Apple’s new iBooks Author application for Mac is an impressive piece of work, even more so when you consider that it costs nothing. Although easy to use compared to many other page layout apps, it’s still quite a lengthy and complicated process to produce a book with it. It’s also squarely aimed at the education market. It was designed for the creation of textbooks.
So what if you want to make a shorter, simpler ebook? What if your kids want to make one? iBooks Author, for all its benefits, would probably be overkill. Enter, stage right, Book Creator for iOS. This five-dollar app lets you create simple ebooks on your iPad with very little fuss.
If you thought there would be little interest in an Apple event that didn’t include new hardware, think again. Following the unveiling of iBooks 2 with support for textbooks last week, Apple saw an incredible 350,000 textbook downloads in just three days of availability.
What’s strange about these emotional responses to Apple’s legalese is that they fail the reality test. Apple’s iBooks Author terms are neither greedy nor evil; they don’t mean Apple’s “owns you;” and it’s certainly not the worst thing Apple has ever done.
There’s been a lot of fuss overnight about what exactly Apple is claiming ownership of in the Terms and Conditions associated with its new iBooks Author application for Mac. The fuss is understandable, because the wording of the license agreement gets a little bit muddy.
What do Dr. Seuss, William Faulkner, J.K. Rowling, George Orwell, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Stephen King have in common? All six were repeatedly rejected when trying to publish their first famous novel. With the announcement of iBooks 2 and iBooks Author, Apple isn’t just giving the education system a much needed boost: they’re attempting to resurrect the dying art of the written word by taking absolute power out of the hands of publishers and putting it in the hands of aspiring writers. We’re on the cusp of a renaissance.
Following the release of Apple’s self-publishing tool for the Mac today, iBooks Author, it’s clear that Apple wants to change the way books are created and published online. Specifically, Apple wants to bolster its own iBookstore with the best content, and authors will have to agree with that mission whether they want to or not. If you want to make money, it’s the iBookstore or the highway.
Eager to try the new iBooks Author tools? Better have an iPad. In fact, even if you do have one, you can’t even preview what your e-book will look like on an iPad itself without connecting the device to your computer.
What a bummer. That’s convoluted, and cuts right out authors who want to publish their e-books through the iBookstore without necessarily spending $499 on a device first. Considering there’s already an iOS simulator as part of Apple’s development tools package, why didn’t they just hook iBooks Author’s preview functionality up to that?
For a “small, demure event,” Apple announced a shocking amount of new stuff at today’s Education Event: a new version of iBooks with e-textbook support, iTunes U’s new virtual classroom app, iBook Author (which should revolutionize home publishing) and even several incredible, interactive textbooks. We’re wondering, though, of all this stuff, which of today’s announcements do you find most revolutionary, most exciting?
Tick off your answer in the poll above, then join us in the comments, where we’ll be discussing what Apple’s announcements mean for the future of iOS and the e-book industry.
Apple has made iBooks 2 available for everyone today in the App Store. The software is free, and it will allow for students to access interactive textbooks on the iPad. A new textbooks category has also been added to the iBookstore.