In January, Apple released a new OS X app called iBooks Author. It’s designed to assist authors and publishers with the compilation of books, especially textbooks for Apple’s iBooks 2.0 iOS app. But how does it stack up as an author’s tool? Can it replace other writing tools for authors? TMO asked two developers of major writing tools to size up iBooks Author from a competitive perspective.
Apple’s new app, iBooks Author (iBA) is primarily designed to prepare content for publication in Apple’s iBookstore. Think of it as a design and layout tool. The focus during Apple’s roll out was on textbooks, but one could publish just about any kind of book with it, say, a cookbook or a travel guide.
Therein lies the key word: publish. Content has to be created first. iBooks Author, however, is primarily a publishing tool designed to bring together various components of a modern, interactive digital book after they’ve been created.
During the January 19 presentation, Apple’s Roger Rosner, Apple’s VP of Productivity Software showed off the new tool. While Mr. Rosner pointed out that one could start writing the text of the book within iBA, the focus was on a publisher starting with pre-prepared content: dragging, say, MS Word documents or movies into iBooks Author — and starting with Apple designed templates. The output of the EPUB file is, by the EULA, restricted to Apple’s iBookstore.