Book App to iBook - Intro

Book App to iBook - Intro
iBooks Author has been around for a while now. But I'm just now beginning to think about creating a book with it. So for the next few articles, we will explore the software and see what it has to offer. Basically, iBook AuthorR is an ebook design software that exports ebooks for the Apple iBooks reading app in the iBook format.

A few years ago when I was deciding which format I would use to build my book apps, iBook, ePub or app, I went with the app format because I wanted a lot of animation and interactivity. Since I only owned an iPad, the choice of which mobile device to use for testing was an easy decision.

I first used AdobeR FlashR to create my book app Dracula's Guest. It turned out well but required programming in ActionScript for the animations and interaction. I wanted a better alternative for my readers who do not know or want to learn programming. About a year later, I noticed the Photoshop plugin called Kwik. When used along with Corona SDKR, these plugins generate the files for an app. My book app was more optimized and the plugin was much easier to use than Flash. I used Kwik again for my second book app T'was The Night Before Christmas.

However, I always wondered how the books would have turned out if I had used iBooks Author. iBooks Author has had some nice upgrades, especially the integration between iBooks Author and iAd Producer, which can be used to create interactive elements for your iBook. I decided to see how my T'was The Night Before Christmas book app would turn out if built in iBooks Author. I am especially curious just how many of the interactive elements will survive or need to be replaced with an alternative.

Why the iBooks format? Well, I still only have an iPad3 for development and testing. Also, one of the biggest headaches in the development process is the constant upgrades of the iOS platform. I assume that using an Apple software to create the iBook will help in that matter. We shall see.

The first decision you need to make when using iBooks Author is whether you want to use the fixed layout option. By default, iBooks Author will create a book that can be read in both portrait and landscape layout and the layout of the text and graphics will change depending on how the reader is holding their device. This is nice for some books, but the layout of the graphics and text in a book such as a children's book is very important and usually doesn't move. So I decided to use iBooks Author's version of the fixed layout option, which is simply to disable the portrait orientation option.

As the book app was created with Retina ready graphics, the next step was to evaluate each page of the original book app and decide what changes needed to be made. The best time to make these decisions is of course before you start building your iBook.

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