- IBooks Author Support Book creation is moving to Pages iBooks Author is no longer available to new users. IBooks Author can still be used on macOS 10.15 and earlier, but there will be no new updates.
- Jun 10, 2020 You can continue to use iBooks Author on macOS 10.15 and earlier, and books previously published to Apple Books from iBooks Author will remain available. If you have iBooks Author books you’d like to import into Pages, a book import feature is coming to Pages soon. It will allow you to open and edit iBooks Author files (.iba) in Pages.
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At Tuesday's Apple Education event, the company announced that for the first time, students and teachers alike would be able to build and export ebook projects directly on an iPad or iPhone. It's a pretty exciting feature — but one that was quickly met with concern from longtime iBooks Author users about Apple's silence on the prosumer book-editing app.
Curious about what's going on with iBooks Author and Pages ebook creation? Here's how it breaks down.
Why can you edit ebooks in Pages now?
Fun fact: Before iBooks Author was even a twinkle in someone's eye, Apple's eBook creation tools were found entirely in the Pages app. (Even more fun fact: Apple's iWork team is responsible for both iBooks Author and Pages — so it's always been the same engineers working on each program.)
Back in the early ebooks days, it was common practice to edit a manuscript in Word (or Pages) and send that file to a design program like InDesign to get packaged as an ePub; with ePub 2, Apple introduced support for direct export in Pages, allowing users to export rudimentary ebooks.
But that export tool was haphazard and poorly labeled: Some Pages features worked in the resulting ebook file, others didn't work at all, and there was no indication as to what would render until after you exported your file.
After iBooks Author was introduced as a way to create great-looking fixed-format ebooks, Apple updated Pages to export flowing ePub 3 files, but those files were still extremely rudimentary and based entirely around paragraph styles, with no support for most of Pages' multimedia options.
This latest update to Pages brings a full-featured ePub 3 book-editing experience to the Mac, iPhone, and iPad — there are multiple templates for both free-flowing and fixed-format ebooks, with support for text, multimedia galleries, custom styles, drawings, and video.
ePub 3? What about iBooks Author's .iBooks format?
Pages has always exported files as .epub, and will continue to do so. It's an open format, and it means your books will be available for all devices — not just Apple's iBooks software.
Can you open ePub, .iBooks, or .iba files in Pages?
Nope. As before, you can only open .pages or .doc files in Pages. (And yes: That means you still can't export an ePub, crack it open and do some editing, then re-import it into Pages for more editing.)
Okay, but… what's happening to iBooks Author? Why the silence from Apple?
iBooks Author isn't going anywhere (yet). It's not being discontinued, .ibooks files will still work in the iBooks app, and you can make them to your heart's content.
And that's important, because Pages's ebook creation — while much better than before — is still in its rudimentary stages. Support for things like quizzes, HTML5 widgets, and popovers just don't exist currently on the Pages side.
But will iBooks Author be around forever, the Logic to Pages's GarageBand? I'm thinking no.
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It's clear that the iWork team has done a lot behind the scenes to completely rewrite their ePub export tool with all of Pages's features in mind, and they've done so in a way that still makes it ePub 3 compatible — no proprietary iBooks format needed.
As the software continues to evolve, it's clear that the iWork team want a unified, easier experience for both creating and viewing ebooks. Like with many Apple apps before it, that sometimes means going back to the drawing board and starting from scratch.
This isn't Apple's official position: Everything I've heard has them simply saying that iBooks Author isn't going away anytime soon.
But the writing is on the wall: Apple wants to build an experience that works with ePub 3 without the need for proprietary formats, and that experience is being built inside of Pages. The app may not have feature parity with iBooks Author yet, but when it does, I expect the older ebooks program to disappear in favor of its more flexible cousin.
Could that code make its way back to a new version of iBooks Author? Maybe. But it makes a lot more sense to have one app for building PDFs/books/papers and the like.
But I like iBooks Author!
That's fine. It still works pretty well and people have been able to make some great books with it! But I wouldn't expect to find new features inside of it anytime soon.
Why would I want to make an ebook in Pages?
There are some great new features worth considering for making a book in Pages:
- Pages has new (really pretty) book templates for both free-flowing and fixed-format books, and you can edit them by making master pages
- You can build books on any platform (Mac or web or iOS) and collaborate on them
- You can export ebooks directly to iBooks on your iPad from Pages, for easy previewing
- You can draw directly in Pages (or atop existing images) and have that appear in your book
- You want to create ePub 3 files that can be read on any platform
Why would I still use iBooks Author?
Pages is still pretty limited for more advanced ebook creation. Here are a few reasons you might want to stick with iBooks Author for the time being:
- You want a glossary, intro video, and fancy table of contents
- You want to use any non-multimedia widgets (quiz module, Keynote, 3D, scrolling sidebar, pop-over, or HTML)
- You want to prep your book for publishing on the iBookstore
- You want to do live previews of your book without exporting it
Let me know and I'll do my best to answer them. I'm still digging through Pages as of this writing, so I may find more pros and cons to using Pages vs iBooks Author; I'll let you know when/if I do.
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Available free on the Mac App Store, iBooks Author is an amazing app that allows anyone to create beautiful textbooks — and just about any other kind of book — for iPad, iPhone, and Mac. With galleries, video, interactive diagrams, 3D objects, mathematical expressions, and more, these books bring content to life in ways the printed page never could.
Book creation is moving to Pages. As of July 1, iBooks Author will no longer be available to new users. iBooks Author can still be used on macOS 10.15 and earlier, but there will be no new updates. Learn more
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You might want to begin with a blank page and let your imagination guide you. But if that’s a little intimidating, just start with a beautiful Apple-designed template. Choose from a variety of styles, like classic textbook, cookbook, or photo book, in both landscape and portrait orientations. And you can choose from a number of page layouts in each template or create one of your own.
iBooks Author makes it simple to add text, graphics, movies, and more, so your book looks exactly the way you want. Drag and drop a Pages or Microsoft Word document to the Book pane to add it as a new section. Then, when you drag and drop in images, your text automatically flows around them. You can even import Adobe InDesign and EPUB files and edit them to perfection in iBooks Author.
iBooks Author has everything you need to create a great-looking book — beyond the written word. Add shapes, charts, tables, text, and widgets anywhere on the page with a single click. Style your text down to the letter with custom fonts, write elegant mathematical expressions using LaTeX or MathML, and add video or audio elements to liven up the read.
Widgets add Multi-Touch magic to books on iPad, iPhone, and Mac. They bring your reader swipe-friendly photo galleries, animations that burst off the page, scrolling sidebars to linger over, Pop-Over widgets for an element of surprise, and engrossing 3D objects that are entertaining and interactive. And widgets can be set to play automatically, offering your readers a fun surprise when they turn the page. With iBooks Author, it’s easy to create a book that’s as much fun to explore as it is to read.
Add beautiful, interactive elements to your book with just a few clicks. See all widgets
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iBooks Author lets you create books that people with disabilities can read and experience. The table of contents, glossary, widgets, main text, and more are built to automatically take advantage of VoiceOver technology. Add accessibility descriptions to any widget or media — including movies and reviews — so those with vision impairments can use them.
As you’re editing, use iBooks Author to preview your book on iPad, iPhone, or Mac. When you’re ready to publish, iBooks Author walks you through a step-by-step process to help you submit it to iBooks for purchase or free download. And to keep your work current, add updates by publishing new versions of your original title. iBooks will automatically notify your readers that a new version of your book is ready to download.
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You can also export your book to share on iTunes U or to give to anyone with an iPad, iPhone, or Mac. Learn how to publish to iBooks