Update April 2013: In time it has become clear to me that the basic idea of distributing a small e-book about your services is good but the Apple iBook media is NOT the way to do it. You need to do it with a media that works everywhere, and the best media to do that is a PDF file.
Back on Jan 19, Apple made an education focused announcement that may have slipped past you. Apple announced iBooks 2 (the second generation of the iBook iPad App) and a free Mac application called iBooks Author. Apple's primary intent is to make it easy for educators to make iPad optimized content. But these Apps go way beyond education. They provide a super easy way of creating rich multi-media content and distributing it to anyone that has an iPad for free.
I know, you're saying, "so what does this have to do with real estate photography"? Well, here's the thing- more and more of the top Realtors have iPads. And if you are a Realtor, an iPad is a fantastic device to have with you when you are doing a listing presentation. Listing presentations are where listing agents sit down with home sellers and try to convince the sellers to sign a listing agreement to list their home.
This new opportunity didn't slip by Fred Light in Nashua, NH. He has already used iBook Author to create an iBook for his Realtor clients to use in their listing presentations that show the sellers Fred's videos. Click here to download Fred's free iBook that he gives to his clients. Fred described his initial experiences with his iBook as follows:
It's a bit buggy, but for a first effort (and for free) it works for me! You have to be a bit careful in how much you load onto that thing and how big the files are - as it WILL take a while to download. BUT... then they always have it, it always works, it doesn't matter if they don't have wi-fi....
Had someone the other day (never been a customer) use it at a listing presentation. She got the listing (against 3 other agents) and called and said "Well, it worked very well. I got the listing. But now I have to use your photos AND video!" She was just kidding, but it does kind of lock 'em in to using me. And they can't JUST do photos... they have to do the video too!
Can't beat having a mini sales force out there selling my services for me! But we both win, so it's all good!
Please note that Fred's iBook is a first cut at implementing this technology. Fred must have been all over this the day that it was announced since he had an iBook published within a week or so of when the announcement was made. Also, it is a fairly large download since he has a 9 minute video in it. As he says, though, it works anywhere, even if you don't have wi-fi access. This is a huge benefit! Also be aware that iBooks only work on iPads, you can't view them on laptops or anything but and iPad with the iBook app.
I know what about half of you readers are thinking... I want a general solution that works everywhere. Well, you could do some of this with a PDF that you send to your potential clients. PDFs work on laptops, Android tablets etc. so that's a way to do some of this approach but it doesn't do it all. But, you should poll your clients to see if they have iPads. I believe the adoption rate among real estate agents is much lower for non-iPad tablets. Projections are that at the current adoption rate, there will be 100 million iPads in use by the end of 2012. Pilots are using them. Entire companies (like GE and Comcast) are replacing laptops and desktops with iPads and Realtors are using them big time.
I'm in the process of converting my free e-book to a free iBook. This is an ebook intended to be used in much the way Fred's iBook is used, to give to your clients to explain why they need to use professional photography and videography to sell their home. My goal is to have my free iBook in the iBook store in a few weeks.
Update: 9:20 Pacific 2/14: Fred says he's in the process of updating the iBook to reduce the download size and the process doesn't happen instantly... I should have checked with Fred before I did the post. I expect the new version will be there soon. See Fred's comments below.