Book Review: Publishing with iBooks Author by Nellie McKesson and Adam Witwer

I read Publishing with iBooks Author because I am scoping out the iBooks format for some potential personal projects. As a technical writer, I know that eBooks are part of my professional future as well. The book serves as a great introduction to iBooks Author even for those without extensive electronic publishing experience.

The book starts with a tour of the application that provides feature and interface details on this very well designed authoring application. Chapter 2 delves into Book Building Basics that while second nature to many publishing professionals including print jockeys takes on some added wrinkles especially when it comes to widgets and interactivity. I was happy with the book’s approach in Chapter 3. While iBooks Author includes a powerful text editor (along the lines of the excellent Apple Pages or so it reminds me of), if you are like me you are going to import content from a document to publish – so I found the directions on importing a text file to be especially useful (and my favorite part of the book).

Other strong parts of the book include the details on formatting, table creation, and styles, which seem like they would consume a big chunk of the publishing process. However, the details in this book are rich enough to help new iBooks authors plan their publishing process with a little bit of forward thinking.

There is also great information about creating and managing non-text elements in your book called “Objects” in Chapter 4, which dives into detail about using the Graphics tools in iBooks Author.  Non-graphics people will find help in this chapter to publish a graphically rich iBook. Chapter 4 also delves into widgets and inserting media that are integral in producing enhanced or interactive iBooks.

The Layout Chapter is also first rate and helpful to readers with all levels of publications design experience. I found it easy to follow and well illustrated.

After addressing all of the gritty technical details of using iBooks Author, the book ends out with a chapter devoted to publishing the book you’ve been painstakingly working on with iBooks Author from previewing it on an iPad through submitting your book to the iBookstore which with Apple means a detailed process that uses another application called iTunes Producer and the book delivers in breaking down the process handily enough even for readers new to the world of electronic publishing to grasp.

After reading this book, I feel completely confident I could publish a book using iBooks Author and heartily recommend it to anyone seeking to learn more about iBooks Author or the technical aspect of publishing an iBook.

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