Quick Thoughts | on using iBooks Author over the weekend

I’ve spent a couple of hours with iBooks Author over the last couple of days and I’m impressed. Mainly because the timing is perfect. For a few months now I’d been trying various solutions to do exactly what this application does: create a photo book that looks good on the iPad. Needless to say nothing was really cutting it and I had all but resigned myself to using PDF — nothing wrong with that but I‘d hoped for something more immersive and directly compatible with the iBookstore.

And here we are.

iBooks Author does exactly what I want but it IS a 1.0 release, with all the baggage it entails. A few annoyances:

  1. Pages can’t be re-ordered (chapters can).
  2. You can’t save individual layouts or duplicate pages (again, you can only duplicate chapters).
  3. Zoom factor resets every time you switch chapters.
  4. You can’t scroll through an entire book but can only view one chapter at a time.

The recurring theme here is that chapters are building block 0, the base object and the only level on which you have any form of control. I’d like to see individual pages behave the same way, as we’re accustomed to seeing in iWork on which this app is obviously based.

I was also struggling with the way chapters appear on the iPad. Until I realized you set this view in the TOC section, not on the main chapter page. Perhaps reading the manual would’ve helped here (!).

That said, I get a definite kick out of seeing the results on the iPad. I’ve been waiting so long for this. Tethering works perfectly: plug in your iPad, open iBooks and hit Preview in IBA. It creates a book with a Proof banner across its cover. Anytime you hit Preview again it simply uploads the changes to that same file. Sleek.

So what am I preparing? A photo book entitled One Solitude, based on a cross-country trip I took two years ago to chase away ghosts of a looming depression.

I’ll keep you posted.


I want to reiterate my stance on the legal hoopla we’ve been seeing since IBA was released. Apple doesn’t own the content. It doesn’t own the copyright. iBooks Author is a free tool provided by Apple to create iBooks. Not ebooks. They’re giving away an iBook creation kit that creates iPad-compatible books. This doesn’t exclude porting that same content, which we own, to another format. Not at all. This is just AN ADDITIONAL outlet for the content we create. In software terms: a new platform.

So this whole evil meme is absolute nonsense. Wait… Apple and naysayers? Who’da thought.

P.S Scott Bourne gets it.