The personal blog of Sven Seebeck

Mountain Sketches - The iBook

It was just a few weeks ago I that I wrote about my planned re-design of my e-books after playing a bit with Apple’s iBooks Author application. The chance of getting closer tho what I indented my books to be in the first place, seemed to be worth the effort spending a few hours of doing that work.

My original intent was to start with the re-modeling my first e-book, Cornwall - A Photographic Journey, and as you can see from the screenshot in that post I already started to work on it. But, as so often the case, things come in different as planned around here, and today I would like to announce the 2.0 version if you will, of my second e-book Mountain Sketches.

Aside the obvious format change (PDF to iBooks) I have added an audio commentary, did some (minor) adjustments to the overall design and both the gallery and the exif data are kind-of interactive now [1]. In fact I didn’t add much to the original design, as I found it after another revision actually rather pleasing.

The Process

Producing this book was in fact a rather easy task as iBooks Author is a fairly easy to use tool. Being already rather familiar with Pages or Keynote, the iBooks Author app feels like the lovechild of these two and is very easy to get along with. Aside a few more tools, widgets for interactive and multimedia content come to mind, the controls and the workflow are essentially the same as in aforementioned applications. The familiarity with these two and the newly introduced multimedia widgets made the creation of the galleries and in fact the whole book a breeze. The content naturally was ready before and I merely needed to worry a bit on the design of the book and add the audio commentary.

If you are not owning an iPad, you are of course not left out and you can find the same audio comment of course also on the Mountain Sketches project page.

Creating the audio commentary was a somewhat lengthy, yet amusing task. The commentary, roughly 3 min in length, created many times that much worth in out-takes filled with obscure noises and yet to be invented words. For the sake of everyone’s mental health these will be stored in a password protected, encrypted hard-drive and buried in a secret place.

Overall I am rather satisfied with the resulting book considered that iBooks Author is, as you probably know, not targeted to produce text-books rather than photo-books like this one. But with some creativity and compromises one can get around so some of its limitations. I hope that with upcoming releases of the software Apple losens up a bit and opens the software with tools going beyond the creation of textbooks.

Coming up next:

In the end I chose to publish this one first, as I wanted to use the re-issue of the Cornwall e-book to also do some fresh (re-)processing of the images and do some fixing where necessary. Also the production of the video which I plan to include will take some more time. I will keep you posted once that’s done, most likely some time after Lightroom 4 is officially released.

But now I would like you invite over to my e-book page and download the iBook version of my Mountain Sketches e-book (or is it now iBooks?) for free from this page. I hope you do enjoy it.

  1. I have to admit that the exif-solution is a bit cumbersome, but I couldn’t find a decent solution I was satisfied with.  ↩

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