Apple Launches iBooks Author Ebook Creation Tool [Updated]

| Product News

Along with iBooks 2, Apple unveiled iBooks Publisher on Thursday during its special education-related media event in New York City. iBooks Author is a tool for building interactive textbooks, although it can be used to create other ebooks as well.

iBooks Author includes templates for ebook layout, offers a WYSIWYG-style editor, supports adding multimedia content and interactive features, and imports from Word and Pages.

iBooks AuthoriBooks Author for OS X Lion

The app includes one-click support for adding words to the book glossary, the ability to add keynote presentations to layouts, support for photo galleries, and accessibility description support for sight-impaired readers. Books can be previewed in iBooks on the iPad, exported directly to Apple’s iBookstore, saved in iBooks format for sharing, or exported to PDF.

Sharing ebooks with other people isn’t, however, a way to sell iBooks Author-created titles through other ebook stores because Apple is restricting sales of books created with its app to the iBookstore.

iBook Author requires OS X Lion 10.7.2 or higher. It’s available as a free download at Apple’s Mac App Store.

[Updated with additional details about iBooks Author.]

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Jeff Butts

Unfortunately, iBooks Author requires OS X 10.7.2. This is going to prevent a number of educational authors from adopting the app, because there are a number of universities that have prohibited their faculty/staff from upgrading to Lion. Lion did some pretty serious damage to Active Directory integration, and IT professionals in the education sector (at least, public universities in Ohio) aren’t happy.


Lion did some pretty serious damage to Active Directory integration

Wow. I’ll have to add another line to my “Reasons not to upgrade to Lion” list.

From what I’m reading iBooks Author lets you publish directly to the iBookstore. Does anyone know how this will work? I mean do we need to be affiliated with a publishing house or can we self publish. Is there any information on this out there?


Here is the help screen that you can access with iBooks Author:

Before you can publish your book to the iBookstore, you need to do the following:

Create an iBookstore seller account.

Download iTunes Producer, the application you use to submit your book to the iBookstore. After your iBookstore seller account is created, you can sign in to iTunes Connect and download iTunes Producer.

Have an active contract. For more information, sign in to iTunes Connect and go to Contracts, Tax, and Banking.

Create a sample book (as described below). Customers can view the sample book for free before deciding to purchase the book. You decide how much of your book and exactly which content to include in the sample, and then you submit the sample along with the book.

Make sure your published book is a maximum of 2 GB (the iBookstore file size limit). The publishing instructions below describe how to check the book?s file size. Other file size considerations include the following:

Readers with a 3G network can?t download books larger than 20 MB.

The larger the file size, the longer it takes for a book to download. To optimize download time, keep your book file smaller than 1 GB.


I would conclude that you can self publish once you go through the steps of setting up an account and making a contract with iTunes. As I haven’t done any of this; I can’t say how it all works in practice.


Thank you. That’s very helpful.

Now I just have to get on Lion. I think I’ll tell my wife I’m going to need a new computer for that LOL


Wouldn’t this open up a whole lot of problems with regards to copyright infringement?  It seems very tempting to use an image/video from the web to make beautiful books.  I assume Apple does not check where the content comes from?  I assume the author is responsible for copyright related issues?  How would this be treated under the SOPA and PIPA bills?


Wouldn?t this open up a whole lot of problems with regards to copyright infringement?

With textbook publishing houses this wouldn’t be a problem. Nor would it be for any publisher. They either use their own image/video or have licensed their material. The problem would be with independent writers who self publish. I don’t see how Apple can check copyrights before a book is put in the store. That is likely true of any online retailer who sells indie books.


Thanks for the clarification.  I mean to say independent publishers.  It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

I am excited about the new education based announcements.  After going trough the apple web site and look and all the demos, I feel like writing a book grin


Not to cast aspersions upon Apple’s motives which are certainly noble, fair-minded and philanthropic… But why the sudden hooplah over their text book effort?

Amazon has been flogging digital textbooks for years. The Kindle system runs on every tablet platform, seems far easier to publish into, and supports book lending in its DRM. Admittedly, their HARDWARE wasn’t up to educational requirements and remains a bit on the small side. Heck, some textbook publishers even provide PDF’s for school servers.

You’d think the press NEEEEVER heard of eTextBooks before. Is this just pure-d Apple Halo Effect, or is Apple onto something revolutionary that I missed? No - flashcards culled from searches are NOT revolutionary, that’s just refried Google.


As someone who tried to publish something with complex graphics and layout to the Kindle and can say it was impossible to do so. The Kindle self-publishing system is designed to allow the production of text-heavy products like novels or short stories. It simply doesn’t work for graphics heavy or heavily formatted stuff (tables, formulas, etc.). I don’t know if iBooks Author will or not, but it looks more promising.

justin nonymous

Started yesterday.  4 videos embed in four chapters….slide show….background images…..and 3d rendering

400 mb and starting to feel it strain on a save and preview but my iMac is 4 years old….

self publish for you and friends without the iTunes store…

file /save a version/...hook up mac and iPad…do a preview to check what you have…

publish your project….go to spotlight and type in name of the ibook author file and add the extension .ibook…grab that file and give/send this file to friends that have an iPad iPhone iPod touch….

they open their iTunes and drop the file into their ibooks folder….sync with their iPad and they have it….

great for “projects”...

the next file sharing craze….ibooks…..everybody will be a publisher in a week…..

this is going to be a big thing in 3 months….


Is there away to open existing books in iBooks author? Can they then be edited? I suspect this wouldn’t be trivial due to possible infringement, but could be very useful.

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