iBooks Author revised for Yosemite

With the release of Yosemite, the latest upgrade to OS X, Apple also made some major improvements to iBooks Author. You can find them listed here:

itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibooks- … d490152466

Two of the most important changes are the ability to import books that are in epub or the markup language for InDesign, IDML.

Since I do my books with InDesign, I’m especially intrigued by that second feature. ID can already create quite good ebooks for iBooks, but passing them through IBA might be make a few tweaks possible or even create a combined movable and fixed-layout epub version.

I’ve been playing with IBA a little. Epub import does work, although it seemed to see the cover as a chapter and the drop caps that appeared in landscape mode on my iPad disappeared in portrait. Especially handy was the ability to preview a document in just seconds on an attached (via USB) iPad. It even goes to the page you were looking at in IBA. Very handy. Amazon does nothing like that for his authors.

InDesign import did work, which is surprising given the great gap between the two. But it’s hindered by what also frustrated Scrivener users when IBA first came out. The iBooks team at Apple seems to be convinced that authors write in chapters, one chapter to a file. That’s how IBA insists on inserting documents from Pages, Word and InDesign. That option is even called: Insert-Insert Chapter From… When I tried to import an entire book done in InDesign, it brought the entire book in as Chapter 2. I guess that can be tweaked, but it is a nuisance. IBA needs the ability to break an imported document into chapters, keeping off a particular style.

That is unfortunate. Word may be so clumsy to use, most authors break their books into chapter length documents. But the very point of writing in Scrivener and laying out with InDesign is to have the entire book in front of you at the same time. I’ve edited 550-page InDesign books as one ID file without a hitch.

I know nothing more about IBA than I’ve been able to learn playing with it for a few minutes. Scrivener authors who use it to create books for the iBookstore might want to contribute their more expert comments about IBA in general and this new version in particular.

–Mike Perry, Inkling Books

Thanks for the review.