Pages adds ePub export

by Pablo Defendini

Good news, everyone! Apple has updated its Pages word processing app (part of iWork) to export ePub files directly from the app in as little as two or three clicks. Very simple, very user friendly. Since Pages supports MS Word’s Track Changes feature (on the desktop—as Lou point out in the comments below, Pages for iPad does not), I can see this, at the very least, being a good resource for editors who want to mark manuscripts up on their iPads, on the go. If nothing else, it further lowers the barrier to entry for self-published authors.

As usual, Liza Daly is on the case taking a deep look at the kind of ePub file that Pages generates, and the news looks pretty good. I also went in and did some fooling around myself last night, and was very happy to discover that Pages will export ePub files with video and audio, using the appropriate HTML5 tags.

Granted, since these tags aren’t part of the ePub spec, the files don’t pass ePubCheck, but neither do the multimedia-enhanced ePub files that are currently being sold on the iBookstore. Pages doesn’t seem to do any media encoding or compression, which is to be expected, but it also means that multimedia-enhanced ePub files generated by Pages aren’t quite ready for prime time. Aside from that, as Liza points out, Pages is using <div> tags instead of <p> tags, which is baaaaaad, and the CSS styles could stand to be a bit more human-firendly (why not simply pick up the names of the Pages text styles they’re based on?). There’s also some awkward funkiness going on with how Pages is generating a cover, but I’m not sure if that’s due to my lack of Pages-fu. But in general they’re close. Damn close.

As I tweeted last night, Apple has (unsurprisingly) just outdone Amazon in a very important space: content creation. Creating Mobi files for Amazon’s Kindle platform is a huge pain compared to simply clicking about in Pages. Next up, I’m going to play with running some Pages-generated ePub files through Kindlegen, and see what happens.

It’s gonna be a fun weekend.