The four ways Steve Jobs helped books

Remember when Apple Macintosh was introduced to the world? Remember those marching feet? Big Brother’s voice? The references to George Orwell’s ‘1984’? No? Here’s the video again for your viewing pleasure:

Introducing Apple Macintosh – 1984

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple


Was the advert just a clever advertising ploy or a genuine nod/salute to the power of literature and Jobs’ Orwellian dreams to change the face of computing? The world in 2011 looks very different to the world in 1984, mostly thanks (or no thanks, to those boycotting Apple products) to Steve Jobs. After a long battle with pancreatic cancer, the founder and CEO of Apple died last night aged 56. The aggressive man in the black turtleneck and Levi jeans has been the face of our future for so long, pushing us forwards, forwards, forwards – an Apple insider stated in 2010 “He’s in a hurry to create in the next two years what he may have been thinking about in the next ten years. What keeps him going is his vision. Nothing is going to stop him, except death.”


In the wake of Steve Jobs’ death last night, Litro takes a look at the four ways in which Steve Jobs contributed to publishing industry and literature:

1. The most obvious one. What are you reading this on? Your iPad? Your iPhone? Your Macbook? On a Safari webpage? Ok, so you may still be using your PC to look at this in an Internet Explorer browser. But that doesn’t mean that thousands of others all around the world are able to instantly access our website and other literary websites through the power of Apple products.

2. Cutting out the middle man.  American editor and publisher Jason Epstein stated in 2010 that ‘Publishers will be selling digital books directly to the iPad. They are using the iPad as a kind of universal warehouse.’ This cuts overhead costs; writers now also have the opportunity to self-publish on Apple iBooks.

3. E-books. Of course, Apple’s competitor Amazon still holds a huge portion of the e-book and self-publishing market, but the iPad as a device can do so much more with colour, text and images. Jobs recognised the power of literature and got on that bandwagon as soon as Amazon announced the Kindle.

4. Pixar. Which singlehandedly brought back children from the Pied Piper’s den of computer games and ennui, and (this may be a long shot, but it’s plausible) eventually led them back to literature. DK books (which publishes Pixar titles) is hugely popular with children. Prior to Pixar, there was Disney, where Jobs was on the board of directors. The Lion King, one of the most popular Disney films based on a Shakespeare play, is being released in 3D this year.


Not convinced? Take a look at this video. It combines all the points I state above (the Apple product-iPad-e-book-Pixar genius of Steve Jobs) and puts it all into one ex-Pixar’s incredibly interactive Kid’s e-book, titled ‘ The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore’:

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

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