Books that leap off the page | Cranium Universe digital books
EVERYONE, they say, has a book in them. That is not to say the world is overflowing with unrequited rivals of J.K. Rowling – for which you might be grateful. But you never know until you try and never has it been easier to create and publish a book, with software packages such as Apple’s iBooks Author. With it you can produce a real book, in digital form, well printed, illustrated and even with videos and audio embedded in the text, save it as a PDF or bung it on the internet for all to admire.
iBooks Author can be downloaded from the Mac App Store and is free, which, given its power, is a bargain. Released in January, it was originally intended by Apple for teachers and students to produce in-house textbooks in schools and universities, and, indeed, thousands have been produced in the past few months.
The application, which runs on a Macintosh but produces books to be read on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches, includes some elegant templates but it’s easy to create your own designs. From then on, it’s almost ridiculously simple to drop in text, images and videos, then publish your masterpiece.
But now one of the world’s great publishing houses is getting with the trend. The Australian arm of publisher HarperCollins has produced what may be the first multi-touch digital book, Cranium Universe, created by their designer Matt Stanton and author Reg Mombassa using iBooks Author.
Mombassa, a poet, writer, musician and, perhaps mostly, an artist, wasn’t always a Mombassa or even a Reg. His mum, Mrs O’Doherty, called him Christopher when he was born in New Zealand but he moved to Australia and became Mombassa when he founded the band Mental As Anything. He kept the name and also won global fame for his now collectable designs for surfwear company Mambo. Author Patrick White was a fan, buying many of Mombassa’s landscapes and portraits.