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Last week Apple released iBooks Author as a free tool to create and design books for the iPad. But is this just a niche tool for creating textbooks or is there something useful you can do with it? The niche factor is going to depend on what type of creative person you are. iBooks Author is geared toward making interactive textbooks for iPads, but it's also a simple tool to create any type of digital book you can imagine. Think of it like Adobe InDesign for iBooks and you're on the right track. So, what can you do with iBooks Author? Let's take a look at some of the ways you might get use out of it.
Apple bills iBooks Author as a way to easily create textbooks, but you can hack your way through it to create any type of book you want. If you're a photographer, it's simple to make and distribute a collection of your photographs. You can also use it as a digital scrapbook and collect together all your family footage into a package that can be easily shared with family. The interactive elements also make it easy way to create and release your own interactive children's books, comics, cookbooks, novels, or anything else you can imagine.
Stuff Interactive Elements Anywhere Your Like If you use iWeb or Keynote you already have a grasp on the core concepts behind iBooks Author. The big difference between simply exporting a piece of text as an EPUB file and creating a book is the interactive elements. Let's take a look at the three main features you're likely to use. * Photos, Audio, and Video: For the most casual users, these three multimedia elements are the bread and butter of a personal iBook. Each has drag-and-drop functionality and all you have to do is drag the multimedia of your choosing onto the page you want and you're done. * HTML Snippets: The purpose of the HTML inclusion is to pull live content from the web. You might find use in this for your own book in a few ways. For instance, you can pull content from Twitter, display a Flickr slideshow, or include your blog's RSS feed. * Keynote Presentations: If you created a slideshow of your last vacation to show to friends you can automatically import it into iBook Author and give everyone something to take home. When you import a presentation, it retains all the animations, formatting and everything else.
You Can Create Your Own Templates but You Have to Edit Apple's First Since Apple only includes a few templates to choose from, you want to make your own design to set the book apart. To create you own templates, you need to open a preexisting template and edit it. It's not difficult to do: * Step 1:Pick a template that's close to what you want. You'll notice the backgrounds and other elements are locked in place and seem like they can't be deleted. To edit the lines and background, select the element and click Arrange > Unlock. Now you can edit or delete the previously locked elements. * Step 2: Add background images or shapes you like. Get the page to look exactly how you like it. For backgrounds, right-click "Send to Back" so it doesn't move text out of the way. * Step 3: Once your chapter pages are set how you like. Right-click "duplicate chapter" and iBooks Author creates chapters identical to the one you made. Editing this way isn't perfect, but following the above steps makes it so you can create and customize iBooks Author to your liking. Your own design also helps your book stand out so it doesn't look like it was created from a template.