First Look: Apple's new iBooks Author

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Comments

  • shock meshock me Posts: 56member
    This is the tool I've been waiting for. I hope they make publishing your work just as easy. I'm a bit concerned that nothing was done to upgrade iTunes producer.
  • addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    While their senior management continues on totally oblivious.



    It's insane that Apple beat Adobe to market with a tool like this. Totally insane. Creating tools like this ought to be Adobe's entire reason to exist. What a bunch of knuckleheads.



    Of course, if Adobe released a product like this it would be fantastically elaborate, with hundreds of fiddly control palettes, almost unbelievably obscure keyboard shortcuts, an extremely steep learning curve, and offloading or replication of much functionality onto other Adobe products. And it would cost $500 or more.



    I think Apple has really hit on something here-- while their layout tools will never compete with InDesign, textbooks don't need to be the kind of works of art that require extensive control over every parameter-- the kind of extensive control that keeps design pros well compensated.



    Text books need to be functional. Apple has provided the tools to move information into functional, interactive containers, and the delivery system to show off those containers in the best light. Making the tools free and easy to use means text books can be authored more quickly and at lower costs, and providing templates means they can still be well laid out and enjoyable to use.
  • anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 16,832member
    Pardon my dullness and some basic confusion -- perhaps it's because of information overload. I have a very simple question.



    The caveats (and probably intro-level hiccups) notwithstanding: does iBook Author allow me to dress up a collection of my Word and/or Pages documents into a "book"-like format, then save it as a .iba file, upload it onto some public (or other) folder, from where anyone with an iPad can download and view the 'book'? (Can someone running Lion on a Mac do the same on their Mac?)



    If 'yes,' how does someone get it into their iPad?



    Add: I guess, simply put, the question I am asking is, can I use iBook Author as a 'private distribution' channel for my work to be distributed directly to those with hardware that can view it, than necessarily having to upload it on to the iBook Store and have people download it from there?
  • toysandmetoysandme Posts: 106member
    Unless I missed something I still see no way to view these e-Books on regular laptops. Now people have to have an iPad AND a laptop...
  • dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sirozha View Post


    I don't have Pages - I am waiting for new iWork to be released. I have been using MS Office (first '08 and then '11) ever since I switched from PCs four years ago, and frankly, the new iWork cannot come out soon enough for me at this point. I just don't feel like buying the old version unless Apple decides to provide free upgrade to the new version. I know Apple is not making a lot of money on iWork, but if they announced a free future upgrade, they could have had so many more people switch from MS Office to iWork, knowing that when the new iWork becomes available, they can just upgrade for free (or a nominal fee of a few dollars).



    Additionally, because Apple did not protect DVD versions of iWork from unauthorized duplication in the past, there was no easy way for them to tell if a person has purchased iWork or just pirated it. Now that iWork is available via the Mac App Store, they can control who gets a free upgrade to the new iWork and who has to purchase it for the full price.



    As you say, to date Apple hasn't offered any upgrade path for iWork (would be nice, since I've been with them on this since the first version), but the cost of the software has always been nominal so I don't complain. The real barrier for me now is Lion.



    If anyone has tried the insert function from Pages I'd be very interested in a report.
  • kingofsomewherehotkingofsomewherehot Posts: 3,989member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sirozha View Post


    Here's the problem - I cannot open any ePub books in iBooks Author. So, my hopes that iBooks Author would not only allow one to publish eBooks, but also read non-DRM ePub books ,as well as Apple DRM ePub books purchased in iBooks store, have been dashed.





    ?!



    It's a content CREATOR, not a content READER. You're asking it to do something that it's not designed for (or advertised as) doing.

    There are several other apps (non-Apple) that will allow you to read non-drm ePub on your Mac.
  • sirozhasirozha Posts: 156member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Pardon my dullness and some basic confusion -- perhaps it's because of information overload. I have a very simple question.



    The caveats (and probably intro-level hiccups) notwithstanding: does iBook Author allow me to dress up a collection of my Word and/or Pages documents into a "book"-like format, then save it as a .iba file, upload it onto some public (or other) folder, from where anyone with an iPad can download and view the 'book'? (Can someone running Lion on a Mac do the same on their Mac?)



    If 'yes,' how does someone get it into their iPad?



    Add: I guess, simply put, the question I am asking is, can I use iBook Author as a 'private distribution' channel for my work to be distributed directly to those with hardware that can view it, than necessarily having to upload it on to the iBook Store and have people download it from there?



    I haven't tried it yet, but it appears that the .ibooks format is the one you could transfer to the iPad, not the .iba format. The .iba format is the format in which you can save the book on which you are working in iBooks Author. Once the book is ready, you have to export it to the .ibooks format. As for transferring the book to the iPad, Apple has just released iTunes 10.3, and iBooks 2 for iPad, so I think you can add your eBook (exported into the .ibooks format) to the iTunes library in iTunes 3 and then drag it from the "Books" section of iTunes to the iPad in the side bar and drop it there. If you have enabled wireless sync with you iPad (in iOS 5), you don't even have to plug your iPad in to your computer to be able to transfer any content to your iPad via iTunes.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by toysandme View Post


    Unless I missed something I still see no way to view these e-Books on regular laptops. Now people have to have an iPad AND a laptop...



    If you are just a reader you can use an iDevice, but if you are an author you need both a Mac and iPad for creation and testing. If fact, Apple is going out of their way to require an iPad by offering a Preview option in IBooks Author that will check for connected iPads with iBooks open so it can push the book for testing. I don't understand why they would go to this much trouble than just allowing iBooks to be viewable in Mac OS X.
  • shock meshock me Posts: 56member
    My greatest concern about interactive textbooks is the amount of storage they use. I hope Apple's purchase of Anobit will give them a pricing advantage when it comes to offering greater standard storage for the next iPad.
  • paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,082member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by toysandme View Post


    Unless I missed something I still see no way to view these e-Books on regular laptops. Now people have to have an iPad AND a laptop...



    I suspect that at some point you will see an iBook Creator for the iPad. It is just Pages with some tweaks, after all (isn't it?).



    My surprise is that being so similar to Pages they didn't update the interface. Like in Pages et al the floating Inspector and the Media browser options are not great imo.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,981member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by toysandme View Post


    Unless I missed something I still see no way to view these e-Books on regular laptops. Now people have to have an iPad AND a laptop...



    Yeah, and I doubt there will ever be. Who says you have to have a laptop? Desktops exist. Eventually there won't BE laptops.



    Just iPads and desktop multitouch solutions.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    I suspect that at some point you will see an iBook Creator for the iPad. It is just Pages with some tweaks, after all (isn't it?).



    No, this certainly isn't Pages. It's inspired by it, sure, but it's not Pages by a long shot.
  • sflocalsflocal Posts: 3,418member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aderutter View Post


    Adobe staff must be crying right now...



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    While their senior management continues on totally oblivious.



    It's insane that Apple beat Adobe to market with a tool like this. Totally insane. Creating tools like this ought to be Adobe's entire reason to exist. What a bunch of knuckleheads.



    It's just not the tools, it's the entire ecosystem that Adobe would never be able to pull off. The tools being free is just that start. Now the individual can create the content and immediately have access to literally millions of people via the bookstore to sell their books.



    I see this not only as a blow to Adobe for the tools, but also to other online retailers like Amazon. They'll have to do some swift work to attract independent authors.



    As usual, Apple didn't invent the concept like I'm sure the iHaters will point out, but Apple did reinvent the game. As they did with app developers, they're doing the same with book authors now. Good work Apple!
  • goldenclawgoldenclaw Posts: 229member
    Got to tell you, I am not happy with Apple requiring Lion for this app.



    Snow Leopard came out in 2009.



    A little under 3 years and major new app doesn't support it.





    At some point this gets a little ridiculous, does it not?
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    If you are just a reader you can use an iDevice, but if you are an author you need both a Mac and iPad for creation and testing. If fact, Apple is going out of their way to require an iPad by offering a Preview option in IBooks Author that will check for connected iPads with iBooks open so it can push the book for testing. I don't understand why they would go to this much trouble than just allowing iBooks to be viewable in Mac OS X.



    Apple wants the iPad to be ubiquitous in education, especially k-12. By not creating an iBook reader for Mac, they put pressure on school boards to adopt only iPads instead of an option of MacBooks or iPads.



    A MacBook is essentially just a PC. If Macs could read iBooks, school boards would ask Apple to make a Windows version of iBooks for students who already have a Windows PC and did not want to buy an extra device just for school. Keeping it only iPad is much less problematic from a bureaucratic perspective. Since Apple already has clear dominance in the tablet market, there is no toehold for competing tablets to enter the education market.



    Because iBooks is only available on iPad, authors need to have the ability to preview their work on the actual delivery platform.
  • darrynlowedarrynlowe Posts: 42member
    I have been using iBooks Author for the past hour or so creating an installation document for work. It is amazing. It is so easy to create books.



    My book is incredibly simple and not interactive but even if I wanted to create one it is so easy to do.



    I just imported a chapter from Pages of the version I was creating and it imported perfectly. There is a need for some tweaking as the pages document was pretty much a blank document.



    What do I think is needed for this application though? My only gripe would be no blank document templates. You could create one I suppose but that would require effort. It would be nice simply to just have a purely blank template.



    At the moment though that is my only gripe. I don't need to import existing ePUB files, importing PDF is NEVER as straight forward as people make it out (try importing to Word and Pages and tell me how you get on) so PDF importing is a dumb idea anyway.



    I haven't tried Preview to iPad yet because my wife has that at the moment but that seems cool. PDF exports work well but I can't find a way to remove the Apple logo and the iBooks Author footer.



    All in all I am stocked by this application. I truly am blown away by how good this is for a 1.0 version.
  • darrynlowedarrynlowe Posts: 42member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Goldenclaw View Post


    Got to tell you, I am not happy with Apple requiring Lion for this app.



    Snow Leopard came out in 2009.



    A little under 3 years and major new app doesn't support it.





    At some point this gets a little ridiculous, does it not?



    No. What is ridiculous is the amount of people not wanting to upgrade.



    I admit there is a need for old software that doesn't run on Lion but if that was me I would ditch the old software and get something that does work for me and on Lion.



    Lion is streaks ahead of Snow Leopard and it makes sense that Apple would only develop for Lion because they want everyone to move on.



    Snow Leopard is as you say a little under 3 years old now. The world has moved a lot since three years ago.
  • prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    ... iBook Creator ... is just Pages with some tweaks, after all (isn't it?). ...



    Not really. It's not very much like Pages at all.



    It's very very similar to iWeb though.



    I wouldn't be surprised if (as folks have already said), it's a re-using of the iWeb code base.
  • prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sirozha View Post


    ... Here's the problem - I cannot open any ePub books in iBooks Author. So, my hopes that iBooks Author would not only allow one to publish eBooks, but also read non-DRM ePub books ,as well as Apple DRM ePub books purchased in iBooks store, have been dashed. ... So, to me, this tool has a very limited functionality...



    So, the tool has "limited functionality" because it won't do something it's expressly not even designed to do? That's rich.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sirozha View Post


    ... I cannot see why this application cannot read ePub books or export your own writing into the non-DRM'ed ePub format. ...



    Wild guess here but ... maybe you can't read books in it because it's not actually a book reading application?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sirozha View Post


    ... the import from MS Word did not preserve all the formatting. So, this functionality may be useful with files created in Pages but is questionable with files created in MS Word ...



    Anyone actually involved in eBook content creation (with any talent or knowledge that is), would know that you do not, EVER, import text from Microsoft Word with the formatting intact. To do so is to almost guarantee problems with the final document.



    To create eBooks or do any kind of professional publishing, you import plain text only, and then apply the formatting from within the publishing program. This is really the entire point of the publishing program and it's main purpose.



    It has always been this way and those that ignore this are the ones responsible for all the screwed up formatting in published documents around the world. You don't import proprietary formatting (especially Microsoft formatting junk), from one program into another. This is just common sense.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 39,981member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Anyone actually involved in eBook content creation (with any talent or knowledge that is), would know that you do not, EVER, import text from Microsoft Word with the formatting intact.



    Anyone involved in opening any Word document with any application other than the exact same version of Word on that exact same OS would know that you do not EVER import text from Microsoft Word and EXPECT the formatting to REMAIN intact.
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    So, the tool has "limited functionality" because it won't do something it's expressly not even designed to do? That's rich.




    I think his point was that it should have been designed to do that. It would be a nice feature but it is counter productive to Apple's dominate the world agenda.



    I remember the old days of Quark publishing where you could not import layered Photoshop documents, which meant that you had to save two versions, one flattened tif for importing into Quark and the other as layers in PS for future editing. It was a royal pain in the ass which is why they fixed it.



    Similarly it would be nice to be able keep only the finished version of an electronic book and be able to open and edit it. As it is now, you have to keep duplicate versions, one for editing and the other for viewing. The fact that they omitted any support for their former ePub open standards is indicative of their intentions to create an electronic books monopoly which is proprietary to iPad.
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