UPDATE (JAN 2014): I just published another ebook, this one heavily focused on images, and found little has changed over the past couple of years – Apple’s system is still far and away the easiest to use, resulting in a smoother, more appealing final product. Unfortunately, as before, IBooks Author only works on Apple products and proved essentially useless for developing a Kindle book. Given that my sales on Amazon dwarf my sales on all other platforms combined, this is a significant drawback.
Addressing that drawback by using the greater layout, template, and design controls of the Creative Cloud products also proved untenable for Kindle. Amazon prefers submissions formatted in Word, with very limited layout and design options. Essentially, the layout is confined to text, then an image, then more text. Anything involving more complicated, professional layouts proved impossible. Meaning my time spent with Adobe’s products was largely wasted.
In the end, given the project was for an image-focused ebook to be delivered via Amazon and Apple’s bookstores, Creative Suite wasn’t necessary. I used iBooks Author to create a book with a fairly sophisticated, magazine-style layout for iTunes. Then I took the text from that book, pasted it into a Word doc, then added back in the images, to create a book with the layout of a middle school English paper to use on Amazon. The easiest method would have been to just write everything in Word, but the Apple system is so simple to use, and looks so much better (at least for an image-heavy book), it was worth the extra work. The end result however, is readers using a Kindle will have a clunkier experience than those using an iPad or Mac.
UPDATE (29 JAN 2013):If you’re publishing for an iPad-only audience, a class or work team where everyone owns the device as part of the project, then iBooks Author is far easier and quicker for creating new content, especially if it contains video or audio. Even existing content can be easier to route through Author than the Adobe suite, unless you’re a skilled Adobe user with content already set up in one of the suite’s programs (e.g. InDesign, Dreamweaver, Captivate, etc.).