In the latest version of iBooks author there have been a number of improvements making the application much better for creating e-books. There are new widgets available to add for increased reader interactivity. There is support for mathematics symbols, which some say should really have been in there in the first edition on account of the fact that iBooks is so good for creating textbooks. I am sure that one or two maths teachers must have been lobbying Apple to sort out that omission as soon as possible.
Portrait Only iBooks
It is now possible to create books which are portrait only. When the reader gets their hands on such a book they will find that it is only available to be viewed in the portrait orientation. Instead of getting the portrait version of navigation that you find in iBooks which can go to landscape, the reader is able to move through the book using the same navigation, table of contents and similar interaction as you would if it was a landscape oriented book.
Custom fonts for iBooks
It is now possible to use all sorts of TrueType and OpenType fonts in your iBooks and obviously this will give you greater control over the look and the design of your masterpiece. Of course you will need to make sure that you have the proper rights to use the fonts that you include in the book, just as you would with images, video and other media.
Internal improvements to the iBooks Author application
With the first version of iBooks author, I did find that it was a nuisance that it was necessary to make sure that the video files were of the absolutely correct type. some that i thought would work, didn’t.There are so many different types of video format and the old iBooks Author seemed to prefer just one format. This increased the work and the time involved with having to convert video files beforehand. Certainly, I found it surprising, video files that would play natively on the iPad didn’t work within iBooks. In this latest version of iBooks Author, this has changed and it now accepts all of the media formats that are supported by QuickTime.
Media is automatically optimised
You will find now that when audio and video media files are added there will be optimisation performed on those files, so that they perfectly meet the requirements for playing on the iPad. You will find that you may have to wait for the computer to do this optimisation for you if you add more than one single media file. This is because the files are optimised one at a time, but there is nothing to stop you from working on other parts of your book while this process is taking place.
IBooks author is now using all QuickTime audio formats
So now you also have a wider range of audio formats that you can add to your iBook. This will make your work putting together these multimedia elements much easier. iBooks Author will provide the audio with a scrubber bar and also a play and pause button. It is also possible to provide one image for the audio on you book, which can toggle pause and play if you want to use a custom design.
The iBooks Author publishing workflow gets better
There were complaints in the previous version of iBooks Author with the workflow that was necessary to get a book published. In this latest version of iBooks Author, Apple have improved the process to make it simpler and generally easier to use. It is possible now to check through your book for errors before exporting it into the iTunes Producer application. One of the things that you might want to do when creating your iBook is to produce a sample version of your book. When you are selling your book in the Apple iBook store you will find you will get more sales if you produce a sample book. iBooks Author now gives you the ability to make this sample book based upon one of your chapters.
Version numbers for your books
It is important for your own records, just as much as it is important for the readers to have proper version numbering for your iBooks. It is now necessary for you to enter new version numbers, each time you publish an update to books that are already available within the iBookstore. These new version numbers must be entered when you’re exporting your book, although it is not necessary when you’re exporting a book just as a sample. This will help the readers of your books to see that they have the latest version. When the readers upgrade to the latest version of a book, all of their highlights, notes and bookmarks will still be available for them to use.
iBooks author and the Retina Display
If you are lucky enough to have one of these latest MacBook Pro Apple computers with the Retina Display, then you will be able to get full benefit of that technology within this application. Your graphics, illustrations and images as well as the text, will be as vivid and sharp as they should be.
Get Bonus information about iBooks Author in this PDF Book
Click on the book to get bonus material about iBooks Author.
Includes links to loads of video tutorials about making eBooks
The Mac20Q verdict on iBooks Author
When you’re using the iBooks Author application first of all you may not notice much difference from the previous version. You will be more likely to notice when you start to use the new widgets that are available or if you are adding mathematical expressions to your book. it is just that some features have been added and the core usability is slightly improved in areas where it matters.
When it comes time to export your new iBook ready for iTunes Producer so that you can finalise the publication of your textbook, or whatever sort of book you are making, again you will notice the improvements over the previous version of iBooks Author. The first version of iBooks Author was by no means a disappointment, but this new version is certainly a very definite improvement and well worth having. It is still free to get your hands on this iBooks Author application from the Mac App Store, so you have no excuses regarding upgrading. There is a new version of the iBooks app for iOS also, to take advantage of the updates to iBooks Author. I will be looking forward to iBook 4 now because what we have now is a nice update on iBook 2.
On account of the fact I am not at home, working in the school in Girona, I am working on this post on my iPad. I used Byword to get at the writing/ dictating that I did last night and then posting using Blogsy. I am having to remind myself of how Blogsy works for putting the images and video into the post. I am pleased with the process and it feels good to be completely mobile and functional with the iPad.