Pages is no iBooks Author Replacement (Updated)

One of today’s announcements is that Pages can now be used for ebook creation, both on the Mac and on iOS.

The Pages update is out now, and I took the new Mac version for a spin. It’s pretty basic at this point.

It cannot open my iBooks Author file for my book on the iMac G3 and history of Mac OS X. I’m not super surprised by that, but as the future of iBooks Author is unknown, I’d like a way to know I can edit this file using Pages in the future.

The options when creating a book in Pages are currently more limited than what is available in iBooks Author. There are fewer templates available, and the hierarchy of chapters and sections are nowhere to be found. iBooks Author includes tools for a Table of Contents and Glossary, and these are missing from Pages as well.

Pages also lacks iBooks Author’s widgets. These can be used to add Keynote files, pop overs, review questions, videos and even HTML content to books. This is a pretty big oversight, as these tools can add real interactivity to a book.

Lastly, iBooks Author has much more robust tools when it comes to publishing. The app can send a preview to an iPad for on-device proofing, which I find incredibly helpful. The app also includes a publishing tool that makes it easy to prep a file for the iBooks Store; all Pages can do is create an ePub file to the Finder.

I have a lot of questions about this. Is Apple going to slowly roll these features into Pages? Does iBooks Author have a future for those who need more power than iWork can offer? I think Apple should clarify their roadmap here. iBooks Author, while buggy at times, can create amazing, interactive work. Pages just isn’t up to the task quite yet.

Update: Serenity Caldwell asked Apple about this very issue:

That definitely makes me feel better things. She continues on iMore:

iBooks Author isn’t going anywhere (yet). It’s not being discontinued, .ibooks files will still work in the iBooks app, and you can make them to your heart’s content.

And that’s important, because Pages’s ebook creation — while much better than before — is still in its rudimentary stages. Support for things like quizzes, HTML5 widgets, and popovers just don’t exist currently on the Pages side.

But will iBooks Author be around forever, the Logic to Pages’s GarageBand? I’m thinking no.

Update 2: Apple has posted a pair of support documents outlining Pages’ book creation abilities.