Developing an educational app takes a lot of time and money, but Apple has provided a free way of creating an eBook that can be just as interactive and engaging. iBooks Author gives you all the necessary tools such as photo galleries, videos, interactive diagrams, 3D objects, mathematical expressions and much more. However you don’t have to be a computer whiz to put it all together, as Apple provides a very simple drag-and-drop interface.
When beginning your eBook, Apple provides a set of ready-made templates for you to choose from. These vary from photo book to newspaper, textbook to cookbook. However, you don’t have to choose a template at all — simply start with a blank canvas in portrait or landscape format.
Adding content to your eBook is done using drag-and-drop. This allows you to pick a file, photo etc. and drag it onto your page. It works seamlessly with a Pages or Microsoft Word document and all your formatting is preserved. Everything you add can be adjusted, resized and aligned to ensure it’s looking its best.
One of the best features of iBooks Author is the ability to add widgets. These are elements that add interaction to your eBook and are similar to what you’d find in an app or a website. Without touching a line of code, you can embed videos, scrolling sidebars, photo galleries, popups and annotated images. One of the better widgets is Chapter Reviews that lets readers test their knowledge using a variety of question types, including multiple choice and image labelling.
When you’ve completed your book, you have two options: publish to the iBookStore or manually export to a specific iPad. If you choose to publish the book on the iBookStore, it’s a lot easier to add updates or make changes, because Apple notifies all readers that a new version is ready to download. Plus, who wouldn’t want their book available to the millions of iPad users around the world? If you’ve put a lot of work into it, you might even think about charging a small fee.
Here’s a small list of interactive textbooks to inspire your next iBook creation. Give it a try!