I don't remember ever getting butterflies in my stomach when using a piece of software for the first time, but that's exactly what happened with the new iBooks Author app. Apple have just changed the face of modern culture again with a bold move into the book publishing world, and a lot of publishers are about to go out of business....a lot! But just as the music world giants like Sony were scratching their heads a few years ago and not coming up with a solution for the dire state of the music industry, Apple have came in with a move that is to the publishing industry what iTunes was to the music industry. I hate to see business's going to the wall, but as Bob Dylan said "times, they are a changing".
Here's another quote, this time from Dane Sanders "we now live in a digiflat world". That means we are all on an equal playing field. I'm typing this blog post on my iPad in a play area while my kids are getting tired out (hopefully). I'll then upload it to my blog for free and you get to read it for free. We can publish what we like and we can look for and read what we like (at least until the men in suits ruin the internet).
iBooks Author is awesome! I've played with it over the weekend and it's really easy to get to grips with. There's a small learning curve, but it's mostly plain sailing, especially if you have used desktop publishing software. I put together a mockup of a documentary book as a way to get to grips with the app. The 'Sections' through me a bit at first. Sections are great for textbooks, but I just wanted chapters in my book, one per project. But once I found how to delete a section, I was off again. Another thing I'm trying to do is link text box's that I make and auto flow the text over a chapter, but I still haven't managed to figure that one out at the time of writing this post (leave the answer in the comments if you know). That said, it wasn't long before I had a couple of chapters laid out the way I wanted, complete with photos that popped up full size at the tap of a finger and embedded galleries that work by swiping the box on the page or tapping first and then swiping them full screen. One of the genius things about this app is that when you click on the preview button it sends the book to your iPad (as long as it's connected to your Mac using the dock cable). The book then stays on your iPad, which let's your friends and family preview your latest masterpiece before you publish it to iBooks. I should state that the app is for Mac only, but maybe a windows version is in the pipeline? I would be gutted right now if I was still a windows user!
When you want to publish your book you simply upload it to the iBooks Store and fill out the information required (which I believe includes tax forms). The financial deal is a 70/30 split, with the author getting the bigger half. If anybody reading this has published a paper book, you'll know just how great a deal Apple is offering.
The best way to great your head around this game changing piece of software is by playing around with it. Even if you only intend buying books in the new format, iBooks Author will give you the best insight into how these books work on the iPad. I can't wait to see some of the new and innovative books that come out on this format.