There are four primary components to publishing a book:
Writing and Editing: The first and most important component to publishing a book is the actual writing of it followed by the editing of that writing.
Distribution: How will you sell it and distribute it?
Medium: Will it be a PDF, an eBook, a physical book, or any combination? And now there is a new medium: an iBooks book. This is more akin to book-app combos such as Our Choice by Al Gore and Push Pop Press.
Our Choice is a deeply interactive book that shipped as a standalone iPad app. However, version 2 of iBooks now supports books like this natively. If you want to make a powerful, interactive, unique-looking book you can do so via Apple’s new tools, and then you can ship and sell them as books, not apps.
Design / Layout: Until today, if you wanted a book that worked like Our Choice then you needed to hire an iOS developer to build your book in Xcode. If you were designing a PDF or eBook you could do it in Microsoft Word or Pages, or for more control of the design you could use Adobe InDesign. The cost of these tools ranges from $19 (for Pages), to hundreds of dollars (for InDesign), to thousands of dollars (to hire iOS devs).
But now, if you want to make an attractive and interactive eBook you don’t have to hire an iOS developer to build you a dedicated app. If you are even remotely familiar with Pages then you’ll be able to take what you’ve written and turn it into a good looking and interactive book for the iPad and then distribute it on the iBookstore to an audience of millions of iPad owners who can buy it and download it with one tap.
In short, the iBooks Author app is a huge breakthrough for the independent writer and publisher. In this author’s humble opinion, this new and free app from Apple was the primary announcement of Apple’s education event today.
iBooks Author is the iPad SDK for writers and publishers. And it’s been simplified so it’s as easy to use as a word processor.