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Roger Rosner demonstrated the beautiful new iBooks 2 application for iPad, which allows users to view and interact with beautifully presented, and highly engaging virtual books, but just where do these books come from? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, there is an app for that.

Introducing the ‘iBooks Author’ application, available on the Mac App Store which is focused entirely on creating beautiful, powerful books. The primary focus of iBooks Author is to allow creators to make textbooks for students, although any kind of book can be created with the software. "Typically, creating books is really hard, but we think we have changed all that with iBooks Author" says Roger Rosner.

The Author application contains a number of predetermined templates that can be used by creators to get started in the fastest time possible. Selecting a template produces a book which is filled with Latin text and even some stock photographs to give examples of layouts and book structures.

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The iBooks Author seems to feature the same simplicity that we are used to in the iWork applications, with drag and drop capabilities for images and movies/videos leaving it simple to add engaging media. Apple have also taken into account that fact that a large number of people still prefer to use word processing software such as Word or Pages, which is why they have added a feature allowing a document to be dragged into iBooks Author from Finder and it will automatically populate sections and headers with the content. It may seem like a simple solution, but considering it removes all the need for reformatting of existing content, it may prove to be a very powerful feature for a lot of users.

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A massive benefit of the Author app is the ‘What you see is what you get’ interface which allows the addition of interactive widgets with little hassle. The widgets exist to quickly place things like image galleries into a book, however, one fantastic addition is the ability to drag and drop an existing Keynote presentation into the book and this will be immediately added as an interactive widget. A feature which will most definitely appeal to tech fans and developers is the ability to create your own widgets through the use of JavaScript and HTML so we can expect a number of those to be floating around fairly soon.

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Rosner moves on to make a bold claim that "iBooks Author has the world’s best glossary creation tool" letting users highlight a word and add it with the click of a button. A second click also lets a full definition be added to the word. The built-in preview feature will send the book directly to any connected iPad allowing you to view your creation on the device is was created for before uploading and sending to the store for approval and sale.

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In the words of Phil Schiller, iBooks Author "is the most advanced, most powerful and yet most fun interactive authoring tool yet created". You might imagine that the ability to produce amazing, content rich books would come at a premium cost, but to ensure that the Author app is available to all creators, publishers and even teachers Apple have made it available totally free of charge via the Mac App Store today.

Download iBooks Author for Mac [Mac App Store link]

Be sure to check out our Mac OS X Apps Gallery to explore more apps for OS X powered computer.

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