Today, at the Apple Education event, held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, Apple announced a new feature for Mac owners who want publish get their books on the iPad. The new tool, “iBook Author” will allow authors to create interactive works for publishing on Apple’s new iBooks 2 platform.

Armed with the new app, users will be able to choose from a template to create their books (much like the wizard in Microsoft Word) allowing them to drag and drop elements into the page and position them with ease.

Similar to Keynote and Pages, authors can embed galleries and elements, but also include JavaScript and HTML5 code, providing them with the ability to deliver truly custom content from their computer or the Web.

ea06783a a84f 4f08 8404 01ddd349d58d 520x344 Apple announces iBooks Author, a Mac app for authoring iPad books

(Image Credit: The Verge)

The application supports interactive glossaries and provides a slick iPad preview feature, which can show what the book will look like on Apple’s tablet device without having to publish it or port it across.

After the impressive demo on stage, Apple’s Phil Schiller notes:

“In like 5 minutes flat, we created an e-book and deployed it to the iPad. I hope you find that as inspiring and empowering as I do.

So now you’ve seen, anyone can create interactive books. You can start with customizable templates, you can create multitouch widgets, you can extend that experience.”

The app will be made available later today, free on the Mac App Store.

Want to know more about online education? Read In 2011: How the Internet Revolutionized Education.