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“Take Control of iBooks Author” Teaches Multi-Touch Book Creation

Intrigued by Apple’s free iBooks Author ebook publishing software? If you want to create a visually attractive ebook on your Mac and have your layout preserved for readers in iBooks on the iPad, you’ll find a lot to like in iBooks Author. Beyond the obvious text formatting, you can insert slideshows and interactive illustrations, add audio and video, create quizzes, and much more. iBooks Author is designed for creating textbooks, but with a little creativity, you can use it to make many other types of interactive multimedia iPad publications as well — catalogs, journals, brochures, and more.

Our curiosity about iBooks Author has taken form as “Take Control of iBooks Author,” a new ebook by Michael E. Cohen. You couldn’t imagine a more appropriate author than Michael, who helped create some of the first digital textbooks as part of the Voyager Expanded Books series in the 1990s and who wrote the user guide for the original Voyager Expanded Book Toolkit. We’ve also contributed what we can from our hard-won experience publishing in the iBookstore. The 150-page ebook costs $15, but read on, since we’ve done something special for any iPad owner.

Briefly, “Take Control of iBooks Author” kicks off by explaining how to plan your Multi-Touch book project to fit the capabilities and assumptions made by iBooks Author. Next up, you’ll find comprehensive step-by-step instructions for producing your ebook by customizing the many available layouts and arranging your text and media. Finally, you’ll learn how to publish your ebook, whether for distribution on Apple’s iBookstore or through some other means. The topics that discuss production are extremely detailed — iBooks Author can be quite squirrelly to work with when you get down to the nitty-gritty.

We chose to publish “Take Control of iBooks Author” in our usual PDF and EPUB formats (Mobipocket coming soon), so you could read it on many different devices and so it would be a regular Take Control ebook. However, we also wanted to publish an actual Multi-Touch book, so we put several chapters (about 40 pages) from “Take Control of iBooks Author” into a free Multi-Touch book called “Take Control of Getting Ready for iBooks Author” (the link is a direct 8.5 MB download). When viewing “Take Control of Getting Ready for iBooks Author” on your iPad, the media examples are fully operational — you can play a video file, view an image gallery, tap an interactive illustration, take a visual quiz, see the Keynote widget, rotate a 3D image, and even make a Cheshire cat fade away.

To read “Take Control of Getting Ready for iBooks Author,” you can download it on your iPad and then tap the “Open in” controls to move it into iBooks, or you can download it to your Mac (or Windows PC) and sync it to iBooks via iTunes. We hope that this free ebook will be shared widely and that it will encourage people — especially teachers — who may have never bought a Take Control title before to check out “Take Control of iBooks Author.” If you know anyone who might be interested in building a Multi-Touch book in iBooks Author, please let them know about these new books.

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