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Apple unveils iBooks Author, a Mac app for easy interactive e-book authoring

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Apple’s (s aapl) Roger Rosner, VP of productivity software, showed off Apple’s new iBooks Author on Thursday at Apple’s special media event in NYC. iBooks Author is a Mac app that provides tools to help anyone publish interactive digital books, complete with rich media features.

iBooks Author comes with a template choose to help you get started quickly, and then you can click and drag your own media to add images, video, audio and other content to your book. You can even add things like 3-D models, which we saw demoed in the iBooks 2 unveiling earlier, as well as interactive elements like image galleries.

Keynote presentations can be embedded directly, so you can include slideshows right within the book. This should really appeal to profs and teachers who want to create their own courseware and customize content. You can also create and link your own glossary definitions for terms, which can include interactive elements, and even add JavaScript and HTML5 code if you have knowledge of that technology.

Author tools include the ability to preview your e-book creations live on your iPad over a Wi-Fi network, which is amazing in terms of being able to get instant feedback about whether or not something works the way you’d expect it to. Apple is really taking the sting out of e-book creation.

Amazingly, Apple’s iBooks Author is free, and is available today on the Mac App Store (for Macs with OS 10.7 or later installed). This will definitely help attract content creators to the iBooks platform, and could also seriously impact the ability of competitors to sell publishing suites aimed at doing similar things.

5 Responses to “Apple unveils iBooks Author, a Mac app for easy interactive e-book authoring”

  1. I have to say that I love this app; it’s simple enough to use and add/create content to make the topic of Fire Department Emergency Communications go from bland to exciting. In just a couple of days I was able to take existing content and structure and develop out two complete chapters. My staff saw it today for the first time and were blown away.

    I think this will be a very useful tool for those of us desiring to develop free content for the sake of the greater good, and I can definitely see the positive implications for students and teachers and of course less use of paper and more exciting instruction/learning. I simply love this app, and again, I’m astounded at how easy and creative one can be with all of the widgets and features built in to it.

  2. Call me a Luddite for wishing it worked on the OS most mac owners continue to use? It is not like I’m asking for it to run on my original 512k Mac. It’s only one step back to Snow Leopard. What features does it have that make it a Lion only App?