Hands On With iBooks Author

Last week Apple unveiled their new education initiative, which included an expanded iTunes U and textbooks made for the iPad. To help foster the future of digital textbook authoring, Apple also introduced iBooks Author, a free application designed to make building books for the iPad easy for everyone to do. But is it? We're working on our own book, so we thought we'd share our notes after using the publishing application...

A few thoughts about iBook Author:
• Start your books in another program such as Scrivener, Pages or even Microsoft Word, and then dump it into iBooks Author. Those are much better word processing applications, and it's easier to share documents with a co-author if necessary.

• I wish there were more templates. As it stands, there are just six to choose from, and even for textbooks, they're pretty blah. Some additional templates in future upgrades would be nice.

• Additional flexibility in images and video types would be handy as well. This is an Apple product, why not use movies shot on an Apple product like the iPhone?

• Overall, even with its flaws, I do like iBooks Author. I've got my own book project that I'm working on right now, and I may dump it into the app to see how it all works out. We shall see.

Video: Kevin Whipps