Archive | February 2012

iBooks Author fashions multimedia books for the iPad

Anyone who’s tried to create a multi­media-based ebook can tell you that it’s not easy. While many popular applications offer export capabilities—which more or less corral text and images into an ePub document—proceeding from there is a challenge. Often, creators encounter troublesome CSS fragments, mismatched formats, and limited creative options within the apps.

Apple’s new desktop app, iBook Author (Mac App Store link), is designed to build beautifully crafted multimedia books solely for the company’s iBookstore and iPad tablet. Conceived as a tool for creating Multi-Touch textbooks featuring visually stimulating elements such as photo galleries, video, interactive diagrams, and 3D objects, iBooks Author can be used to construct an ebook in any genre. There’s no support for the iPhone, the iPod touch, or any other ebook platform.

The reason is basically structural. iBooks Author employs a new format called ibooks (.iba), an amalgamation of the W3C’s ePub standard and CSS, with some Apple-specific code mixed in. These books are far more complex than a typical ePub volume, making them incompatible with any other reader. You can also use iBooks Author to output your text in PDF or plain text, but these capabilities are designed as proofreading mechanisms rather than …read more