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  1. Text Appearance Adjustments and Enhancements / Interactive Textbooks
  2. Using iBook Author, Interactive eBooks Can Now Be Created by Anyone
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Like this article? We recommend Interactive Textbooks Are Now Available for the iPad

Using iBook Author, Interactive eBooks Can Now Be Created by Anyone

At the same time, Apple released iBooks 2.0.1 and announced its partnership with major textbook publishers to create cutting-edge, interactive textbooks; the company also released a free Mac software package, called iBook Author (available for download from the Mac App Store), which allows anyone to create, publish, and distribute interactive eBook content for the iPad.

For businesses, associations, or individuals, iBook Author allows for highly interactive and customized publications to be created and published in-house on any Mac, and then distributed via the iPad to employees, customers, potential clients, family members, or friends, for example.

Using text, photos, video, audio, and multimedia elements, an interactive eBook can be created that takes the form of an employee training manual, annual report, product catalog, interactive picture book (or photo album), cookbook, children’s book, product user’s guide, or a newsletter, for example.

Publications created using iBook Author can include interactive and/or multimedia elements, and then be distributed to iPad users in a variety of ways, including via Apple’s iBookstore. The content can be created from scratch using iBook Author, or in conjunction with this software, professionally created templates (developed by Apple and third parties) can be used to make the content formatting process faster and easier.

For example, Jumsoft has introduced Book Palette 1.0 for the Mac ($2.99) that includes 10 eBook templates designed for use with iBook Author. Additional free and fee-based templates can also be found by visiting http://www.iBookAuthorTemplates.com, or by entering the search phrase “iBook Author Templates” into any Internet search engine.

Using iBook Author, companies can easily and quickly create, update, and distribute interactive content via the iPad, without having to invest thousands of dollars (or more) on the development of a proprietary iPad app.

The iBook Author software uses an intuitive, yet feature-packed, drag-and-drop user interface that’s as easy to use as a word processor, and allows the content creator to utilize the many features built into the iBooks app to help the reader fully experience the eBook’s content. Created by Apple, iBook Author is available exclusively for the Mac.

For PC or Mac users interested in creating, publishing and distributing photo eBooks via the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, Blurb.com (http://www.blurb.com) now offers an inexpensive, yet easy-to-use eBook publishing option.

By downloading the free Blurb software, PC or Mac users can easily create and publish professionally printed photo books in both hardcover and softcover formats. The books are created by dragging and dropping photos into a template, adding text and other graphic elements, and then uploading the book to the Blurb service to be traditionally printed.

Photo books created using Blurb on a PC or Mac can be printed one copy at a time, or can be sold directly through the Blurb.com online store. By selecting the new eBook option, a photo book created and published using Blurb can also now be created into an iPhone or iPad-compatible eBook, and then downloaded directly to the iOS mobile device and viewed using iBooks for just $1.99 per digital copy.

The Blurb software can be used to create photo books, cookbooks, children’s books, or content that includes photos and text. The software’s capabilities are not as advanced as what’s possible using iBook Author; however, any book created using the Blurb software can be printed in hardcover or softcover, and/or published in eBook form in any quantity. The quality is extremely impressive, while the cost is highly competitive.

Final Thoughts

With tens of millions of iPads currently in use, the ability for anyone to custom create content in eBook form, and then publish and distribute that content (for free or by selling it via iBookstore or Blurb.com, for example), is a major advancement that has the potential to change how businesses, organizations, associations and self-published authors disseminate information. At the same time, these same tools are being used by textbook publishers and schools to enhance the way students learn using the iPad as an educational tool.

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