[OS X TeX] Re: MacOSX-TeX Digest, Vol 51, Issue 27

Murray Eisenberg murrayeisenberg at gmail.com
Mon Jan 30 02:21:18 CET 2012

On 1/29/12 12:25:38 +0100, Axel Kielhorn<tex at axelkielhorn.de> wrote:
> Subject: Re: [OS X TeX] eBooks with LaTex and ... ?
> To: TeX on Mac OS X Mailing List<macosx-tex at email.esm.psu.edu>
> Message-ID:<76D35D9F-FCCC-4E46-B1B6-21EAC315C996 at axelkielhorn.de>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Am 28.01.2012 um 17:27 schrieb David Derbes:
>> >  For several years now I've been working on the Great American Teach Yourself Physics text which I plan to give away on line. It's all in LaTeX (of course), with diagrams via Mathematica and Illustrator.
>> >
>> >  Since I expect that readers (if any) will probably read it electronically, it would be helpful to include dynamic illustrations (as you might expect, there's quite a bit of basic calculus in it).
> Dynamic illustration sounds nice, but there are few ebook readers capable of handling that.
> You are limiting the audience to iBook, Kindle Fire and Android tablet users.
> Most ebook readers are rather underpowered and eInk isn't suitable for animation.
>> >  My interest was increased by the recent release of Apple's iBooks Author.
> I haven't used it yet (being still on Snow Leopard), but you should keep in mind that this is a commercial tool by one company designed to created profit for that company.
> It is not an open/free/libre eBook creator.
>> >  So I'm looking into various formats. It then occurred to me that quite a bit of expertise was to be found right here.
>> >  The early indications with respect to Apple's Author are not good. There seems to be no LaTeX support at all.
> This is hardly a surprise.

Don't underestimate the significance of Apple's iBooks 2, textbooks for 
that app, and the free ibooks Author to produce such books.

One report (see macrumors.com) claims that Apple sold 350,000 copies of 
their already-existing textbooks the first three days. These are all 
high-school math/science titles -- including one, "Life on Earth", still 
in progress.

Especially if Apple ports iBooks 2 to Macs -- which may be important 
given how many college students have Macs, including MacBooks -- the 
college market could be the next big target.

It's a shame that(La)TeX gets the short end of things with iBooks 
Author. (But how _would_ you expect to incorporate LaTeX typeset 
material into such a rich page layout authoring tool?)

What is compatible with iBooks Author -- and can be called directly from 
within it -- is Design Science's "MathType" application. You create the 
math expressions in MathType, and they are transferred to the iBooks 
file you're creating as MathML, which the iBooks format can interpret.

That suggests possibilities, e.g., creating LaTeX as usual, using some 
tool (e.g., MathJax) to convert to MathML, which is then interpreted by 
the iBooks format.

Of course this _seems_ to mean you won't do a whole document first in 
LaTeX -- just the math-like expressions.

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at math.umass.edu
Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
Amherst, MA 01003-9305

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