Book Writer: App Allows Students to Create Their Own eBooks

After reading online reviews and testing the app with my students for several weeks, I can endorse Book Writer as the best eBook creator for iOS. Compared to similar apps, Book Writer offers more multimedia features and is better suited for a large age range.

With this app, teachers can incorporate technology into the creative process, motivating and empowering students to bring their stories to life. Because Book Writer offers more tools to facilitate the book-making process, it rises above the competition. Read on to learn more about the app’s features and what makes it the best in its class.

Image via iTunes

Image via iTunes

Scores

 

User-Friendliness (5/5)

My students had no trouble with the simple, self-explanatory interface. Even advanced features, such as adding media to stories, are easily implemented.

Teaching (4/5)

While pedagogical features aren’t built into Book Writer, its educational value is still significant. The novelty of making an eBook got my students’ attention while the app’s myriad features further encouraged creative expression.

Support (4/5)

I found answers to most of my students’ questions in the app’s eight-page manual. Technical support is also available on the creator’s website. However, I subtracted a point for the unclear instructions on the somewhat complicated process of sharing the final product.

Methodology

I started the review process by downloading two eBook/PDF creators for iOS: Book Writer v. 2.502 and Writer’s Studio v. 3.5.1. Both apps are exclusively for iPad, iPhone, and iPod, and both cost $4.99. I installed the two apps on my iPhone and iPad and put both on my students’ classroom iPads. For three weeks, my 7th-grade English students and I used the apps to create a story on an assigned topic. I then reviewed each app for its simplicity of use, educational benefit, and student engagement.

Book Writer App Review

 

Background

According to its seller, Good Effect, Book Writer is an “innovative app” that allows users to create, share, and publish multimedia eBooks on iPad/iPhone. The app can create many kinds of books, including recipe books, picture books, PR materials, journals, PDF documents, and more. Students can create a story and then enhance it with photos, videos, songs, drawings, and voice recordings.

Once the book is finished, users can read their creations on iOS devices or PCs and Macs. Additionally, they can share their creations via Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, or email. Users can also publish their stories to iTunes. In fact, for those serious about publishing, the app allows users to register their books onto Apple iBookstore for distribution. Book Writer also offers a slideshow mode, so users can present their books to the class.

How Do You Use It?

Image via Flickr by melenita2012

Image via Flickr by melenita2012

Upon opening Book Writer, you tap “new book” to get started. Next, you select a template — you can choose between a one-page and two-page landscape view. After creating the page, you can add items, such as pictures, in two ways. First, you can tap the picture icon to bring up the device’s photo library and then drag and drop the desired photo on the page. Alternatively, you can tap the camera icon to take a picture for the page. This process came intuitively to my students, who probably learned to drag and drop before they could walk.

To add text, you click the text box and add text in any size, color, and font you want. You can also place the text box anywhere on the page. If you tap the microphone button, you can make an audio recording, which is a convenient alternative when writing out a scene proves too laborious. For example, one of my students chose to write an autobiography in which he described the influence his grandfather had on his life. On a related page, he included an audio recording describing his last fishing trip with his grandfather and the conversation they had.

While I’ve described the main features of Book Writer’s toolbar, you can do so much more, including adding songs or videos and using the drawing tool to add a hand-created image. Once my students finished their books, they could choose from a plethora of sharing and publishing options. The finished books are PDF files, so I had my students email me their final product. You can choose from several sharing apps as well, and students who wish to print their creations can do so via AirPrint or Export.

Is It Useful for Teachers and Students?

Although pedagogical tools are not inherent in Book Writer, the app proves an invaluable learning tool with a little skillful guidance from teachers. Getting students excited about and engaged with English, particularly writing, is a herculean task for me most days, but Book Writer instantly intrigued my students. The chance to integrate technology into creative writing appealed to them as they could modernize traditional essays with multimedia features and social media-esque sharing options.

I also appreciated Book Writer’s presentation feature. This enabled my students to practice two critical skills, writing and verbal communication, in one assignment. Using the slideshow option, my students presented their books to the class with tremendous pride. I could see how eager they were to tell their stories and showcase their use of personal videos, favorite songs, and original drawings.

Runner-Up Review: Writer’s Studio

Also an eBook creator, Writer’s Studio is Book Writer’s worthiest competitor. Like Book Writer, Writer’s Studio allows users to create and share eBooks with photos, rich text, audio recordings, and music. Writer’s Studio falls short, however, in its limited creative and publishing tools. The app lacks the ability to include video, for example, and only allows sharing via email or YouTube. Additionally, as Edutopia points out in its review, Writer’s Studio is intended mostly for young children to create storybooks. Older children might find it too juvenile and simplistic for their liking.

Other Book Writer Reviews

Book Writer has received favorable reviews from several online sources. For instance, Graphite applauded Book Writer in its review for enabling kids to “share their voices in their creations.” Likewise, Edutopia praised Book Writer for its ease of use and adaptability to any age group. On the other hand, the app doesn’t seem to fare as well among iTunes users as all versions of Book Writer have an average user rating of three of five stars.

Book Writer is the best app for creating eBooks with any age group. The app adds modern dimensions to conventional writing assignments, engaging students and challenging them creatively. Its numerous multimedia and publishing features set it apart from the rest and offer teachers a unique way to teach writing and presentation skills.

1 Comment

  1. Debbie

    March 13, 2015 at 5:59 am

    can the books be published in book form?