Apple's iBooks Author has been trumpeted as the future of eBook publishing, but the agency Brandwidth has shown that it's just as good at quickly creating interactive promotional material for its business.
Brandwidth used iBooks Author to create an eBook that showcases the apps that it has created over the last few years. Most of these apps have been created for major brands from Toyota and Guinness World Records, and have been published under those brands -- so the app aims to show off Brandwidth's skills under its own banner.
We caught up with Brandwidth executive creative director Dean Johnson to find out why they used Apple's free tool for this project. First off though, here's a video of the book in action.
DA: Why did you decide to create a promotional iBook?
DJ: "We wanted to test the limits of the software as we're in the business of offering mobile solutions for our clients. The day after launch, we were already being asked if certain projects should be apps or exist as iBooks so we're now in a good position to advise on the merits of both and promote our own products at the same time. This is a superb presentation tool not just a piece of book-authoring software."
DA: How are you getting it onto the iPads of potential clients?
DJ: "The same way we promote our apps, via social media and email – ideally read on an iPad so the iBook is one (or two) touches away. Prior to Apple's approval, we were downloading the iBook directly to clients' iPads from MacBooks."
DA: Can you track response?
DJ: "The usual measurement tools are available to us via iTunes Connect and we're monitoring and responding to social conversation around the iBook."
DA: How did you find iBooks Author to use?
DJ: "Apple's legendary drag-and-drop functionality is great for speed but not brilliant for creativity. Many authors won't need to stray far from the limited templates but anyone with a creative bone in their body will want to see how easily the templates can be broken."
DA: Did you encounter any of iBooks Author's infamous memory issues if you put too many pics in one chapter?
DJ: "Our iBook contains a number of full-screen galleries and video for each app case study. The result is an iBook pushing 200MB so we wouldn't want to stray to far beyond this or we're into coffee table app territory. The end result is very stable however but it's down to the author to be sensible with file formats and compression if they want to retain some level of control."
DA: Any other niggles?
DJ: "As a designer, it's frustrating not to have more typographic control. Forcing line breaks in the horizontal page layout causes problems when rotating as iBooks Author repurposes all content for the vertical layout automatically. Apologies for any widows and orphans!"