The Pros and Cons of iBooks Author

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This article presented several ideas that will be useful in the development of my book project, especially since I don’t know much about iBooks Author in the first place. For example, I learned a lot about layout. Not all pages in a specific section must have the same layout. This will give me some versatility and allow me to create visual appeal to my pages. I also like that there are word processor features such as spell check, chart creation, tables, etc. Other nifty features include the PDF support for images, the availability of widgets, video content, and the 3D content. The 3D content may not exactly be something I could use for my project, but it is an interesting feature that I did not know about.

Below I have created an outline from reading the article of the possibilities and limitations of iBooks Author:

Possibilities:
- Various options for column layout or section styles
- Not all pages in a section must have the same layout, allows for variety
- Word processor features: Spell check, chart creation, tables, cells with math functions, etc
- Files can be encrypted and password protected
- Supports Word and Pages files, so you can import your edited copy with embedded pictures in tact
- Drawing tools from Pages available
- Image controls adapted from Pages
- PDF support allows for future-proofing graphics made for iPad screen resolutions
- Standard tools available with Inspector palette
- Create style sheets and hotkey presets to save time formatting layout
- “Widgets”: Insert keynote slides, dashcode HTML files, interactive images, and 3D graphs
- Video content supported with options
- Ability to embed multiple-choice questions into a layout and test readers on material of the iBook
- Supports 3D content

Limitations:
- Clearly designed to make textbooks
- No blank template
- Must use table of contents
- Can’t import an EPUB file
- No controls over CSS code
- Styles Drawer doesn’t work in Lion full screen mode, so you can’t redefine a style from selected text in full screen mode
- The “Prevent windows and orphans” (an attempt to make the most appealing copy as possible) only works for full lines, not single words
- Text formatting is not good: Code blocks, hyphen break codes (but ways to hack)
- Can’t use conditional line breaks (unless disable vertical orientation)
- Does not support font embedding (must use the iPad’s “meager and dated font set”)
- No bold or italic font options (for most fonts); limited options
- No automatic video conversion (but can use QuickTime X app)
- Video can’t be set to flow inside text boxes (any major changes to copy will mess up layout)
- Video not supported in vertical layout and table of contents doesn’t work with horizontal layout
- Any content made with iBooks Author for sale is to be only available on the iBookstore

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