Wondering how in the world publishers will be able to make those fancy new iBooks 2 textbooks? iBooks Author is the answer. Apple has just announced that it will be rolling out a Mac app that assists will make it fairly simple to design and format these new interactive textbooks, allowing users to embed HTML, 3D objects, interactive image galleries, Q&A, and so on — and you can publish to Apple's iBookstore from right inside the app. Additionally, published books can be updated by their authors... granted, math doesn't change very often, but it'll still be useful for correcting typos and errata.

iBooks Author is available for free from the Mac App Store starting today.