I’m a huge fan of iPads as a media-consumption device. But did you know that iPads can be turned into very practical media-creation devices?
One of my favorite uses for the iPad is eBook creation. EBooks are an easy way to get started creating content and gives people something tangible, your creation, where you showcase your knowledge.
What are Some Options for Creating eBooks?
I tried many methods of eBook creation and they were at best frustratingly complicated to use. Ever tried to design a simple eBook using Adobe’s InDesign? Not for the faint of heart. You definitely need some training on it before you attempt to design so much as a flyer. Not only that, the software costs over $600! (aff link to Amazon, if you want to check it out). It’s a great tool for professionals and as such, it has way more options than you’d ever need for your first eBook.
I also tried Microsoft Word and Apple’s Pages. Both are viable options for creating eBooks that can be exported as PDF files. I find that they work best for simple books that don’t need a lot of formatting. After using both, I can say they definitely get in the way of content creation. I spent more time trying to figure out how to style the text in an appealing way than I did writing. That’s why there are so many eBooks out there with boring formatting. Pages and Word do the job, but barely.
Unfortunately, none of the options above will work if you’re trying to create a multimedia book that’s suitable for the iPad. While iPads handle PDFs without a problem, your readers will get a smoother experience when your books are converted into the ePub format Apple uses by default. Keep in mind that you can’t submit eBooks to the iTunes store unless they’re properly formatted in a way that will be accepted by Apple. Most people pay a company, called a “book aggregator”, to reformat the text into an eBook format that passes Apple’s validation tests. I’ll talk about how to get your eBook into the iTunes store in a later post.
The Easy Way to Create iPad Books
Up to that point in my research, the only viable options I had found were to either pay someone to format my eBook for the iPad (which I didn’t want to do since I was giving this particular book away), or use Apple’s iBook Author, a free software program for the Mac that can be used to create iPad eBooks. Unfortunately, iBooks Author only runs on Apple Computers, which I do not own.
As I was looking for a solution to the iPad formatting issue, my prayers were answered when I stumbled across the excellent iPad app Book Creator. This app is simply awesome and a steal at only $4.99. It allows you to combine pictures, video and sound into a neat eBook that displays perfectly on the iPad.
Creating eBooks with Book Creator is super-easy. So easy that the software is marketed as a way to allow young children to create their own storybook. You can import pictures from your iPad, add video, and add narration if you wish. All with an easy swipe-and-re-size interface. I went from banging my head against the wall trying to create an attractive eBook with other software to easily adding content and adding styling as I went along.
Another plus is that Book Creator also allows you to export your creations to a PDF file, which is pretty much universally readable across all devices. No need to create two eBooks, one for iPads, another for PCs.
What are the Book Creator App Limitations?
The app Book Creator app only produces eBooks in an fixed-layout format, meaning all text and images display exactly as created. Your readers will be unable to adjust font sizes like they can with other ePub-formatted eBooks. So make sure the text you use for your eBook is comfortable enough to read from the get-go. On the plus side, because it’s a fixed-layout book, the authors of the app claim it should pass Apple’s eBook validation tests fairly easily.
Another issue is that PDFs are sometimes rendered in less-than-high-quality. It’s not the fault of the app, but a technical limitation of the iPad. Rendering a document as a PDF file takes a lot of processing power and the app has to make do with the processing power available in an iPad, which is relatively low when compared to laptops and desktop computers. Still, the results were good enough that I feel comfortable releasing it to the public. Maybe it’s all in my head because the eBook renders so beautifully on an iPad display that to me it looks less than stellar when viewed as a PDF file. Another technical limitation of PDFs is that videos and sound clips won’t be exported to the PDF file, just text and pictures.
Take a Look at My eBooks and Free Mag and Tell Me What You Think!
I’ve created two iPad books already and a magazine with Book Creator, two which I already submitted to iTunes.
Also, check out a book I created with Book Creator, on sale now.
What is stopping you from creating content and products?
Share below what challenges you’re facing!