Publishing with iBooks Author by McKesson and Witwer

Well, it is the first book to hit the mar­ket and clearly was pre­pared with pre-release soft­ware for the spe­cific pur­pose of get­ting a book to the mar­ket. Ironic I sup­pose after writ­ing that to real­ize that the book itself is about get­ting books to the mar­ket. Ba-dum dum. I will avoid the lar­ger dis­cus­sion of the issues sur­round­ing the mar­ket­ing of books through a single source dis­trib­utor in this review and stick to the struc­ture, intent and deliv­ery of the book itself. The first chapter of Pub­lish­ing with iBook Author by Nel­lie McK­esson and Adam Wit­wer walks the reader through a look at the spe­cific menu items and tools fea­tured on screen. It is rel­at­ively com­pre­hens­ive and not too con­cise to the point of simply repeat­ing the tool or menu item name. The short descrip­tions do give a little more descrip­tion than the help screen in iBooks Author itself.

The second sec­tion of the book exam­ines the com­pon­ents of Author’d text­book attempt­ing to cap­ture some of the new terms and con­cepts that Apple has intro­duced into this beast. It explains the assump­tions that Apple has made and clearly iden­ti­fies many of the con­straints that this places on your cre­at­ive intent, but does sug­gest the pos­sib­il­it­ies that exist. It is copi­ously illus­trated with pho­tos and screen­shots as is the lar­ger volume itself. The pro­cess of think­ing in Pages –> Text –> Objects –> Lay­outs –> Pub­lish­ing is logical and this book moves through these sec­tions with a suit­able amount of detail.

One of the biggest chal­lenges, and I am avoid­ing say­ing cri­ti­cism, is that the fresh­ness of this app and the store itself that restricts the amount of hands-on exper­i­ence that can provide the hints and tips that poten­tial authors need. This is a great intro­duct­ory volume and will get some one in a pos­i­tion to start play­ing about. In fact noth­ing to pre­vent tak­ing exist­ing eBooks that might had been pre­vi­ously authored and using them as a base in iBook Author to turn them into the next ger­min­a­tion all-singing, all-dancing text­book. The pro­gram itself has severe lim­it­a­tions on how much of an auto­mated inges­tion pro­cess can be under­taken, but this book spells these lim­it­a­tions out clearly.

Clearly the use of a tool such as iBooks Author moves bey­ond what we have become more famil­iar with in author­ing stand­ards com­plaint eBooks in the ePub or mobi terms of ref­er­ence and because it is a end-to-end close loop, it does offer some rich con­trol over visu­ally enga­ging and lav­ishly illus­trated inter­act­ive text­books. This book will get the unini­ti­ated (myself included) up and run­ning quickly and effi­ciently. I sus­pect that we will even­tu­ally see some new volumes emerge in the near future that will expand and build on this found­a­tion to look at best prac­tices and start to provide the real-world exper­i­ence. In the mean­time this is a very solid and good choice to gain rapid famili­ar­ity with this intriguing new software.


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