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iBooks Author Updated With InDesign and Epub Importer

ibooks author logoApple rolled out a new update for their ebook making app yesterday with a few major updates. The app is still limited to only running on OSX, but on the plus side it gained new features.

According to the changelog, iBooks Author offers a new ebook template and new options for linking inside an ebook. There is also mention of improvements to widget behaviors, including an option for autoplaying the media and keynote widgets (that would count as a dis-improvement, IMO).

And last but not least, Apple has also added an option for importing Epub files made elsewhere and InDesign files. An early report suggests that this feature creates a mess when IDML files are imported, but on the plus side iBooks Author does try to retain the formatting during the import process.

You can find the app in iTunes.

What’s New in Version 2.2

• Import ePub files
• Import Adobe InDesign IDML files
• Create customized books with new Blank templates
• New hyperlink options: link to a location in another book, link from an image, and more
• Improved transition support in Keynote widget
• Enable auto-play for media widget, Keynote widget, and HTML widget
• Readers can now interact with the HTML widget right on a book page


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Michael W. Perry October 19, 2014 um 3:04 pm

I’m delighted by this new release. It included just what I’d like to see added, epub and InDesign import. I also love how easy it is to preview that book on my attached-via-USB iPad. It even jumps to the page I’m looking at in IBA.

But there is a hitch. IBA still thinks we write books with a chapter for each document. It’d be much better if it knew how to import a multi-chapter document, perhaps breaking for a new chapter in IBA every time it encounters a particularly paragraph style.

–Michael W. Perry, co-author of Lily’s Ride

Fiona McPherson October 21, 2014 um 4:39 pm

I agree entirely. I was thrilled to see the new feature, importing epub, just in time for my new study skill book, which is designed to be more visual. But I was then appalled to see that, for reasons that escape me entirely, IBA decided to take every single heading, right down to h4, as requiring a new chapter! Given that this is a non-fiction, how-to book, you can understand that there are a lot of headings. If there’s some magic way of getting it to be smarter about this, either in IBA settings, or by tweaking the epub, I would love to hear it.

Franklin Veaux November 7, 2014 um 8:43 pm

Sadly, the IDML import appears to be all but unusable. When importing a straightforward IDML from a simple 9-page document, iBooks Author created a file that was a garbled mess: headings on pages were hopelessly scrambled (and couldn’t be edited); section breaks were created more or less at random, with no rhyme or reason I could figure out; and tables weren’t imported at all (an error dialog said a table can not be imported if it does not fit on a single page, a rather weird limitation).

I was really excited about iBooks Author’s promise to make ebooks from InDesign files, but as it exists now, the import is a real problem. If you’re counting on this version to turn your InDesign files into iBooks, don’t hold your breath.

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