Teachers may be only now starting to enjoy summer vacation, but Apple is looking ahead to the new school season this fall with a major update to the iTunes U app that makes it easier to do even more on the iPad.
Not long ago, writers were entirely at the mercy of the picky publishers who stood between an author and his or her potential readership. But thanks to the rise of digital books and open publishing platforms like Apple’s iBookstore, anyone can get their stuff out there and have a shot at finding an audience. And with the added interactivity of the iBooks format, authors can raise their books to a new kind of next-generation reading experience. You’d think that producing such a book would require high-level programming skills, but no--Apple has taken its trademark approach to empowering the masses with easy creation tools to digital bookmaking with iBooks Author (Mac App Store, free).
When 2012 rolled around, Andrea Santilli, a teacher at Woodlawn Beach Middle School in Gulf Breeze, Florida, wanted to find a new way to challenge her 7th grade Advanced Life Science students. She wanted to help thems develop relevant lifelong skills in addition to their regular studies, so Santilli set out on a unique quest.
"I wanted to give them the opportunity to be published so they could use this as part of their academic resume and to make what they learn have real meaning," says Santilli. So she turned to Apple.
An ideal world would be one in which you hit publish and the readers come flocking. However as Mark Edwards recalls, getting from five copies a day to topping the Amazon charts takes a great deal of work. “We blogged, used Facebook and Twitter, posted on forums and networked like crazy with other writers and readers,” he says. “We submitted the book for reviews on sites and did everything we could to let people know it existed. It took a long time -- four months from publication to the top 10, spending two or three hours on it every evening. It was exhausting, but worth it in the end.”
Planning on writing a book this summer? Or perhaps you want to take a stab at that movie idea that's been percolating in your head for a few years now. Your Mac is the best tool for composition, and there's an arsenal of software that can help you get started. Whether you want to utilize a free app or can spring the cash for something chock full of features, there's an app that can faciliate your writing needs.
Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and even Apple’s iBooks have been working on moving us away from reading physical books and toward embracing the digital revolution. But until now, there was very little to convince us just how good an idea this could be, since digital books look very much like their real-world counterparts, right down to the page-turning effect.
As well as providing a simple and effective route into publishing an ebook, iBooks Author has a number of tricks up its sleeve to make your titles truly stand out. One such trick is its Review widget, available from the Widgets menu. This offers publishers the chance to include tests within the pages of their book to help readers learn or recap topics covered. While these tests are mainly useful for textbooks and other educational materials, the question styles provide a number of possibilities, and are easy to implement.
Apple’s 1984 Macintosh advert is a classic of modern advertising, and it nailed the countercultural appeal of both Apple and personal computing: in Apple’s hands the computer was an agent of liberty, bringing everybody freedom, opportunity and really nice stuff. Is today’s Apple more Big Brother than liberator?
Apple’s iBooks Author app isn’t just about making your ebook look better. The layout, font and organizational tools are very useful when it comes to making an impressive ePUB title, but they pale in comparison to the options made available from the Widgets menu. This integral part of the iBooks Author platform offers a number of solutions to make your iBook unique and display information and media in new and exciting ways.