The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

February 13, 2012

Frankie Meyer: Aspiring authors should consider e-books

JOPLIN, Mo. — Have you compiled a family history that you would like to share with your loved ones, but you’re concerned about the expense? Several companies are starting to offer software that enables authors to inexpensively produce books that can be downloaded from the Internet.

Apple is one example, having recently launched software called iBooks Author. According to the company’s website, this free tool can be used to produce textbooks, cookbooks, travel guides, scrapbooks and how-to books.

Because family history books are similar to those types of books, the new iBook software may prove to be a useful tool for genealogists, too. This new Apple tool provides several templates that can be used with books.

After selecting a template of page layouts, an author can then drag and drop a page or Microsoft Word document into that layout. Images are then added by dragging and dropping. Each time an image is added, the text automatically wraps around the image.

Think of the images that we genealogists have in our files, such as those old photos of ancestors and their homes and family gatherings. Also, think of the historical documents, such as ship records, maps, church records and military records.

When a map is inserted, an author can even add images that can be clicked for more info. Music and videos can be added, too. A book so rich with multimedia could prove to be an exciting way to share family history info.

If you plan to give your e-book to your family for free, there is no charge for using the Apple software to develop the e-book.

One drawback to using iBooks Author is that multimedia books produced with that software can only be downloaded using an iPad. Another limiting factor is that an e-book for iPad can be no larger than 2 gigabytes. Because large books take a long time to download, the ideal e-book is less than 1 GB.

If you plan to sell a multimedia-rich book (that you produce with the iBooks Author software), your book must be sold through Apple’s iBookstore. According to the site, should an author decide to sell a book through the iBookstore, he or she must agree to a 70/30 revenue split with 70 per cent going to the author.

The web site that tells about Apple’s new program is www.apple.com/ibooks-author. Since the software for these multimedia-rich iBooks is evolving at a rapid pace, I suspect that Apple will be soon be offering additional templates and similar changes to compete with software being developed by other companies.

 

Suggestions or queries? Send to Frankie Meyer, 509 N. Center St., Plainfield, IN 46168, or contact: frankiemeyer@yahoo.com.

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