without putting the effort in.”

For now there seems to be some details about iBooks Author that need to be considered to sell the end product commercially.  The system looks to be currently set-up for people in the U.S. If you want to get an iBookstore publishing account to sell books you will need to apply and pay for an ISBN and get a U.S. Tax ID from the IRS.   A Free Book account (what is what a golf pro would primarily use to create a custom book for their students) simply requires an Apple ID.

Steve Jobs was not really much of a golfer.  Accounts says he gave it a try in 1994 and even took some lessons.  Reportedly he told friends that he found the game “way harder than software.”

That being the case, even with no love for the game, in the end he may have provided it a gift – albeit a unintended one.

Sure it’s no magic bullet for saving the golf industry but it is a step up in technology that may aid the industrious golf professional.

It’s highly unlikely that  the golf pro was considered when designing iBooks Author but the truth is that this could be yet another tool that they can use to advance their craft and their business.

In a competitive golf industry where everyone is looking for an edge, Jobs and the people at Apple unknowingly may have just created one.