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Old 01-19-2012, 02:22 PM   #1
KevinH
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iBooks Author tools a real waste

As a professor, I was quite interested and downloaded the new iBooks Authoring tool hoping to be able to see how it compares with Sigil and possibly use it to produce valid epub3.

Instead, what I found was a blatant attempt to embrace and destroy the epub3 spec

* iBooks Author will not even load an epub (or any version)
* iBooks author will not let you publish to anywhere but the IBook Store
* if you export to "iBooks" you will get a completely bastardized epub with its own mimetype file "application/x-ibooks+xip" that has the same basic layout as an epub but that seems to use its own fixed format layout and has lots of Apple extensions.

To see all of this, Go to the Mac App Store and download iBook Author.app for free and then open one of its templates and export it to iBooks format.

The results .iBooks file can be unzipped to see how badly they have bastardized the epub format.

A real shame.

Oh well.
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:44 PM   #2
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:07 PM   #3
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As a professor, I was quite interested and downloaded the new iBooks Authoring tool hoping to be able to see how it compares with Sigil and possibly use it to produce valid epub3.
What led you to believe it would do that?
You seem to be complaining that a tool described and designed solely to produce books for iThings does exactly that. Might as well complain that Amazon's KF8 tools don't produce ePub 3 files either, all three formats are basically the same.

Last edited by murraypaul; 01-19-2012 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:20 PM   #4
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Hi,

In one of the web news reports yesterday it was described as epub3 compliant. That is why I downloaded it. It clearly is not. It won't even import an epub.

I guess I had high hopes that Apple would actually make something good (ala Garageband) as described in most of the early reports.

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What led you to believe it would do that?
You seem to be complaining that a tool described and designed solely to produce books for iThings does exactly that. Might as well complain that Amazon's KF8 tools don't produce ePub 3 files either, all three formats are basically the same.
Ah, but I can convert a KF8 mobi to an epub quite easily.

KevinH
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Old 01-19-2012, 05:15 PM   #5
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Not that I make a habit of it but in this case Apple is being honest enough *not* to call the files epubs. Just as Microsoft never called LIT files OEBs or epubs though they were almost identical.
Strictly speaking, since the epub specifications have no enforcement power worth the name, they *could* have called their proprietary format an epub and simpy expected others to adjust their code to their mutated format.

At least this way we all know not to expect the files to run anywhere but on Apple products.

Clarity is worth something.
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Old 01-19-2012, 06:31 PM   #6
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I've downloaded and looked at the Apple iBook Authoring Tool (iBAT?). It appears to be exactly what most of Apple's programs have alwys been, apps for the rest of us. It's true, getting under the hood and looking at the details is relly messy. But with this app you are not supposed to do that.

I believe truly great multi-media publications will come out of the new Apple authoring tool. It is a leap in productivity. - Fabe
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Old 01-19-2012, 06:58 PM   #7
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And actually reports elsewhere say that a renamed .ibook will open fine in a Nook.
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:17 PM   #8
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I have spent the whole afternoon trying out iBooks Author and I agree with you. It can only be used to create highly-formatted books that can only be viewed on iBooks 2.0 on an iPad running iOS 5. You can't use it to make books that can be read on iPhone, iPod touch, or any older device with iOS 4.2.1. You cannot output a formatted iBooks Author document in anything of any use other than this new proprietary book format.

When I say "highly-formatted", I mean that you can create books with very elaborate paragraph and character styles. The resulting book lacks the capability of letting the user select their own font size, font or theme. You cannot enable the capability for the user to adjust the font size or font or theme, even if you want to!

iBooks Author has many wonderful things going for it in producing very elaborate books with video, interactive elements, audio, animations, illustrations and photographs, charts and tables. But it is not much use for creating a basic ebook and it doesn't accept or output ePub.
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Old 01-20-2012, 12:53 AM   #9
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Not that I am too much on defending Apple and their lack of support for the ePub format that they claim to support. It has been atrocious.

But in this case, I am not sure that I agree with your complaint. From the sounds of it you read in some news article a prediction that some reporter made with no verification from Apple about what a product that hadn't been released yet was going to be. Then when Apple failed to live up to some journalist hype you blame Apple?

In this instance, I have to agree with fjtorres. Apple is being very much up front about exactly what this program is outputting and where it is usable. They never claimed that this was anything other than an editor to produce their proprietary format for textbooks to be read in iBooks only. They never claimed that this was any sort of ePub creator or editor.

Honestly, given what I have read about ePub3 and seeing what Apple is doing with their iBooks format, I am glad that they didn't attempt to make them ePub3 format. Because, I am pretty sure that they would have failed to make them compliant. Heck, given the article by Strahinja Marković about the epub3 format and the specific points concerning javascript, I am not sure that there really will be anything resembling a "standard" epub 3 document that will work everywhere. At least Apple is honest enough to let the user know that they aren't going to attempt it.
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Old 01-20-2012, 11:29 AM   #10
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Yes I see people's need to defend Apple here but the bottom line is this product as designed is truly a waste of time. What people seem to keep missing is that it ONLY can produce textbooks for the iPad (iBooks 2 in textbook mode will not work on any other device). Why on earth would we want every student tied to using an iPad just to get access to textbooks?

Apple actually had a chance to create a GarageBand for ebooks and textbooks and blew it by deviating from the epub 3 spec, by refusing to even load or read epubs, by locking this down to just one device on just one platform. (And there is nothing inherently wrong about the epub3 spec - you should read it - it does not require any device to support scripting).

And yes I am a long-time Apple user (and have been since the first Mac SE was announced) and a long time Apple shareholder, and I guess this blatant attempt to "embrace and extend" the epub3 spec in an effort to lock in all students in education to iPads is a very very sad thing. Unfortunately, Apple has now become in my mind the same as Microsoft who has used this "embrace and extend" approach many times before. I kind of hoped Apple was a better "netizen" than that. I was wrong.

KevinH


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Not that I am too much on defending Apple and their lack of support for the ePub format that they claim to support. It has been atrocious.

But in this case, I am not sure that I agree with your complaint. From the sounds of it you read in some news article a prediction that some reporter made with no verification from Apple about what a product that hadn't been released yet was going to be. Then when Apple failed to live up to some journalist hype you blame Apple?

In this instance, I have to agree with fjtorres. Apple is being very much up front about exactly what this program is outputting and where it is usable. They never claimed that this was anything other than an editor to produce their proprietary format for textbooks to be read in iBooks only. They never claimed that this was any sort of ePub creator or editor.

Honestly, given what I have read about ePub3 and seeing what Apple is doing with their iBooks format, I am glad that they didn't attempt to make them ePub3 format. Because, I am pretty sure that they would have failed to make them compliant. Heck, given the article by Strahinja Marković about the epub3 format and the specific points concerning javascript, I am not sure that there really will be anything resembling a "standard" epub 3 document that will work everywhere. At least Apple is honest enough to let the user know that they aren't going to attempt it.
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:06 PM   #11
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Yes I see people's need to defend Apple here but the bottom line is this product as designed is truly a waste of time. What people seem to keep missing is that it ONLY can produce textbooks for the iPad
Yes. That is what it is for.
It isn't a waste of time for people who want to do that.
If you don't want to do that, then it is a waste of time for you.
It is truly a waste of time (or not) in exactly the same way that the KF8 tools are (or not).

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Apple actually had a chance to create a GarageBand for ebooks and textbooks and blew it by deviating from the epub 3 spec, by refusing to even load or read epubs, by locking this down to just one device on just one platform.
Apple's aim is to sell more iPads. Having more content for iPads helps them do that. Having more content for other devices doesn't.
They have no particular interest in producing generic ebook tools, any more than Amazon do.

You are describing their acts as failures because they haven't done what you wanted them to do. I doubt they care.

Last edited by murraypaul; 01-20-2012 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:33 PM   #12
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:36 PM   #13
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What led you to believe it would do that?
You seem to be complaining that a tool described and designed solely to produce books for iThings does exactly that. Might as well complain that Amazon's KF8 tools don't produce ePub 3 files either, all three formats are basically the same.
Please STOP generalizing. You should be talking about the iBooks app, not the devices themselves. iBooks is NOT the device. So please STOP!
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:38 PM   #14
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Hi,

In one of the web news reports yesterday it was described as epub3 compliant. That is why I downloaded it. It clearly is not. It won't even import an epub.

I guess I had high hopes that Apple would actually make something good (ala Garageband) as described in most of the early reports.



Ah, but I can convert a KF8 mobi to an epub quite easily.

KevinH
It's not a KF8 Mobi. It's either KF8 or it's Mobi, but it's not both.
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Old 01-21-2012, 05:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murraypaul
What led you to believe it would do that?
You seem to be complaining that a tool described and designed solely to produce books for iThings does exactly that. Might as well complain that Amazon's KF8 tools don't produce ePub 3 files either, all three formats are basically the same.
Please STOP generalizing. You should be talking about the iBooks app, not the devices themselves. iBooks is NOT the device. So please STOP!
Did you reply to the wrong post?
I have absolutely no idea what relevance your reply has to what I said, which wasn't about devices, but formats and tools.
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