Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2015
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Book Writer - eBook, PDF creator

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All-in-one publishing tool offers limited support for writing process

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts

  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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5 images

Pros: Simple, easy-to-create ebooks with photos and text.

Cons: No way to import text from common word-processing applications.

Bottom Line: Easy-to-use book maker is fine for young writers but lacks process and details critical for older students.

Older students may enjoy creating eBooks using Book Writer, but because it's not easy to edit and revise in the text boxes provided and there's no option to import text from other applications, it's unlikely students will create a polished, publishable piece within the app. Teachers of pre-K and kindergarten would find the most use for Book Writer, creating custom ebooks to share with the class. Young elementary kids may enjoy creating "About Me" books, adding a picture along with a few words about themselves. Since students can narrate in-app, emerging writers could create books to showcase their learning at the end of units and share them with parents and other students.

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Teachers or students can use Book Writer - eBook, PDF creator to create ebooks or PDF files with pictures and text. A user tutorial walks users through creating and saving a new book. Images from the camera roll, text, and audio (including voice and background music) can be added. Formatting options allow users to create simple books that can be viewed within the app, shared by email as PDF files, or saved to Google Drive, Dropbox, or Evernote as epub files.

Book Writer - eBook, PDF creator is good for easily creating photo books with text or captions. Lengthier texts are a challenge because they have to be typed and edited in-app since there's no option for importing text from Word via Google Drive or Dropbox (even though the epub books can be exported to those apps). To experience shared books as ebooks rather than PDF files, readers must either already have the app or download an epub reader. Students can customize the fonts and background colors on pages, but lengthier text can't be formatted in the text box and looks awkward with words or letters cut off. There's much potential for an app that easily creates shareable ebooks, but kids aren't going to get the picture of how much revision and editing needs to go into a book before it is published through the features available here.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Changing backgrounds and text format, as well as adding narration, gives kids options for publishing their writing. Not all features work seamlessly, though, with some words and letters cut off and unreliable music add-ons.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Book Writer gives kids an easy way to publish their own writing. Since kids share their voices in their creations, they'll likely go into more depth and transfer their learning into other areas.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Options for sharing abound in-app and through other apps. The developer's blog includes ideas for using the app as well as more detailed explanations on how to use it to supplement the quick in-app guide.

Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Crystal E. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Centennial Public School
Utica, United States
Simple, easy to use book creator.
It is a great tool, but I would prefer more options, such as searching for images from a bank. Also, I would love to be able to tilt and rotate photos. Overall, it is a simple to use tool and has the possibility to be used for student portfolios in a 1:1 setting.
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