I was as agog as anyone about the new app, and downloaded it right away. Tried importing an old novel ms. into it, and was surprised at how easy it was (though formatting could be more of a problem). It clearly looks exciting, and not just for textbook authors, but cooler heads are already commenting: Books Author for Authors - Matt Gemmell. His intro to a detailed analysis:
Apple launched their new education initiative today, with the equally new iBooks Author application for Mac at its core. There’s been a lot of chatter on Twitter and on the web already, with much more to come, but one thing I haven’t seen so far is a simple evaluation of the the suitability of iBooks Author and the iBookstore as an authoring and distribution system.
My own interest is from the perspective of an independent author with a view to self-publishing books that aren’t necessarily textbooks. As with any Apple application, there’s a strong desire to explore it and a tendency to try very hard to retrofit my actual needs to allow me to use the shiny new application. Thus, this brief article is as much about tempering my own enthusiasm with reason, as it is as attempt to share my thoughts.
You will also find a lot of commentary on Twitter at iBooks Author.
Update: And see this alarming analysis of the end-user licencing agreement (EULA) at Venomous Porridge. That's a show-stopper for me right there.