Last Thursday, Apple held a live event at the Guggenheim in New York, where the company introduced its latest software, iBooks Author, which some critics are calling a game changer for schools, writers, and book publishers. iBooks Author is designed to enable writers and publishers to create multimedia e-textbooks that can be uploaded and sold on the Apple’s iBooks store and viewed in the updated iBooks 2 app for the iPad.
Though multimedia e-textbooks are already on the market, iBooks Author makes it easier for users to write or import text from Pages or Word, as well as add other media (video, images, photo gallery, Keynote presentation, interactive callouts, 3D objects, custom HTML, etc) and publish it to the iBooks store, or export to PDF and regular rich text format.
The application is similar to Apple’s Pages, in which you can drop and add elements and supporting files, and get an instant preview of what your book will like as you write and produce it. It also includes templates to get you started.
iBooks Author, however, is not limited to e-textbooks. You can just as easily write cookbooks, picture books, how-to books, or even interactive novels. iBooks uploaded to the iBooks store can be made available for free download, or $14.99 for textbooks. Apple has also been working with Pearson, McGraw Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to make books available on the iPad.
iBooks Author, which can be downloaded for free from the App Store, requires Apple’s latest operating system, Lion.