“Instant Apple iBooks How-To” Reviewed

CommentMay 15, 2013 by ssdesign

Check out my review of the book Instant Apple iBooks How-To, by Zeeshan Chawdhary.

Edit: Here is the review, since it disappeared due to Technorati’s renovating itself:

Do you love to read ebooks on the iPad? Are you a writer who wants to publish his or her own interactive ebooks for the iPad, and sell them on the iBookstore? Zeeshan Chawdhary, a highly experienced web and mobile developer who is currently the CTO of iCityConcierge, a travel startup, shows you how to do both in his new book Instant Apple iBooks How-to. To read ebooks, you use the app iBooks in your iPad. To write and publish ebooks, you use the app iBooks Author in your Apple MacBook or iMac. The first five sections describe how to use iBooks, and the rest tell you how to use iBooks Author 2.0, the latest version of the program as of this writing. You should also know how to create an HTML5 webpage.

For readers: how to use iBooks

In these sections, you are introduced to features that enable you to browse and purchase ebooks (or download free ebooks), group these ebooks into different categories; or Collections, and add PDFs to the iBooks library. You also learn about tools that you can use while you read these books. These reading tools enable you to select text from the book to be copied, pasted, and emailed. In iBooks 3.0.2, which was current when he wrote this book, you can also change the color of the highlight when the text is selected, and use the Fonts and Themes feature to change the font size and family of the text, and the color of the book’s background.

If you’re using iBooks 3.1, please note that this version no longer has these last two features. The horizontal bar that appears when you select the text has also changed. When you tap the text to select it, only the words “Copy” and “Search” appear in the bar. If you tap one word, the word “Define” – which enables a box with a dictionary definition of this word to appear – will also show up in the bar. To view iBooks – and the rest of your iPad – in “night mode,” go to your Settings app, press Accessibility, then switch Invert Colors to On.

For writers: how to use iBooks Author

Here, Instant Apple iBooks How-to teaches you how to create an interactive London travel guidebook by choosing a template (you can find templates in the program itself, or various websites), and editing the text and graphics. In iBooks Author 2.0, you can now directly drag images from websites onto placeholder images. Then you learn how to create a custom HTML5 Twitter widget that pulls tweets about London into the ebook, and a widget where a 3D object can be viewed and rotated in the ebook. When inserting a 3D object into your iBooks Author 2.0 document, make sure “Auto-rotate object when idle” is unchecked; otherwise the 3D object will not show.

My Verdict

I thought Instant Apple iBooks How-to was a really good quick-start book, and enjoyed using it. However, I wish it also included tutorials on other features iBooks Author supports; like exporting the ebook to PDFs, publishing the ebook for the iBookstore, and other widgets you can include in your ebook; like videos, audios, Keynote presentations, interactive images, image galleries, review questions, scrolling sidebars, and popover text boxes that appear when the user taps a graphic. I also thought it would have been nice if HTML5 code for the webpage in the Twitter widget had been included; in case there might be readers who are not familiar with HTML5 (I am). Instant Apple iBooks How-to is a well-written hands-on guide, but I feel it can use more detail.

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