Apple, iPad & e-Books


Today ( 7 August 2013) I attended a workshop hosted by Apple. The workshop was divided into two parts. First part focused on e-pub and the second part on device management inside a school. In this post, I will mostly talk about the first part of the workshop.This part of the workshop was part theory and practical application.

Some background

My personal opinion is that Apple products are of outstanding quality. The operating system itself is Free BSD with a lot of open source software inside of the machine. For example, the web server running is Apache 2.2. My biggest problem with Apple is the price tag. Purchasing an Apple product can literally bankrupt a person or institution!

With this in my mind I started working on their e-pub designer call iBooks Author. This software is available from the App Store for a Mac. It is only available on a Mac as well. The software can be downloaded free of charge.

What a pleasure to work with this piece of software! The interface is intuitive, and I was able to master it in under five minutes. The setup is much like Pages (Mac’s equivalent to MS Word). One can import all types of objects, such as images, video, mathematics formulas, even a multiple choice question and check the answer thereof into the e-Book. I even inserted a 3D rotating image from Google SketchUp. Very good indeed! In under thirty minutes I was able to create and publish a professional e-book.

Drawbacks

Firstly, the EULA. If you use IBooks Author to publish and commercially distribute iBooks, you may only do that through the iTunes store. No other distribution channel may be used. You may only publish for iPad/iPhone. Of course another drawback is that it will only work with the iBooks app, as there are proprietary instructions inside the iBook. No other device, Android, Kindle, will be able to view the iBook.

My conclusion

I can see why Apple products are expensive. There is a lot of development that takes place and their products are of top quality. If I develop for a particular market, where I know all my students will be able to access the e-Book I will only use this program. Where there are multiple types of devices in a school, well, Calibre, Sigil and others will need to suffice.

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