iBooks Author, Apple’s new iPad textbook maker, is purported to be so easy to use that [insert stupid animate object here] could go and make one. So we figured we’d try our hand at it. Even if we won’t win any education or design awards, making a three-page book was a walk in the park.
Knowing that the average aspiring textbook writer probably doesn’t have the slightest idea where to begin, Apple included templates to provide a starting spot. From there it’s as easy as tapping a chunk of filler text, highlighting and entering your own brilliant theories instead. Then you can resize, reformat and move your copy around the template as you see fit. Photos, movies and music can be dragged and dropped right on to the book, and the words will automatically format themselves around the new element. Sadly, animated GIFs are not supported.
If you’re worried about things being balanced and symmetrical when rearranging layout, a blue line will appear when you’ve centered your image or block of text. It’s a simple but immensely helpful touch that makes sure your page doesn’t look like a total trainwreck.
You can preview your book on an iPad at anytime by plugging one in and hitting the preview button in iBooks Author, which will load a temporary copy onto the device. Publishing a book is a trickier step, requiring you to register an iTunes Connect Account, as well as download iTunes Producer.
And while getting into the iBooks store isn’t as easy as hitting submit, some people have raised an important concern: with greater accessibility comes bad teaching. Will the iPad textbook landscape be a wasteland of absurd teaching? Who filters through all these books? One would assume Apple has thought of this, but it’s an interesting question nonetheless.
In any case, if you want to publish your manifesto in tablet form, you can download iBooks Author here and get to work.