5 Things You Didn’t Know About iBooks

A.J. CosmoGuest Posting by A.J. Cosmo.
A.J. Cosmo is the author & illustrator of 40 children’s books for Kindle. Some have monsters in them, some have fairies, some have aliens that lost their way home, some have pet dinosaurs that tear up homes. A.J. Cosmo recently released Miss Molly’s Magical Mystery Meals on iBooks.


eBook Reader

The Future of Books by Johan Larsson

While most independent authors work exclusively with Amazon and the Kindle, Apple’s iBooks offers not only a consistent format, but also a host of tools that Kindle does not yet have. Here are five things about creating iBooks that you probably didn’t know.

  1. It’s easy to use.
    While you have to use a mac to create anything for Apple’s platforms, iBooks Author, the app that you use to format the books, is actually easy to use. The program works a lot like Keynotes (Powerpoint to Windows users) and has much of that easy to use, slick interface that Apple is famous for.
  2. You can add music.
    iBooks has what are called “widgets.” Widgets add functionality to the eBooks. One such function is sound and can be added to the book in the form of a button that plays an audio file when pressed, or a background sound that triggers when the user lands on the page. This is great for children’s books because when a child touches a cow they can hear a moo (you can even hide the buttons under the picture!) It would also be neat for a horror book to play a chilling song while the user reads a scary passage.
  3. You can create a custom glossary.
    iBooks has a built in dictionary and wikipedia link, however, creators can also add a custom glossary. Any word or phrase can be highlighted in the book and added to the glossary. Once there, creators can add lengthy notes to the keyword including different definitions, story meaning, or even creator commentary! It’s up to you and this feature makes iBooks similar to the special features on DVDs.
  4. Books can have video.
    Another of the widgets is the video widget. iBooks supports Quicktime and MPEG4 natively. The video frame can be scaled and placed just like any other object in the book, it can even be full screen! Objects can be layered (stacked on top of each other) in iBooks, so here’s a place where magic can happen: you can layer text and images on top of video! The text and images will disappear when the user plays the video, but this could be to your advantage. Imagine a children’s book where a static page suddenly comes alive. The background and characters start moving and a voice reads the text as it appears. How cool!
  5. Titles publish quickly. iBook on iTunes
    One of the criticisms of publishing on iBooks is that titles take much longer to get to the store than they do on Amazon. While it is true that Apple checks every title for consistency (what you say is in the book in your description, has to be in the book) and functionality (links, videos, sounds all play) doing so does not take as long as you might think. On average, titles publish to the store in less than a day. So where do the much talked about delays come from? Nine times out of ten it’s user error. Though some of the interface is difficult, Apple has tremendous technical support, and if you find your title stuck, getting it unstuck is as simple as giving them a call.

I hope that this list has inspired you to create an iBook of your own. The platform is powerful, and while Amazon has the largest user base, the tools Apple offers are hard to ignore. So if you have a title that could use some of these extra features, consider creating an iBooks version.

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