Sunday, 22 January 2012

iBooks Author - First Impressions

I downloaded iBooks Author as soon as it was released. I have been writing books in the classroom for a number of years but I have never properly published them. My books are always about the current learning. Mostly they tell the story of the current inquiry.

You can read here about the Publishing Group that I am working on at my school.

Originally I wrote books with Microsoft Publisher. This worked well enough as these books were just for printing off on a colour photocopier. I was able to master the double sided printing (short edge binding as I prefer landscape not portrait). I was able to then take the printed pages and cover to a local binder and get them made up into hard cover books.

Then I moved to an Apple school so I used Pages, Keynote and Comic Life to make my books. I am an Elementary teacher so I prefer Keynote as I use large photos and very little text. The Keynote file can be easily exported as a PDF and then the book can be printed via Preview.

I was easily able to sync these PDF books to my iPad. I have also worked with creating ePubs in Pages. I must admit I got a little frustrated with this as I had little control over the layout. I believe that layout is the most important part in an Elementary school book. I tend to keep a certain layout in my books and with ePub the pictures need to be Inline which limits the overall look.

Now for iBooks Author ...
I am impressed - hands down! It's like Apple knew what I needed. iBooks Author is a combination of Keynote and Pages. You can also easily copy/paste from Comic Life as well.

Most importantly you get TOTAL control over the layout.

I love using the widgets. I have tried the Interactive picture widget and the 3D image widget with a lot of success! Here is a screen capture from my first book. This one is in Indonesian. My children are helping me to write it. I hope to finish soon and even try to send it to the iBookstore. Who knows - maybe I'll get to actually publish this one?

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