Today at its Education event in New York City, Apple announced the creation of a new digital textbook authoring tool called iBooks Author. The application is aimed directly at the textbook publishing industry, and is built to help assist them in the transition from traditional print textbooks to feature rich digital textbooks for the iPad. The cool thing is that the application is available to anyone looking to create an iBook.

The application looks and feels like a mashup between iWork’s Pages and Keynote, taking full advantage of the drag and drop mentality available for the rest of us without programming degrees.

iBooks Author is available for Lion, and will be present in the Mac App Store for free, giving everyone the ability to create custom next generation e-books.

While the majority of iBooks Author is simple enough that anyone can pick it up and get cracking on their own e-books, the application also supports HTML 5 and Javascript so that more complicated models, diagrams, and charts can be created.

Textbooks will be available in a new iBookstore section titled, you guessed it, Textbooks.

iBooks Author is available today on the Mac App Store. Once it goes live we’ll update this post with links to the application.

Stay tuned!

Check out the rest of the news from the event here.

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