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Take Control of iBooks Author
Plan, produce, and publish a Multi-Touch ebook for the iPad!
Although Apple's iBooks Author 2 is free, that doesn't mean it's also easy. In Take Control of iBooks Author, you'll join ebook designer and instructional software developer Michael E. Cohen as he helps you create a Multi-Touch ebook in iBooks Author 2.
You'll find friendly guidance with planning a project so that your workflow and outline fit what iBooks Author 2 can do. You'll also get comprehensive step-by-step instructions for how to produce your ebook by customizing layouts and arranging text and media. Finally, you'll learn how to publish your ebook, whether for distribution on Apple's iBookstore or elsewhere.
Apple's Multi-Touch ebooks boast visually impressive, template-driven layouts that can contain many types of media—including interactive images, slideshows, audio and video files, rotating 3D images, scrolling sidebars, popping popovers, and quiz questions. You create them on your Mac in the free iBooks Author 2 from Apple, and you can sell them to iPad users in the iBookstore or distribute them for free in any way you like. (iBooks Author 2 runs on Mac OS X 10.7.4 Lion and later.)
Read this ebook for expert advice on how to:
Plan Your Project!
Produce Your Book!
iPad & Kindle
About the Author
Michael E. Cohen has taught English composition, worked as a programmer for NASA’s Deep Space Network, helped develop the first commercial ebooks at the Voyager Company, co-founded a major university’s Humanities computing center, taught a number of people, and played with a lot of new technology. He's the author of a number of books, including Take Control of PDFpen 6, Take Control of iBooks Author, and Take Control of TextExpander.
Table of Contents
Read Me First
This book introduces you to iBooks Author, Apple’s software for creating and publishing what Apple calls “Multi-Touch books.” Although iBooks Author was specifically designed with textbook publishing in mind, Take Control of iBooks Author shows you how to conceive, plan, produce, and publish Multi-Touch books for a variety of uses and audiences. It was written by Michael E. Cohen, edited by Tonya Engst, and published by TidBITS Publishing Inc.
Introduction from Version 1.0
Near the beginning of the final decade of the Twentieth Century, I found myself working at a small publishing company housed in a condemned building on the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, California. I was part of a small group called the Expanded Books team, and our mission was to make the first mass market ebooks. To be sold on floppy disk. To be read on 5-pound computers with dim 640 by 400 resolution monochrome screens. We all wore black-and-white “Text: The Next Frontier” T-shirts, and we felt that we were inventing the future.
We were. In their heyday, the Voyager Expanded Books were award-winning hits and the talk of the publishing world. Voyager even wrote a toolkit so other publishers could produce Expanded Books. The possibilities seemed limitless for long-form digital text.
But by mid-decade it all went pear-shaped. Apple, which produced the software and hardware on which most Voyager products depended, began spiraling into a near-death experience, while at the same time a comet slamming into Jupiter helped propel the World Wide Web into world-wide popularity. Long-form, carefully designed ebooks were out, and short-form, loosely interconnected assemblages of Web pages were in. Ebooks survived, but just barely, a backwater of the publishing world that few observers regarded as being relevant.
Finally, some ten years later, Amazon’s Kindle re-ignited interest in ebook publishing, and the reborn-and-on-a-roll Apple introduced a device called an iPhone that redefined what a handheld device was. After that came the iPad and its iBooks app, and suddenly ebooks were hits again and the talk of the publishing world once more.
The irony was that the ebooks of 2010 were barely more advanced in terms of features and usability than were the original Expanded Books of fifteen years earlier. In some ways, they were even less advanced.
However, early in 2012, Apple introduced a digital book production tool, iBooks Author, and an ebook format that provided capabilities far beyond what the current standard ebook formats could provide. Although iBooks Author was specifically designed for producing textbooks, it became immediately clear to me that long-form digital text was finally moving beyond what the Expanded Books could do, and that the ebook future was looking bright again. I was excited and delighted.
Now the circle is complete: back in the days when ebooks were being born I wrote the user guide for the original Voyager Expanded Book Toolkit, and now, twenty years later, here I am writing a user guide for its Twenty-First Century descendent. Time for a new T-shirt:
Text: The Next Frontier Redux
One year later…
Since I wrote the preceding, Apple’s foray into interactive book publishing seems to be flourishing: a look at the “Made with iBooks Author” section of the iBookstore shows hundreds of books of various types and genres. At the same time, the number of devices capable of displaying Multi-Touch books created by iBooks Author has grown enormously; to date Apple has sold well over 100 million iPads, and the pace seems to be accelerating. Ebooks in general have completely disrupted the traditional publishing industry, and self-published books have become a force to be reckoned with.
With the release of iBooks Author 2, Apple has taken an already powerful and polished tool for making interactive ebooks and improved it significantly. Certainly, iBooks Author is not the only ebook game in town, and Apple’s iBookstore is not the only playground, but if you are at all interested in producing an interactive ebook, it’s become an even better place to start.
Take Control of iBooks Author is presented in the same sequence you would typically follow when creating an iBooks Author ebook. However, there is no harm, and often great benefit, to jumping around so that you can explore or inform yourself about a particular topic. Use this Quick Start as your roadmap to the ebook-production landscape.
This 1.1 version of Take Control of iBooks Author takes into account the changes and enhancements in iBooks Author 2.0 (see Apple’s Support document What’s new in iBooks Author 2.0). The most notable revisions in the ebook are these:
iBooks Author works only with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion or above (including OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion) and is available only through the Mac App Store.
There are lots of great ways to read our ebooks on these devices. For more details, please read our latest Device Advice.
Feel free to ask us if you have a question about this title!
How could we not publish such kind words? If you'd like to send us your comments (good or bad, though we hope they're all good), just click the Feedback link on the cover of your copy of the ebook. Be sure to let us know if we can publish your comment. Thanks!
March 28, 2013 -- Now that we've released version 1.1 of this ebook, which covers version 2.0 of iBooks Author, we have no particular plans to update the ebook once again. Although we had fun exploring the nooks and crannies of iBooks Author, we may (or may not) choose to travel this path again should Apple release another big new version of iBooks Author.
June 5, 2013 --
If you’ve been wondering about the place of traditional footnotes in a Multi-Touch book, you might find this article on TidBITS, "Ebooks, Footnotes, and Skeuomorphs, Oh My!," 4 June 2013, of some interest.
—Michael E. Cohen
April 19, 2013 --
Michael chatted with Scott Willsey and Peter Nikolaidis of Pocket Sized Podcast about iBooks Author and how best to approach using it last week, and a good time was had by all. The interview begins about 8 minutes into the show.
—Michael E. Cohen
April 4, 2013 --
Within hours of completing the 1.1 version of Take Control of iBooks Author, Michael virtually met up with Chuck Joiner to talk about what is new with the iBooks Author software, how Apple is progressing with its Multi-Touch textbook initiative, and where interactive text seems to be going. Hear or watch the interview on MacVoices.
—Michael E. Cohen
August 3, 2012 --
Although many Mac writers could have written Take Control of iBooks Author, Michael was my first pick because of his extensive experience with the digital book genre. TUAW has published an interview with Michael in which he talks about his prior experiences at the Voyager Company and brings them into context by looking at what he likes (and doesn't like) about iBooks Author.
May 31, 2012 --
Watch (or listen) as Chuck Joiner and I spend 40 minutes discussing Take Control of iBooks Author, its related ebook, Take Control of Getting Ready for iBooks Author, and the long, winding road from ebooks on floppy disk to today's interactive Multi-Touch books.
—Michael E. Cohen
May 27, 2012 --
Coincidentally, the day after Take Control of iBooks Author was released, The Literary Platform, a site that showcases projects experimenting with literature and technology, announced the winner of its Douglas Adams Animation competition. Entries in that competition had to provide animation for an audio track that Douglas Adams recorded in the early 1990s to promote the Voyager Expanded Books. A crunchy-sounding 8-bit-audio recording, in fact. The recording used for the competition’s winning entry has had a musical background added; you can find my personal copy of the original recording (converted to AAC audio) here.
—Michael E. Cohen
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