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in terse terms:

poets
       craft 
              lines.

eBook readers wrap 
    witlessly

Will Author for iBooks let us read

"Achilles' baneful wrath resound, O Goddess, that impos'd
Infinite sorrows on the Greeks, and many brave souls loos'd
From breasts heroic, sent them far to that invisible cave
That no light comforts, and their limbs to dogs and vultures gave;
To all which Jove's will gave effect, from whom first strife begun
Betwixt Atrides, king of men, and Thetis' godlike son." 

instead of

"Achilles' baneful wrath resound, O Goddess, that impos'd Infinite sorrows on the Greeks, and many brave souls loos'd From breasts heroic, sent them far to that invisible cave That no light comforts, and their limbs to dogs and vultures gave; To all which Jove's will gave effect, from whom first strife begun Betwixt Atrides, king of men, and Thetis' godlike son."

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes. Actually, what iBooks Author excels at is letting you format your text precisely, with elaborate styles and style sheets, and preventing the user from changing the font, point size, or theme. You get tremendously precise formatting and layout, and the user can't change anything at all in landscape orientation, while they can scale font size a bit in portrait orientation.

Here's the main drawback that I have just discovered myself: iBooks Author will only output books that can be read on an iPad with iOS 5 running the new iBooks 2.0. The book you create with iBooks Author cannot be read on an iPhone or iPod Touch or anything running iOS 4.2.1 or iBooks 1.0.

Secondly, the file size of a book that is all text (no illustrations) is HUGE. I'm talking 20 times as large as it should be. I've tested it. A book that was 900K in size created with other tools becomes 20MB in size when created in iBooks Author.

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Everthing Wheat Williams said is spot on, but it's also worth noting that the EULA, found under iBooks Author » About iBooks Author » License Agreement states

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.

So if you're planning to sell this poetry you typeset, you've placed some substantial limits on yourself. Just to be aware.

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It appears that the iBooks Author application is a free tool with one purpose--to generate business for Apple. There are many other tools you can use to author ebooks in many formats. It's Apple's prerogative to give away a powerful tool with a narrow focus. One can think of it like Xcode for publishing content through the Apple iBook Store. –  Wheat Williams Jan 20 '12 at 3:13
    
A tool that makes poetry available on only the iPad and only through the iBook Store is better than a tool that makes only garbled unreadable word-soup versions available on many platforms through many vendors. –  Thomas L Holaday Jan 20 '12 at 6:28
    
There's a lot of discussion around that EULA at the moment but the consensus seems to be that it covers the "iBook" that you create, and not the content of the book, which you could sell in a different format elsewhere. –  Dan Kelly Jan 20 '12 at 11:52
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