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Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics

What is iBooks Author?

iBooks Author is Apple's application for creating multi-touch compatible books for the iPad. These books can contain video, audio, images, interactive diagrams, HTML 5 snippets, and other content in addition to the text. Apple provides a tool called Dashcode for creating "widgets" that can integrate these types of content using HTML5, CSS, and javascript.

For what kinds of books is the application well suited?

iBooks Author is designed to facilitate the creation of books that have strong interactive content, like 3D objects, video, or quizzes. If your goal is a primarly text-based work, using iBooks Author probably offers you little return on the time invested.

What's required to use iBooks Author?

The application is officially supported only on Mac computers with OS X Lion (10.7) or newer. OS X Lion itself requires a Mac with an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor and at least 2GB of memory. This includes most Macs purchased from 2008 onward. You will also need an iPad with iBooks 2 to test the book. Contact your system administrator for more information.

Who will be able to view books created in iBooks Author?

In order to use the breadth of content (audiovisual and interactive material) that make iBooks compelling, readers will need to have access to an Apple iPad. Although iBooks Author supports exporting books to PDF format, this entails removing all interactive content.

This table helps to illustrate compatibility of various electronic book formats with common devices:

iPad iPhone/iPod Android Windows PC Mac OS Kindle Nook
iBooks Author (.IBA) X
ePUB 2 X X X X X X
Text File X X X X X X X

* Reading a .PDF on an e-Ink based Kindle or Nook may not be an optimal user experience because of the small screen size and slowness of the device's processor.

Is iBooks Author easy to use?

The application is fairly complex, but those who are familiar with page layout programs like Adobe InDesign or Quark XPress will find it relatively easy to learn. Others may find that iBooks Author has a moderate to steep learning curve, depending on their level of expertise with other Apple software. Despite Apple's marketing, it is not a simple "drag and drop" experience, particularly for content orignally written in another application (like Microsoft Word or Pages.) Significant effort must be devoted to formatting both the textual and non-textual content.

Publishing in the iBookstore

What publishing options are available for iBooks?

Once your book has been prepared, you can submit it to Apple's iBookstore. If Apple accepts it, you can make it freely available or charge readers to download it. Note that if you charge for the iBooks version of your work, Apple's license requires that you only sell it on the iBookstore. Different formats (like ePub, PDF, or Kindle) of the same work can still be sold elsewhere.

Books that are free on the iBookstore have no such restrictions attached.

Does Apple claim copyright over work I create in iBooks Author?

Apple does not claim copyright over your work, but does stipulate some restrictions on distribution of the iBooks version (see above.) For more help on copyright, please visit the MLibrary Copyright Office.

Is iBooks Author free?

Apple does not charge for the software or to publish a free book in the iBookstore. Paid books revenues are subject to a commission from Apple. See Apple's Book Publisher FAQ for more information on the difference between paid and free iBookstore accounts.


iBooks Author Support

iBooks 2 and Textbooks

Book Publisher FAQ

Adding PDFs to iBooks Library

iBooks 2 Video Overview

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