Apple has released iBooks Author, an easy to use app for Mac OS X that lets anyone create interactive multi-touch books for the iPad, these can be published on the iBookstore or iTunes U and offered as free or paid titles.
iBooks Author should be a big hit with both small and large publishers, teachers, and anyone else who wants to become a published eBook author. While the original aim is the educational market, made obvious by all six templates being textbooks, iBooks Author really has much wider appeal and could very well start an independent iPad book publishing craze on the iBookstore just like the App Store did years ago for apps. I’ve been playing around with the app all morning and it really is nice, with surprisingly powerful tools put into a simple to use interface.
iBooks Author is a free download and requires Mac OS X 10.7.2 or later and iTunes 10.5.3 or later:
One unfortunate obstacle for publishing that is beyond Apple’s control: ISBN numbers. ISBN’s are a series of numbers sold by a monopolistic organization who charges a highly inflated $125 for a single number, or sells them in packages at $1000. These numbers required to sell a book through the iBookstore (or anywhere else for that matter). Other than that, there are no fees attached, but Apple does take their customary 30% of each book sale to provide the iBooks service and store.