Get the most out of your iBook

Macworld Australia Staff
1 February, 2013
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The multitouch screen is a very different medium to paper. When writing an iBook for the iPad, we have the opportunity to transform the way a reader interacts with our book. Here are some great iBooks Author secrets from Tablo.


The first thing your reader should touch is your content. Avoid adding layers of forewords and copyright statements to the front of your book because these will detract from the reader’s first impression.

With iBooks Author, we can embed ‘Intro Media’ to the beginning of our book. Intro Media will automatically play the first time a reader picks up your iBook. When it’s finished, it will gracefully slide away to reveal your book’s first chapter.

Replace your introduction and copyright pages with a short intro video. It’s impressive showmanship, and it’s how all modern books should begin!


You only get six templates on iBooks Author and they’re pretty stubborn to work with. Thousands of books on iTunes will share the same design, so creating something unique is important.

On any page, select all (Command-A) and click Arrange > Unlock. This will fully unlock your design’s layout, allowing you to modify and delete elements to create a unique design.


Glossaries are one of the most powerful features of iBooks author. Once configured, readers will be able to tap a word and receive your full definition without leaving the page.

With Glossaries, you can display related terms, examples and even index your book automatically. They are a simple feature, but will change the way your readers interact with and navigate through your book.

The portrait mode in iBooks Author is very limited in terms of design. It’s predominantly text based and you’re restricted from freely laying out certain objects.

Many authors end up ignoring the design of this section entirely. In the inspector window, click ‘Document’ and you’ll see an option at the bottom to ‘Disable portrait orientation’. By clicking this, your readers will only be able to enjoy your book in the landscape orientation.

Apple reviews all iBooks prior to publishing them on iTunes. In our experience, there are a few recurring factors that cause a book to be rejected.

The term ‘iBook’ is trademarked by Apple and it is strict on the use of this term. If you name or describe your book as an ‘iBook’, Apple will reject it. The company doesn’t want readers thinking your book is an official Apple product.

Apple will also reject a book that contains placeholder text (Lorem ipsum dolor), has any text element cut off by the edge of a page, or contains scanned images of pages instead of text. If you’re aware of these factors, your book is likely to pass the review process in just a few days.

Publishing on iTunes from outside the US is difficult. Apple looks for foreign tax details, requires publisher’s contracts to be signed and requires unique ISBN numbers for every submitted title. The process can take months and can cost hundreds of dollars.

It’s worth looking for a third-party publishing service, such as Tablo Publishing, to manage your submissions, taxes and registrations. With a third-party publisher, publishing often becomes faster, cheaper and drastically easier than working directly with Apple.

Paperback books have been around for centuries; The iPad has been with us for just a few years. With iBooks Author, we have the opportunity to break away from our paper-based conventions and design a book for the 21st century. Bear these ideas in mind, and your iBook will shine!

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