We previously reported that Inkling was launching a free e-book publishing platform in competition to Apple’s more restricted iBook Author, and that it was partnering with Follett in an e-textbook program. Up to this point, the utility of Inkling has been a bit limited in that access to its textbooks was restricted to its iOS app, meaning students had to have iPads to make use of the content and couldn’t use it in anything else.
But now TechCrunch reports that Inkling has just unveiled an HTML 5.0 web application that can allow any Inkling e-textbook to be viewed on “any up-to-date webkit-based browser such as Chrome or Safari by anyone with an Inkling account.” Inkling CEO Matt McInnis says that the developers were impressed by just how fully-featured and stable HTML5 turned out to be, and that the Inkling for Web app is “probably the most sophisticated HTML5 software that has ever been written.”
And in the spirit of the “open web”, Inkling has committed to being as “open” as it can, while still trying to prevent wholesale piracy of its works:
Now, being out on the web comes with its own possible drawbacks, and Inkling has implemented some security controls to safeguard against pirating — it will detect if someone is copy and pasting large amounts of text in a very short amount of time, for example. But in general, McInnis said, the company and the publishers it deals with are feeling very positive. “The web is open, so we’re being as open as we possibly can,” he said. “Publishers are very excited about the opportunity to package and sell things on the web… and this is a whole new opportunity for them to go out of Apple’s paywall.”
Needless to say, this is going to make Inkling a whole lot more useful to students who have laptops but no iPads—or even the ones who do have iPads but would prefer the ability to read their textbooks on computers where they can much more easily type notes in an editor window.