iBooks Author seen as boon for journalists

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Rabble.ca writer Wayne MacPhail is enthusiastic about the new Apple iBooks Author as a tool for journalists and publishers of long-form content.

Apple introduced the iBooks Author last month as part of its plunge into the educational/textbook market, but MacPhail thinks the publishing software could serve as a platform for a new form of media-rich journalism.

And not just journalists. Magazine and newspaper publishers should also find the new platform useful.

“Here’s a free tool that’s a better alternative than an ad hoc paperback, or special section, as a way to package a multipart series,” he says in a January 25 column. “Here’s a platform that encourages readers to touch, listen to, watch, engage with and learn from your story. Here’s software that gives anyone the opportunity to tell great stories, in new ways.”

MacPhail says he found the software quick and easy to use. You’ll need a Macintosh computer running the latest version of OSX (Lion) and an iPad to preview and test your book on, however.

A veteran print and online journalist, MacPhail writes regularly for rabble.ca on technology and the Internet.

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Apple planning iBook upgrade?

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Rumours are swirling around the Mac world that Apple is planning an iBook-related announcement in New York at the end of January.

Neither the location nor the topic of the announcement has been confirmed, but speculation has it that the event will focus on publishing and e-books sold through the Apple’s iBooks platform.

Alexia Tsotsis of TechCrunch says the event may unveil improvements to the iBooks platform, at least according to one of her sources. That same source says the event will not be a major one.

She promises to stay on top of the story, as does Kara Swisher of AllThingsD.