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How to Easily Create an iPad eBook, Plus a PDF eBook Creator

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.

 

Flickr @ Johan Larsson

 

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.

 

RedJumper-Book Creator

 

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.

 

The magazine, called Location360, is about slow travel and digital nomads. You can check out the free magazine, also on iPad and PDF format, here.

 

For the book, If you have an iPad, download the ePub version from here. If you want to view the eBook in PDF format, download from here.

 

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!

About Rich Polanco

Fan of dogs + all things tech. Love a great pizza. My goal is not to travel to every country in the world. I only want to get to know my favorite ones REALLY well. Check out the big bio here. Follow @RichPolanco and connect on Facebook.
Currently exploring: Guatemala.

Comments

  1. We are a middle aged couple with a 10 year old son. We are interested, for many reasons, in moving out of the states to Central America. My concerns are safety for my family and schooling and medical care for our son. I have researched Costa Rica and although beautiful it seems like a smaller version of the USA. Guatemala seems like a great alternative and it looks to me live a great place to live. Are there any sites you can recommend to get a feel of the expat lifestyle in Guatemala and resources available to families interested in moving there. I’m also interested in the employment situation for someone like me.

    • Rich Polanco says:

      Hi Adam!

      Those are a lot of questions to answer here. I’m working on a book ready to be released soon about life in Guatemala, which is why I haven’t posted about Guatemala much lately (posting some tomorrow and every week from now on). It is a great place to live, depending on what kind of lifestyle you’re looking for. Regarding your son, it will depend if he needs special care in any particular area. As for jobs, you’ll be better off finding a telecommuting job, or creating your own web-based business, as I have. You can always start a business here, if you’re the entrepreneurial type and have the capital.

      Feel free to email me directly if you want to discuss personal info.

      -Rich

  2. Great write up, and love the book design! I think this is the first example we’ve seen of someone using Book Creator to create a monthly magazine.

    We’ve added these to our hall of fame! Have a look: http://pinterest.com/bookcreator/made-in-book-creator/

    • Rich Polanco says:

      Hi! Thanks for the comment and share!

      Though… Which one did you like? I’ve already created two books and one mag!

      Thanks for making the Book Creator app keep getting better and better :)

      -Rich

  3. Hi Rich,

    Enjoy your article very much I haven’t yet purchase a iPad yet but this article will come in handy. I have been creating reports for my site and also PDF files.

    So Rich thanks again and have a nice day.

    Tony

  4. Hi Rich, I appreciate your efforts in this research and your published results. However, unless I missed it in your posting, there are several bookcreator apps; which one is the one you are writing about?

    Thanks, Ruth

    • Rich Polanco says:

      Hi Ruth! Thanks for the feedback. There is a link to the app on the post, though it’s not super obvious I see now that I went back to check.

      The app’s name is “Book Creator for iPad” and it’s made by Red Jumper Studio. Here the direct link on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/book-creator-for-ipad/id442378070

      By the way, it only works on iPad! not on iPhones or iPod Touch.

      -Rich

      • Yeah, I want to recommend another good way to find a good eBook maker, ou can visit HelpChoose.net that only provides excellent software of all popular categories.

  5. Hi Rich, I’m struggling to produce my first eBook of my single-panel cartoon strip Another Fine Mess. Thanks for sharing this very useful information Rich.

  6. Great article about “How to Easily Create an iPad eBook, Plus a PDF eBook Creator”.
    I really like it….

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