iBook Lessons is a continuing series about e-book writing and publishing.
You wouldn't think that the iPad makes a natural match to e-book content creation, would you? Red Jumper Studio thinks otherwise. Its US$4.99 app, Book Creator for iPad, enables you to build EPUB works directly from iOS.
Aimed at light projects such as photo collections and kid-created stories, Book Creator provides a simple layout system to integrate text, pictures and sounds.
I found the app relatively straightforward to use, although it would greatly benefit from presets. Libraries of header and body styles would make the tools so much easier to use, especially since this is more an expressive tool for kids and hobbyists than a tightly controlled design environment.
I wish I had a Siri-ready iPad around to test with, as this app feels like a perfect match to dictation. Using a built-in iPad camera to snap pictures and then describing what I see using words feels naturally synchronous. As it was, Book Creator worked fine on my iPad 2.
My favorite feature was e-book export. I was able to build my book and place it into my Dropbox folder, ready to share by email or read back on my Mac. The app also exported directly to iBooks.
Although dedicated self-publishers are not the right target audience for this app, I'm sure it would be a great match for schools, crafters, photographers and others. Not every book needs to live on the iBookstore or Amazon. Here's another way to use e-publishing technology, but just for fun.