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What’s New with the iBooks App

📄 Contents

  1. Text Appearance Adjustments and Enhancements / Interactive Textbooks
  2. Using iBook Author, Interactive eBooks Can Now Be Created by Anyone
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Avid iPhone/iPad user Jason R. Rich explores the new features added to the iBooks app for the iPhone and iPad, plus explains how anyone can now publish professional-quality, interactive content for the iPad using the new iBooks Author software from Apple or the Blurb software from Blurb.com.
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Those who enjoy the convenience of reading their favorite books in eBook form on the Apple iPhone or iPad have probably noticed some recent changes to the popular iBooks app. The latest version of iBooks (2.0.1) is a free app for the iPhone and iPad that’s available from the App Store. In addition to offering access to Apple’s own online-based iBookstore (an online store for acquiring eBooks), the iBooks app is also a powerful eBook reader.

Text Appearance Adjustments and Enhancements

While reading an eBook using iBooks, the reader has always been able to customize the appearance of the text on the iOS device’s screen by adjusting the screen’s brightness, the font, and the font size. More recently, Apple introduced the Sepia and Night Themes, as well as the app’s Full Screen mode.

The Themes change the color scheme of the text and background of the eBook’s content, making it easier on the user’s eyes in various lighting situations, while the Full Screen mode makes better use of the on-screen real estate when displaying eBook content.

Both the Themes and Full Screen mode are accessible while reading any eBook using the iBooks app by tapping anywhere on the screen to make the on-screen command icons appear, and then by tapping on the “aA” command icon that’s displayed near the upper-right corner of the screen.

Interactive Textbooks Are Now Available for the iPad

In conjunction with the release of iBooks 2.0.1, Apple launched a new initiative to help publishers create highly interactive textbooks for the iPad tablet that can include text, photos, video, audio, and three-dimensional graphics to showcase and convey content, plus allow the reader to add virtual highlights and their own notes to the text, access a glossary of terms used within the text, and utilize multi-touch commands to delve further into the eBook’s content as they’re reading. Interactive content built into these new eBook-based textbooks can include quizzes and virtual flash cards to help students learn, and/or hyperlinks to immediately direct readers to related web-based content.

In early February 2012, Apple generated a lot of hype in regard to the educational aspects of these interactive textbooks that are currently being published by McGraw-Hill and Pearson, two of the country’s leading textbook publishers. eBook-based interactive textbooks published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are also in the works.

To showcase the future of interactive textbooks, algebra, physics, biology, chemistry, geometry, and physics textbooks were initially released via iBookstore. Beyond being interactive, textbooks published in eBook form for the iPad are also significantly less expensive than printed textbooks, averaging just $14.99 each.

Now, in addition to using interactive apps on the iPad created for educational purposes, interactive eBooks, in addition to interactive children’s books, are helping to establish the iPad as a learning and educational tool.

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