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Posts tagged with "ibooks author"

Apple Announces iTunes U and iBooks Author Will Be Discontinued

iBooks Author will become unavailable soon.

iBooks Author will become unavailable soon.

Today through two new support pages that have been posted on Apple’s website, the company announced that iTunes U will be discontinued at the end of 2021 and iBooks Author will become unavailable much sooner: on July 1, 2020.

While both announcements are noteworthy since they concern software with long histories, signs of these moves have been visible for years. iTunes U has received minimal investment of late as Apple has redirected resources to its Classroom and Schoolwork platforms. iBooks Author, similarly, has grown stagnant as many of its features have made their way into recent Pages updates.

Apple is recommending that publishers of public iTunes U content move their content over to Apple Podcasts or Apple Books, as appropriate. Private content, on the other hand, is better suited for moving to Schoolwork.

iBooks Author won’t receive any more updates and will become unavailable for download altogether as of July 1. Anyone who already owns the app will be able to continue using it, but Apple encourages everyone to move book creation to Pages. According to the company:

If you have iBooks Author books you’d like to import into Pages, a book import feature is coming to Pages soon. It will allow you to open and edit iBooks Author files (.iba) in Pages.

Hopefully this forthcoming update will also bring Pages’ book creation tools closer to feature parity with what currently exists in iBooks Author, but it’s possible that may not happen for some time.

With WWDC 2020 drawing ever closer, Apple is clearly trying to get any pre-announcements out of the way so the big show can focus on the future rather than the past. In this context, we may see more app- or developer-related announcements over the next couple of weeks.


Pages Is No iBooks Author Replacement

Stephen Hackett took the updated Pages for a spin and compared its digital book creation features to the existing iBooks Author app for Mac. As it turns out, the new functionality isn’t a replacement for what iBooks Author can do:

It cannot open my iBooks Author file for my book on the iMac G3 and history of Mac OS X. I’m not super surprised by that, but as the future of iBooks Author is unknown, I’d like a way to know I can edit this file using Pages in the future.

The options when creating a book in Pages are currently more limited than what is available in iBooks Author. There are fewer templates available, and the hierarchy of chapters and sections are nowhere to be found. iBooks Author includes tools for a Table of Contents and Glossary, and these are missing from Pages as well.

Pages also lacks iBooks Author’s widgets. These can be used to add Keynote files, pop overs, review questions, videos and even HTML content to books. This is a pretty big oversight, as these tools can add real interactivity to a book.

iMore’s Serenity Caldwell has also clarified with Apple that the eBook creation feature in Pages is not a replacement for iBooks Author, which is still “continuing development” – whatever that means, given its erratic update schedule and lack of an iPad version.

I was hoping to be able to create rich, interactive iBooks using Pages for iPad, but unfortunately this isn’t possible with today’s update. Still, I’m going to experiment with the feature to generate EPUBs for my longform reviews directly from iOS.

See also: AppleScript support for eBook creation in Pages for Mac.

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Apple And Indie Publishers

David Sparks:

When I first started writing Paperless, the iBooks store did not exist. There were no snazzy tools for me to incorporate rich-media with text and I was facing up to the fact that I was going to have to Frankenstein ePub and PDF to get what a wanted, a book that not only told you how but also showed you how. I spent weeks researching and testing and still didn’t have it nailed down. Then Apple announced iBooks Author and the iBooks store and I immediately abandoned all prior efforts and jumped to the new platform. iBooks Author gives me exactly what I need to publish the books I want to make.

I didn’t stress this enough when I launched my first book on the iBooks Store: iBooks Author has its quirks, but the fact that a guy like me can put together an interactive book and sell it in over 50 countries with no additional fees is pretty amazing.

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Introducing “Writing On The iPad: Text Automation with Editorial”

Short version

My first book is now available on the iBookstore. It’s an extended edition of my Editorial review that comes with:

  • Completely reformatted layout and design with Retina screenshots, annotated videos, interactive graphics, and more
  • 20 exclusive new workflows
  • 5 new videos
  • 10,000 additional words
  • A photo of yours truly in the Introduction

You can read the book on your iPad, and it’s $2.99 for a limited time.

Get it here.

Longer version (based on the book’s Preface)

Editorial is a text editor for the iPad that supports Markdown, syncs documents with Dropbox, comes with a snippet system to speed up typing, and – a feature that truly makes it stand out from similar apps – is powered by workflows and scripts to automate writing, editing, and publishing. Editorial is developed by Ole Zorn, an independent software developer based in Germany. Editorial was released on August 15th, 2013; prior to the public release, I had been testing the app since late November 2012.

“Writing On The iPad: Text Automation with Editorial” contains my review of Editorial with an in-depth explanation and critique of the app’s numerous features and workflow tools. My goal with this book is to provide a convenient, portable resource to learn more about Editorial, how the app changed the way I work on iOS, and how, through Editorial’s automation, scripts, and workflows, it’s possible to turn an iPad into a powerful tool for writers.

Originally, my Editorial review was here published at MacStories.net on August 15th, 2013, when Editorial for iPad was released on the App Store. However, following many readers’ suggestions due to the length and scope of the review, I decided to offer an iBooks version of it. “Writing On The iPad: Text Automation with Editorial” contains the original review reformatted for iBooks, plus 20 extra workflows and 5 additional videos. You can consider it a “Director’s Cut” edition of my Editorial review, now available in a multi-touch interactive book made exclusively for the iPad and iBooks.

The exclusive workflows included in the Extras chapter are:

  • Show Word Definition
  • Sort Lines Alphabetically
  • Convert Selection To HTML
  • Markdown Link from Clipboard
  • Markdown Image From Clipboard URL
  • Reference Link from Clipboard
  • Count Occurrences of Word
  • Count Links and Footnotes
  • Fill Login
  • Get RSS Feeds
  • URL Sharing Tools
  • Get Pinboard Bookmarks
  • Feed Wrangler
  • “Mark As…” On Feed Wrangler
  • Clean and Flip
  • Rich Text To Evernote
  • Save Tab
  • Reopen Tab
  • Manage Tabs
  • Clip Webpage

Alongside converting the review to the iBooks format and including new content, I also updated screenshots for Retina displays, created galleries to group multiple screenshots together, and annotated some screenshots to better describe the user interface of Editorial. The videos have been enhanced with textual overlays for comments, and I’ve created a glossary for common terms used throughout the book.

I consider this the best version of my Editorial review. Thanks to iBooks’ interactivity, clean layout, and embedded rich content, I hope that you will enjoy a pleasant and convenient reading experience that should help you in getting started with Editorial and understanding the capabilities of advanced workflows and iOS automation – an area that is often underestimated, but quickly growing among the iOS power user community.

I hope that you’ll like what I’ve done. This is a new experience for me, and I would love to receive your feedback either via email or Twitter.

Once again: my new book is available here, and it’s $2.99 for a limited time.


iBooks Author Support For The iPhone

Macworld’s Serenity Caldwell noticed a change in the wording that lists software requirements for iBooks Author books on iTunes, and she thinks that may suggest iPhone support is coming next week:

To my mind, it’s likely that we’ll see iBooks Author support on the iPhone when iOS 7 is released. The groundwork, after all, has already been laid. As I mentioned in my critique of the program last year, iBooks Author already has a potentially viable option for iPhone and iPod touch users—its reflowable portrait mode. In it, interactive elements float alongside the text, which itself can be resized by the reader. In addition, current iPhone models (and any that might get announced next week) will have more than enough power to display videos and other interactive content.

I submitted a book made with iBooks Author to Apple a few days ago, and I completely agree with Serenity. Recent iPhone models (with Retina displays and taller screens) could work well with iBooks Author’s portrait mode (where font size can be adjusted) and it seems strange that Apple still hasn’t done this. I hope that we’ll see iPhone support for iBooks Author books next week, as that would lead to a terrific boost in addressable audience for publishers.

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Cleaning Mona Lisa: Showcasing the Potential for iBooks

Cleaning Mona Lisa Book Cover

Cleaning Mona Lisa Book Cover

Behind a beautiful portrait of Mona Lisa and a blue ribbon denoting its newness to my iBooks shelf, I discovered a world of rich and vivacious color drowned out by the ill effects of aging varnish, dust, and improper lighting. Restoring the world’s most famous paintings requires not only an understanding of the fine arts, but an even deeper understanding of the tools artists used to create the wildly vivid and awe-inspiring paintings we often observe in museums and art galleries. As you’ll come to learn in Lee Sandstead’s interactive iBook, preserving a painting is an art itself.

Sandstead’s 30-page digital iBook is nothing short of an exemplary example of what iBooks Author can produce when great minds meet great developers. The concise text, coupled with interactive images, galleries, and interviews, provides a much more personal platform for learning and engagement than my history textbooks ever could. That’s not to say “Cleaning Mona Lisa” was written for study — it’s an intriguing, personalized story from a passionate and talented art historian.

Cleaning Mona Lisa Lighting Page

Cleaning Mona Lisa Lighting Page

Covering the history of painting techniques from tempera to oil painting, Sandstead has to first recreate the methods artists used to create their paintings. As you’ll learn, the tools artists used and our neglect about how these paintings were intended to be preserved has been detrimental to the quality of the paintings themselves. Sandstead made it his mission to understand both what affects the quality of a painting and how to do undo the toll of time itself to reveal what are truly beautiful masterpieces.

iBooks Author has enabled the creation of an interactive e-book, that as Apple intended, flows perfectly no matter what orientation you decide to read it in. Videos guide you through the author’s investigative process, while interactive word bubbles clue you in on the observations made on a particular painting. Tapity’s iteration of engagement immerses you with the content — it doesn’t detract you from the author’s message. The author’s prose, combined with the layout of images and interactive content, make for an ebook that’s accessible and clever.

Cleaning Mona Lisa” is an iBook for all ages that can be read in an evening. It didn’t take me long to read through, but the material was genuinely interesting, and I have nothing but good things to say about the book’s presentation and content. Only $2.99 on the iBookstore, “Cleaning Mona Lisa” sets the example for what an iBook should aspire to be.


Apple Showcases Books “Made with iBooks Author”

Apple Showcases Books “Made with iBooks Author”

Every week on Thursday, Apple updates its various homepages across the iTunes Store, App Store, Mac App Store, and iBookstore to showcase new featured content and sections. This week, Apple has chosen to feature books “Made with iBooks Author” on the iBookstore’s homepage.

Made with iBooks Author, these books bring ideas and stories to life. Our handpicked collection features titles filled with 3D images, video, and interactive diagrams, galleries, maps, and more. To read Multi-Touch books, an iPad with the latest version of the free iBooks app is required.

The custom section, available here, showcases 40 titles that have been designed with iBooks Author to include rich media such as images and video alongside text. Featured books include Olivia Harrison’s “George Harrison: Living In The Material World” and DK Publishing’s “Story of the Titanic”. Links to download the iBooks app and browse more iBooks Author-made titles are also provided in the section, giving access to more content created using Apple’s software such as David Sparks’ “Paperless”.

Unveiled at an education event in January, iBooks Author is Apple’s latest entry in the OS X design and publishing offering. With an integrated interface to produce and lay out eBooks based on text, images, videos, and other interactive content, iBooks Author caught many’s attention with its new take on touch-enabled books that could bring innovation in an area that had been long dominated by static formats and outdated standards. iBooks Author was also in the middle of a debate due to a controversial End User License Agreement, which Apple eventually clarified.

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As (Some) Expected, Apple Clarifies iBooks Author EULA

As (Some) Expected, Apple Clarifies iBooks Author EULA

Megan Lavey-Heaton at TUAW reports Apple issued today an update to iBooks Author which includes a slightly revised end-user license agreement (EULA). The Next Web takes a closer look at the updates:

Apple has updated its iBooks Author app in order to clarify the language of its End User License Agreement. The changes to the EULA clarify that Apple does indeed intend the packaged product to be sold on the iBookstore only, but also makes it clear that it does not lay claim to the content that you use to create the book, nor does it try to limit what you can do with that content elsewhere.

Two weeks ago, I wrote:

…we know that Apple is a company that in the past months hasn’t been afraid of reversing a couple of unpopular decisions.

The Next Web also notes:

This change in wording should make it clear, as many right minded people have assumed…

Anyone with a bit of intellect would have guessed since iBooks Author’s day one that the poorly worded EULA was set to be updated soon. Anyone who knows how Apple deals with damage control could have reminisced that the company doesn’t like rushed press released or having executives making jokes on Twitter, or, even better, could have produced a level-headed analysis of the issue. History, after all, taught us that the Apple of the most recent years has always addressed online turmoils in one way or another.

But, you know, Apple wants your content.

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An Experiment with Comics, iBooks 2.0 and iBooks Author

Last week, Apple unveiled its iBooks Textbooks initiative alongside a new desktop application for OS X, iBooks Author, aimed at offering a single solution for authors willing to edit and design iBooks for the iBookstore or manual distribution through exporting options. Some limitations of iBooks Author have sparked a debate that we’ve covered extensively on MacStories last week, also through articles in our Reading List.

Proprietary file format controversies aside, it was already clear that iBooks Author would undoubtedly facilitate the creation of textbooks and eBooks heavily relying on graphics with its easy-to-use align tools and familiar interface.

Today, cartoon and t-shirt designer Richard Stevens has published an iBooks adaptation of its popular webcomic series that’s been entirely converted and tweaked using iBooks Author as an initial experiment.

Waking Up With the Diesel Sweeties is a tiny little free ebook for the iPad. It contains all my comics from last month with a few tweaks, formatted in iBooks Author. This version only works on the iPad. It’s not in the iBookstore, so you’ll need to download the file and sync it to your iPad.

The eBook is available for download through Dropbox, and it can be installed on an iPad running iBooks 2. You can manually sync the file from iTunes to your iPad, or use an app like GoodReader to download it directly on your device and open it in iBooks. Whilst Stevens’ first iBook is an experiment, it shows the possibilities opened by iBooks 2 and iBooks Author: the book fully supports iBooks’ new annotations, highlights and study cards, and you can pinch on pages to access iBooks’ new navigation with thumbnails displayed at the bottom of the screen.

I wrote last week that I wouldn’t be surprised to see iBooks Author-based eBooks be used for something else other than regular books – for instance, I’ve heard more than one developer say that they’d be interested in using the software to create interactive manuals and help tools for their apps, among other things. iBooks Author may have been criticized and there’s still a lot of features Apple has to clarify and implement (especially for independent authors and publishers), but the interactivity and WebKit-based functionalities offered by the format look more promising every day.