THERE'S NO doubt that the manuals published by government agencies use lots of paper. Three ring binders jam packed with manuals, procedures, regulations and policies adorn the book shelves of many offices. Using Apple's free new iBooks Author application, however, government agencies can take a big step toward being more green by publishing their paper manuals electronically in a cheap, interactive and easy to use way.
At an event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City this morning, Apple executives introduced two new applications that the company hopes will revolutionize the way textbooks are created and consumed: iBook Author, a brand new application for the Mac intended for textbook writers and publishers to create iPad-optimized textbooks, and iBooks 2, an update to the iBooks app with several new note-taking and study features.
iBooks Author is available right now for free.
The process of creating an iBook is pretty easy. Creators can type their text directly into iBook Author. But some folks may prefer doing their writing in Microsoft Word, for example. No problem. iBook Author works with Word, and automatically picks out and creates sections and headers from the text itself when the document is dragged into a new iBook chapter. Adding images is just as straightforward, users drag them onto a page and the text reformats itself around the added content.
The real cool thing, however, is the ability to add interactive elements to an iBook. Presentations created in Keynote can be dragged directly into iBook Author for inclusion as an interactive widget. Also, and this will be handily for those especially thick books of regulations, included are a nifty glossary creation tool and the ability to publish the iBook directly into the store.
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