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January 20, 2012

eBooks / Apple iBooks Authoring Tool

The new tool from Apple to create electronic books from Apple is really good. I took a Word document (in .docx format) of the contents of a book chapter I wrote in 2010 and imported right into an iBook. I could then do the usual word processing tasks to fill in the template with titles, headings and paragraph styles, and by connecting my iPad with a cable, preview the book instantaneously in iBooks. All the diagrams came over, as did tables, it looked very much like a Word doc in a different package. Additional work is needed to make the material presentable in the iPad format – choosing one or more columns, getting the font size and choice right, and checking the page breaks and positioning of diagrams. I've also seen a sample iBook from a professional photographer with embedded video and a photo gallery. The results are spectacular. Screen shot below, click to see it bigger, shows the front page of the iBook (from a template) with the page navigation at the bottom – whilst I know Apple annoys some people, this sort of easy to use tool will really super charge the move to electronic publishing, and moves them way beyond Amazon for a while. Apart from other things, I can feel a new outlet for writing in the works.


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