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Making ebooks in Pages 5.2: Here's what works now (and what still doesn't)

Serenity Caldwell | April 9, 2014
Even before iBooks Author took the stage in 2012, Apple offered the average Mac user a way to build basic ebooks through its word-processing software, Pages. Now, after four years of stagnation, the company has (surprisingly) started improving the app's ePub export capabilities. Here's a look at what's changed (and what still needs work).

Should you make an ebook in Pages 5.2?

Apple's ebook export tools in Pages have improved leaps and bounds since their debut in 2010, and I'm happy to see active work being done to properly map Pages's controls to the ePub 3 standard. That said, I'm hesitant about returning to the program for Macworld's ebooks projects. Our how-to books rely on images and CSS templates, and both the image limits and Pages's weird reliance on CSS paragraph class styles are limiting factors. But if these tools continue to improve, I could see us returning to Pages for the iPhone — especially considering that it's an easy hop, skip and jump from there to make an enhanced ebook in iBooks Author for the iPad, or to run the exported ePub through Kindle Previewer to make a Kindle-compatible ebook.

For those who don't rely so heavily on images or special styling, however, Pages has become a useful tool for putting together a basic ebook. If you need to build something and don't require the razzle-dazzle of iBooks Author, you might give it a try and see how it fares. If nothing else, testing your output is a lot easier thanks to the existence of iBooks for Mac.


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