Ars Technica reviews iBooks Author 1.1

Interested in learning how iBooks Author works? On Ars Technica, Dave Girard has posted a 4-page-long review of the free e-book creator, with lots of screen shots. It goes into a lot of detail about what he learned in using it to create an iBooks version of his e-book 101 Autodesk Maya Tips. In short, Girard found that iBooks had some features he liked and a number of them he didn’t.

A lot of the problems Girard had with the program stemmed from Apple limiting the options available to its users. There is no direct control over the CSS formatting of the EPUB, for example, and no support for embedded fonts (and a very very limited set of internal fonts that offer full formatting options such as italic and bold).

He also didn’t like some of Apple’s policies with regard to self-publishing (such as rejecting books that link to purchase pages on Amazon and elsewhere), and noted that Apple seems to have the same tendency toward dragging its feet in e-book publishing that it has for publishing aps.

In the end, Girard calls iBooks “A promising start but only worsens Apple’s reputation for lowering the bar for digital typography and being a heavy-handed publisher.” The whole review is well worth reading even if you’re just curious.

1 Comment on Ars Technica reviews iBooks Author 1.1

  1. I think that more people with specialized objectives should chronicle their attempts to make effective use of a particular application. Then, someone could aggregate a number of these accounts producing a better picture of the app, especially a new one such as iBooks Author.

    Now at version 1.1, it will be interesting to see how Apple evolves this app and Pages with EPUB export as well. A WYSIWYG approach to creating Apple’s “fixed layout” plus “read aloud” *.epub files would be most welcome.

    Being free, I wouldn’t expect to see third parties coming out with apps that create *.ibooks files even though there isn’t any legal or technical barrier to doing so.

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