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Apple's new iBooks Author aims to simplify e-book creation

post #1 of 34
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Apple on Thursday unveiled a new Mac OS X application that the company says will simplify the process of creating and selling digital textbooks through its iBookstore.

The new iBooks Author was shown off at Apple's press event at New York's Guggenheim Museum. The new tool can be used to create any kind of book, whether it be novels or textbooks.

Apple's Roger Rosner gave a rundown of the new software to the press, demonstrating how the tool can easily turn a document like a Microsoft Word file into something formatted for the iBooks 2 application. In his demonstration, he simply dragged the Word file from Finder into iBooks Author, and the new publishing tool automatically created headers and laid out pages.

Users can also place images in their book, and text will flow around the picture. Movies can also be added to an iBook, also by simply dragging and dropping.

Even Keynote files can be added to an iBook. In his demo, Rosner showed how adding a Keynote file would add the presentation to a book as an interactive widget.




Widgets can also be custom written for an iBook using code in Javascript and HTML. Widgets can also be dragged and dropped directly into a title with iBooks Author.

iBooks Author also simplifies creating glossaries for a title. Users can simply highlight a word and click a button, and the word is added to a glossary, while definitions for words can also be simply added. Rosner called it a "total miracle" for saving time in e-book creation.




Once a title is completed, it can be quickly previewed in iBooks Author. If an iPad is connected to the Mac being used to author a book, the title will automatically be shown on the iPad for the author to preview their work.

From there, work can be submitted directly to Apple's iBookstore. Once approved, content is made available for sale. iBooks Author is available as a free download from the Mac App Store.
post #2 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

From there, work can be submitted directly to Apple's iBookstore. Once approved, content is made available for sale. iBooks Author is available as a free download from the Mac App Store.

WOW! Another Killer App!
post #3 of 34
But why use a book format restricted to one platform?

I hope this tool allows export to mobi etc.
post #4 of 34
Where IS this app? I went to the App Store and cannot find anything called iBooks.
post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post

Where IS this app? I went to the App Store and cannot find anything called iBooks.

Because it's iBooks Author. Give it time; the keynote is still going on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by realwarder View Post

But why use a book format restricted to one platform?

I hope this tool allows export to mobi etc.

You're joking, right? ePub is the only format that can do this. Why the heck would Apple support their competitors, anyway?!

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post #6 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Because it's iBooks Author. Give it time; the keynote is still going on.

The live stream said it was "literally in the App Store now". But "iBooks Author" DOES show up, or at least NOW it does. Odd that it would not show up for a partial name.
post #7 of 34
Have it and having a go - familiar appearance!
Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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Where are we on the curve? We'll know once it goes asymptotic!
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post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by realwarder View Post

But why use a book format restricted to one platform?

I hope this tool allows export to mobi etc.

Why the hell would Apple do something like that? The whole point is to sell IPADS, not Kindles or don't you get how Apple works. Software to sell the HARDWARE, APPLE HARDWARE!

Seriously, that is how Apple works. They're not Amazon or Google giving away free software to other platforms. That's how and why Apple is making the big bucks. Maybe a third-party software designer will create some mobi converter. Of course, the copycat Android boys at Google will develop their own software for making books right after Apple starts selling their own.
post #9 of 34
Anyone figure out how to add PDF's? Unlikely huh?
post #10 of 34
So there's still no way to just view these interactive (text)books on OS X?

Doesn't it seem odd that you can (actually, have to) create a book for iBooks on OS X, but to view it on OS X you have to export it to a PDF (and lose the interactivity), or open it in iBooks Author?

Did I miss the announcement of iBooks, the reader, not the authoring tool, for OS X?
post #11 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by winstein2010 View Post

WOW! Another Killer App!

Oops.
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by realwarder View Post

But why use a book format restricted to one platform?

I hope this tool allows export to mobi etc.

Don't worry... Google and samsung will steal it soon enough.
post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by KazKam View Post

Did I miss the announcement of iBooks, the reader, not the authoring tool, for OS X?

They want you to buy an iPad. Desktop computers have been the same since 1983. That's not the future. It's a dead end.

I'd imagine Apple will never release an iBooks for OS X. OS XI, sure, but not OS X.

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post #14 of 34
Wow sounds great!
post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

They want you to buy an iPad. Desktop computers have been the same since 1983. That's not the future. It's a dead end.

I'd imagine Apple will never release an iBooks for OS X. OS XI, sure, but not OS X.

Who said anything about desktop computers? Are the Macbook Pro and Macbook Air a dead end as well?
post #16 of 34
So open the book in iBooks Author to read it on the Mac. The app is free. Really they just need to add support for iBooks to Preview and have done.
post #17 of 34
The problem will be (as it is with all 'populist' publishing methods from pamphlets to blogging to, now, iBooks) editing and curation.
The iBookstore will really need to create areas for self-published work that could easily flood and overwhelm the entire store, making it useless.
Publishers really can still perform a role here... hope it works out that way.
post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Who said anything about desktop computers? Are the Macbook Pro and Macbook Air a dead end as well?

OS X is OS X. You know what I mean by "desktop computing".

Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

So open the book in iBooks Author to read it on the Mac. The app is free. Really they just need to add support for iBooks to Preview and have done.

I'm QUITE certain you can't open any books but your own in that application. It's not an ePub reader. It's an application that creates its own filetypes that just happens to export to ePub.

iBooks Author files have the extension .ibooks, not .epub. You can just export to that.

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post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by realwarder View Post

But why use a book format restricted to one platform?

I hope this tool allows export to mobi etc.

Are you kidding me? EPUB has more support than any other platform. However Apple is using the latest version just like they started using the latest version of MPEG with version 4 and their competitors had to play catch up.

Apple leads the way not goes status quo with crappy formats.
post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I'm QUITE certain you can't open any books but your own in that application. It's not an ePub reader. It's an application that creates its own filetypes that just happens to export to ePub.

iBooks Author files have the extension .ibooks, not .epub. You can just export to that.

Ahh ok, I'm at work so I don't have my Mac here to download the new app and check things out. Like I said, they need to just roll iBooks support into Preview.
post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by KazKam View Post

So there's still no way to just view these interactive (text)books on OS X?

Doesn't it seem odd that you can (actually, have to) create a book for iBooks on OS X, but to view it on OS X you have to export it to a PDF (and lose the interactivity), or open it in iBooks Author?

Did I miss the announcement of iBooks, the reader, not the authoring tool, for OS X?

Bingo! This is my biggest annoyance, not being able to read books on _all_ of my Apple devices.

Not having a reader app for Windows I can understand, but not having one for Mac OS X is inexcusable.
 
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post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

They want you to buy an iPad. Desktop computers have been the same since 1983. That's not the future. It's a dead end.

I'd imagine Apple will never release an iBooks for OS X. OS XI, sure, but not OS X.

Got it. They can't lock down content on Mac OS X quite as well as they can iOS, so the spin is now that it's a dead end.
 
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post #23 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

Got it. They can't lock down content on Mac OS X quite as well as they can iOS, so the spin is now that it's a dead end.

Spin? You really think you'll be using a mouse in five years? Physical keyboard maybe, but mouse? Ha! Multitouch is the future. Period.

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post #24 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Spin? You really think you'll be using a mouse in five years? Physical keyboard maybe, but mouse? Ha! Multitouch is the future. Period.

not sure quite what the conclusion to draw from this is, my macbook trackpad allows multitouch, heck even my mouse supports two finger swipes etc now, not that hard to extend multitouch but retain a "desktop device" format, without getting my fingers all over the screen
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Spin? You really think you'll be using a mouse in five years? Physical keyboard maybe, but mouse? Ha! Multitouch is the future. Period.

It's just as easy to swipe my finger across the trackpad of my MacBook Pro as it is across my iPad. Or pinch zoom, etc. There's absolutely no reason iBooks can't work with a trackpad. Or a magic mouse.

This has to do with content control, plain and simple. No way to screen share in iBooks on iOS, no way to read it on Mac OS X, means you can only see it on an iOS device screen.
 
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post #26 of 34
Amazing!!!
post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroG View Post

Amazing!!!

Yes really amazing. Yet again Apple have introduced innovative disruptive technology which yet again initially underwhelms much of the media and Wall Street, who as usual completely misunderstand, fail to grasp and underestimate the possible market and long term financial benefits for Apple.

Apple have transformed education and the market is potentially billions of units! There is a global market of more than 2 billion under 25s! There are already over 1,000 Universities involved in iTunes U, publishing content, Soon every University and higher education colleges (globally 10s of thousands) will have to be involved or fall way behind their competitors. Similarly most schools will have to be involved - hundreds of thousands, if not millions globally. iBooks Author provides them all with easy to use tools to produce their own content.

Every student who owns an iPad will enjoy huge advantages over those that don't as well as having a more enjoyable and fulfilling educational experience. This will drive rapid adoption across the globe

With iBooks Author Apple are also creating a completely new market, democratising publishing, making it available to every aspiring author, poet, magazine publisher and creative designer in the same way that the internet democratised journalism allowing anybody to publish their own blogs.

This is the greatest advance in publishing since the invention of printing 500 years ago!

This is as big and significant for education, books, magazines and publishing as iTunes was/is for music.
post #28 of 34
I've spent some time ruminating at the beach and just got back after a bite to eat. This is massive. The textbook stuff is just the "hook" for Apple to push the iPad... Which is of course great, but... this is

Hypercard for iPad

This is massive. I haven't felt this way since I first saw Authorware and Macromedia Director in action.

This is huge.

Books? You ain't seen nothing yet. Publishing? Yeah, if you would like to call the Sistine Chapel just a church.

The next App/Book/Whatever iGold Rush has begun. And I am f***ng not going to miss it this time. No. Bl**dy. Way.

But I also remember the fable of the turtle and the hare. Or, "May The Best Pet Win" in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

Buckle up people, it's iPad all the way through to 2015. With Retina Display, there will be no more doubt of it's reading benefits.
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

It's just as easy to swipe my finger across the trackpad of my MacBook Pro as it is across my iPad. Or pinch zoom, etc. There's absolutely no reason iBooks can't work with a trackpad. Or a magic mouse.

This has to do with content control, plain and simple. No way to screen share in iBooks on iOS, no way to read it on Mac OS X, means you can only see it on an iOS device screen.

Apple sells 3x as many iPads as Macs. Obviously Apple wants to sell as many iPads as possible. It's not a charity, after all. But also, they want to eject the legacy baggage of the Mac.

But in this way. Macs --> Content Creation, iPad --> Content Consumption & Creation, iPhone --> OSX Everywhere

World domination, by their measure.
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

So open the book in iBooks Author to read it on the Mac. The app is free. Really they just need to add support for iBooks to Preview and have done.

You can't open an ePub book in iBooks Author. You can't even export into ePub from iBooks Author. You can insert text from Pages or MS Word into iBooks Author (good luck on preserving the formatting) and then export into the new format (.ibooks). You can also save it in the iBooks Author native format (.iba). So, for authors who have a feature book as plain text, this would work. For those who are going to write their entire book in iBook Author, this would work as well. For those who want to convert their existing document into ePub, iBooks Author is the wrong tool - it simply does not support ePub as the source or the destination.

Unfortunately, even though iBooks Author can export into the .ibooks format, it cannot import from the .ibooks or read the .ibooks format. You could possibly convert of your MS Word files into the .iba format and then save another copy as the export to .ibooks (to be readable on the iPad), but this is a very convoluted solution.

All of the above means to me that I will stick with the ePub format. I am going to use the following tools: Calibre for converting other formats into ePub, Sigil for editing ePub files and saving them as ePub. Either Calibre or Sigil for reading ePub documents on my Mac. And finally, I will use iBooks 2 for reading these ePub documents on the iPad.
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by darrynlowe View Post

Are you kidding me? EPUB has more support than any other platform. However Apple is using the latest version just like they started using the latest version of MPEG with version 4 and their competitors had to play catch up.

Apple leads the way not goes status quo with crappy formats.

There is no ePub support in iBooks Author.
post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post

Apple sells 3x as many iPads as Macs. Obviously Apple wants to sell as many iPads as possible. It's not a charity, after all. But also, they want to eject the legacy baggage of the Mac.

And this is the problem for me. I can listen to my music and watch my videos on both my iOS device and my Mac, but I can't read my book on both. Apple has made money off of me on both devices, yet they artificially limit what I can do on one of them.
 
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post #33 of 34
I'm posting a link to a good write-up on the new Apple's iBooks 2 format (.ibooks). It appears that even though it is based on ePub 3, it has so many proprietary extensions that it is basically a new proprietary format. Perhaps, ePub 3 is not up to the task of interactive books, but at least, iBooks 2 (the app) should be made compatible with ePub 3, and iBooks Author should have an option to create ePub 3 books. Then again, this means that people would be able to create eBooks in ePub 3 and distribute them outside of the Apple iBooks store as well as it would allow people to read these documents on non-Apple devices. So, I understand the business decision behind omitting ePub from iBooks Author, but I also realize that iBooks Author is not the tool that many people expected Apple would release. Authors who want to publish in the ePub 3 format will have to go with another title by another vendor.

Perhaps, the new iBooks 2 format that Apple has developed (.ibooks) will one day become an industry standard, and Apple would be able to protect their profits by publishing books in the iBooks 2 format with DRM. However, this is wishful thinking at this point. What we have witnessed is a major step by Apple to break away from a standardized format and introduce a proprietary format. Whether it's a good step for the industry or not is up to your own judgment.

http://www.baldurbjarnason.com/notes...xtbook-format/
post #34 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

And this is the problem for me. I can listen to my music and watch my videos on both my iOS device and my Mac, but I can't read my book on both. Apple has made money off of me on both devices, yet they artificially limit what I can do on one of them.

No, you can read ePub and PDF files on your Mac. You can't read the ones from the iBooks Store, but you can read any Kindle or un-DRM'd file in both places.

It's just like how you can buy and listen to WMA music on the Mac but not the iPad.

I'm not saying that Apple SHOULD keep preventing reading, I'm saying that your point isn't valid as written. I want Apple to throw rich-content, pretty UI iBook support into Preview as much as the next guy.

Originally posted by Marvin

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