Apple Unveils New iBooks Author Tool, Not Just For Textbooks

Apple has spent the past few moments demoing all the new education-friendly featured in iBooks 2, but they have just now answered the question of how authors can create that kind of rich content.

All the magic happens in a new OSX application called iBooks Author, which gives users a simple way to integrate different types of media in order to create iBooks of any stripe. What’s more, iBooks Author will be available today for free, so all you aspiring iBook creators can get started post haste.

“Traditionally creating books is really hard, but we think we’ve changed all that with iBooks Author,” said Roger Rosner, Apple’s VP of Productivity Applications.

The process of creating an iBook is surprisingly straightforward. Creators can type their text directly into iBook Author, but Rosner noted that some people prefer doing their writing in a different environment like Microsoft Word. iBook Author plays nice with those Word documents, as it automatically picks out and creates sections and headers from the text itself when the document is dragged into a new iBook chapter. Adding images is just as simple, as users can drag them onto a page while the text reformats itself around whatever you add.

That’s all well and good, but the real meat here is the ability to add interactive elements to an iBook with minimal headaches. Presentations created in Keynote can be dragged directly into iBook Author for inclusion as an interactive widget, and those who have worked with HTML and JavaScript can create more robust widgets on their own. Also included are a nifty glossary creation tool (essentially a two-click process), and the ability to publish the iBook directly into the store.