How to Publish Your Book in the iBookstore

image of iBookstore

One of the original forms of content marketing is publishing a good old-fashioned book. It’s not the book sales that make most business authors wealthy, but what they can do because they’ve written a book — consulting, speaking engagements, and more.

But here’s the twist. A recent report out a few weeks ago that electronic books are outselling paperback books, and Apple expects to sell more than 28 million iPads by the end of 2011. So it’s no surprise that a lot of writers want to know how they can get a new-fangled electronic book into the iBookstore.

Getting your book into the iBookstore can be a low-cost and profitable route that exposes your work to entirely new markets. But getting a book approved by Apple isn’t a simple process.

You need to follow specific guidelines for preparing and publishing in order to avoid time-consuming headaches and a rejection email.

This post offers you a step-by-step guide to preparing and publishing your book for submission to the Apple iBookstore.

Preparing your book for electronic publication

It is important to make sure that once readers download your digital book, they have a really good experience with it. That’s what gets them to mention it to others, talk it up on social media sites, and rate it well.

Part of ensuring a good digital experience is in the editing process. This post on BubbleCow discusses some really important elements of self-editing.

You also need good design. Great covers sell books. And with digital books, it’s doubly important to capture reader attention, since the icons are small and there is so much to see at one time.

A couple of places to look for quality cover designers are 2H Designs (UK) and The Book Designer (US). Whether you use those services or not, they’ll give you a good idea of the types of design services out there.

Self publishing for the iBookstore

Apple’s distribution system for the iPad is a free app called iBooks. This app allows you to buy and download books from the iBookstore.

Apple doesn’t have too many restrictions on the books that can be uploaded to the iBookstore, but individual writers are not able to directly upload titles.

In that case, you must be wondering why I am writing this guide. Well, as it turns out, Apple has appointed a number of iBookstore aggregators that are approved to submit books to the iBookstore for you.

For this article I am going to focus on using Lulu. Another popular option is Smashwords.

Here are some things to take into consideration before you get started with an aggregator:

Cover Image. You will need a quality book cover image (JPEG) and it must be a vertical rectangle shape at least 600 pixels tall. The cover should include both the title and the author name. It cannot be a greyscale image and it cannot contain hyperlinks or web site addresses. Also, keep the image PG-13 (no nudity).

Content Restrictions. You must be the original author, or exclusive digital publisher or distributor. Apple strictly forbids content that encourages illegal activities, promotes intolerance or discrimination, invades the privacy of any person, or that slanders or libels a person or organization. Erotica that depicts underage people engaged in or witnessing sexual acts is totally off-limits, in addition to being just plain wrong.

Pricing. Apple prices ebooks in 99-cent increments, so you are encouraged to do the same.

ISBN. You need to get an ISBN for your ebook. Most aggregators have services that will automatically assign you one.

Get your books into the iBookstore

Now that you have your book edited, a cover created, your pricing set, and have had it checked for content, you are ready to use an aggregator and get your digital book into the iBookstore. (One important thing to know before you move forward: you retain all copyrights and intellectual property rights to your books.)

I’ll take Lulu as an example of the steps you’ll go through to get your digital book into the iBookstore. The steps are very similar for all aggregators.

  1. ePub format. ePub is the format Apple accepts for ebooks. Lulu has a service that will run a special ePub checker and then convert your book into the proper format that is guaranteed to pass Apple’s strict guidelines. You can also submit the ePub file yourself using any number of ePub services as well as Apple’s own Pages program. If you want a speedy process, I would suggest using the aggregator’s services to avoid any technical holdups.
  2. Cover image. You will need your cover image to upload along with your ebook in ePub format.
  3. ISBN. Lulu will assign your book an ISBN as part of their regular service.
  4. Upload. You can now upload all your files and supply all of the necessary information about your book.
  5. Get Paid. Apple retains 30% of all revenue from sales on the iBookstore. The publisher (that’s you) receives 80% of the remaining revenue and Lulu receives 20%. Or you can pay Lulu a one-time fee and you won’t pay them any additional commissions.

That’s it. You now have your very own book in the Apple iBookstore for sale.

Now, of course, it’s time to market it. But that’s another post …

About the Author: Shane uses his Tablet Computer Geeks blog to deliver the latest and best iPad information, including accessory reviews, app reviews, and industry updates. Follow him on twitter at tc_geeks.

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Comments

  1. Wow.. this is a great step by step approach to getting this done.. I’ve been wondering how this process works.

    thanks for sharing this
    talk soon
    Hector

    • You are more than welcome Hector. It is a very cool process that let’s you actually be more in control of your own content and reap the rewards as well!

  2. There is also Bookbaby! $49 – submission, with no sales commission!

  3. Thanks for the publishing info for Apple. I know that Amazon is a desired route, but I never thought about publishing with Steve Job’s innovations.
    Randy

    • Thanks. Yes, amazon is definitely another route and I look at it as a great alternative. If you can get your content on the kindle as well as in the iBookstore then it reaches even more buyers!

    • The good news is, once you’ve formatted your ePub and developed your cover art for Lulu (or anyone else, really), you’ve done 90% of the work to sell it through Amazon, too. I just went through that process.

      That’s an advantage of doing the work yourself, or working with your own people, if at all possible. There might be some little tweaks along the way (B&N wants a TIFF cover image, Lulu a JPEG, and everyone else wants just any web-friendly format), so if you’ve got the source files and you know a bit about what went into the design, it’s a lot easier to make those tweaks and distribute everywhere

      • Hi,

        Thanks guys very informative post. I have a book (already self-published) in print. I am thinking of releasing in Kindle and iPad versions. I was wondering if you or some one explains clearly the royalty payments? My basic research shows Amazon pays 30% royalty (for books priced above $9.99) and Apple pays 70% royalty for all books. Is that correct? Also does B&N allows for self-publishers/Electonically?

        Thanks for clearing my confusion and kind help!

        Regards,
        KK

  4. Awesome, I’ll be there soon!

  5. This is a fantastic post – I would suggest to look also at the Bestseller Template for Pages. I will test it out with Lulu to see if it integrates

  6. this is such a timely and relevant article for me. Thank you so much for writing it :-)

    • Dino,
      You are welcome. I take it you are writing a book? If so, good luck and remember a compelling cover design never hurts either as it is sometimes the first thing people see!

  7. Hi, great article, I never think that it’s possible for any person to publish books on ibookstore, valuable content with a very specific step by step approach.

    Thank you :D

    Anass

  8. Shane, This is uncanny. On my to-do list for today is “Email Shane about how to get books into the ibookstore.” No kidding.

    I’m working on a children’s books with a friend and we’ve been thinking that getting into ibooks wouild be the way to go, but didn’t know where to start. I was going to begin my research into this topic by emailing you. :)

    Thanks for such a detailed and informative post!

    • Beth!
      I wish I could claim I read your mind ;-)

      Honestly, thank you very much. I wrote this because I felt it’s something content marketers and copywriters need to know about. The fact that you can get a book self-published and in front of a vastly growing market is a testament of how mobile tech is changing the rules.

  9. Jaqueline Silva :

    Hello

    Thanks a lot for this article. It’s been a challenge to find out good information on publishing a book and this guide is great for sure.

    I am going to dig a bit more into this and please keep up the great posts.

    • Jaqueline,
      Thanks. I’ll keep the great content coming. Perhaps an article is due to help people publish on Amazon’s Kindle as well.

  10. What a great and helpful post! Thanks! I have the steps for Amazon Kindle, but hadn’t even thought about iBooks. Really appreciate it since I am writing a book!

  11. Is there anything that prevents an author from selling the eBook through the iBook store AND selling a digital pdf download on your website?

    • Brock,

      I would have to look through the actual guidelines from Apple to answer that properly. I’ll take a look and reply back.

      I would imagine that you can have a “book” in the bookstore and on your site as long as it’s your own content that you own. However, in the crazy world of content – I’ll want to make sure before confirming that.

    • Brock,

      Here is what I found and I answered this below as well. The iBookstore is simply just a form of retail distribution. Therefore, any author that owns the copyright to their work can sell their work on multiple channels (Lulu, Amazon, Apple, etc.). The only restriction so far is pricing. Some of the retailers have various rules and guidelines regarding how you price your book.

  12. Great information, well presented. Nice, tight sharp writing. You even included a checklist which warms my baby boomer heart.
    Question–what rights do you give up to your writing? Can you publish on other sites, say Amazon and can you still sell it yourself?

    • Hi Terry,

      Thanks for the comments! A quote from the Lulu blog says that the iBookstore is simply just a form of retail distribution. Therefore, any author that owns the copyright to their work can sell their work on multiple channels (Lulu, Amazon, Apple, etc.). The only restriction so far is pricing. Some of the retailers have various rules and guidelines regarding how you price your book.

      Hope that answered your question.

  13. I have heard a few horror stories about Lulu has anyone had any experience with them at all?

    • Hi Shane, John and everybody!

      I’ve stumbled on this blog and right now you’re talking my language. Shane, thanks for the article. John, I recently won a writing contest where the prize was a paperback copy of my children’s chapter book. Lulu was the POD service used for this prize. The quality of printing was poor, faded sections etc. A replacement copy was ordered and had the same problem.

      Cheers
      Bryan

      • Bryan,

        Glad you stumbled here. This is one of the most informative and useful blogs I have personally ever read so feel free to hang out and read the archives as well!

        Sorry to hear about the quality of your paperback – these services and the entire model are still fairly new which will most definitely improve over time.

  14. @Shane: Thank you for this information. Never know when I might need it.

    What’s the overall consensus you’ve gathered from other writers about this method? I’m curious because this process shaves off 44 percent of an already reduced asking price.

    • Hi Shane!

      (I feel as if I’m saying Hi to myself). I have seen both sides of the coin. On the one hand, the iBookstore has a much smaller volume of books (significantly smaller) than the likes of Amazon. So…you could say that you have less competition.

      On the other hand, there are some pretty harsh critics of the iBookstore in general. I think Apple is a late arrival to the e-book scene and they have some work to do in order to gain the mass acceptance that Amazon has.

      As a writer, however, the method is fairly simple. Since you have to use an aggregator (like LuLu) then the process is very straightforward given you follow all the guidelines. I think that its an exciting time for writers because this gives them the chance to get seen and read without trying to find publishers and sign book deals.

      • Another argument in favor of going through the iBookstore, as I sort of mentioned above, is that the work of the submission process is already 90% done once you’ve got your book up anywhere else (I’m presuming Shane Arthur was comparing the royalties against Amazon’s DTP). Sure, you get a smaller cut from the iBookstore sales, but those are sales you probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise, and the additional investment (in effort) is very small.

        That said…I’m almost certain I remember reading somewhere that the iBookstore was now open to individual authors, and offering terms that matched Amazon’s. When I looked into the process, it involved having an iTunes account and registering with Apple as a seller, and that’s a lot more work than just copying and pasting my back cover copy from the Amazon form into the Lulu form. So, until I start seeing significant sales on the iPad, I’ll settle for the lesser cut.

        • Aaron,

          Thanks for your helpful post.

          I asked the Shan a question about the commissions between Amazon and Apple on this post. I am a new author and still working through ‘how to eBook.’

          I was wondering if you could throw some wisdom on commissions. Amazon retains 70% of revenue while Apple retains 30% of revenue (books priced over $9.99). Apple has over 28M+ ipads sold and I am not sure if Kindle Fire and Kindles (Touch or NoTouch) will have that volume. I wonder how Amazon justifies 70% fee to an eBook which is priced over $9.99.
          Is it some how justified?

          Thanks in Advance,
          KK

  15. Laurence Guerette :

    Thank you for this post! Is this valid for magazines as well?

    • Hi Laurence,

      Currently it’s just for books. There are other platforms for magazines and Zinio is one of the largest distributors of those. Some developers are also making dedicated apps for magazines such as the case with Wired Magazine.

  16. This is great information, thank you for sharing. I have definitely bookmarked this one!

  17. I’m a book publisher, not an individual author. I publish 40-50 books per year. I’m not necessarily comfortable using Lulu or Smashwords for my Christian based titles. Is there a publishing path with iBooks for publishers without having to go through an aggregator? Are there other aggregators that I might look into? Amazon Kindle does not put this roadblock in the path of publishers. I can understand an author going through an aggregator but as a small publisher, I feel this is a put down by Apple. Don’t get me wrong. Our office is 100% Mac and always has been. Is there some way to contact Apple about getting our company approved as a direct uploader to iBooks?

    • Brian,

      Yes, there are definitely other aggregators. Here is the current list:

      BiblioCore
      Book Baby
      Constellation
      INgrooves
      Ingram
      LibreDigital
      Lulu
      Smashwords

      This can change as you know but it’s pretty current. I understand your concern. This is one of the challenges that puts the iBookstore into its own category. If you are a Mac user, then you know Apple keeps a fairly tight hold around it’s distribution methods. This could either be a good thing to keep out questionable content or it could be a bad thing since they are at the same time making it more of a “process”.

    • Hey Brian, I looked into the same thing (as I mentioned to Shane earlier), and there is a process for uploading directly to Apple, you just have to jump through their hoops.

      In the end, I read up on it, and decided not to bother (not for now, anyway), and I went with the same method Shane’s recommending here. I didn’t have a lot of motivation to do the extra footwork, though, and it sounds like you might.

      I don’t know if Copyblogger’ll let me post a link in the comments, but there’s an article with some good information at TUAW.

  18. I’m saving this post.

    It may come in handy some time in the future.

  19. Very good advice. I have an elaborate plan set for the next two months where I’ll be writing and editing my first ebook. When it is time for publishing I will definitely keep this advice in mind.

    *bookmarks*

    • Steven,

      That’s great news. Stick with the plan and get that book out there. We need good content that continually raises the bar and I have no doubt you can bring it home!

  20. Excellent! Thank you for the article. I have lots of writer clients and they’ve been wondering about how to get into iTunes, iBooks, and the rest of the digital world.

  21. How about submissions of individual short stories? Can they be sold as units, or must one bundle them into a collection? I could see a market for purchasing and downloading a short story for that brief ride on the train, etc.

    The implied corollary question here: what is considered the minimum in terms of word count/page count to be considered?

    • Hi Ronald,

      I am not 100% certain if there is an actual length that is allowed, rather, it’s the content that matters the most. I have seen kids books that were 10 pages and I have seen novels in there that were 500 pages.

      Where it matters the most to Apple and it’s aggregators is that it is your own material which also meets the guidelines (as stated above).

      If you use Lulu or any of the others, then they have some excellent step by step processes now in place which will guide you through the entire process. But so far I have not yet seen an official word count “minimum” as it were.

  22. Again, this post, while well written, does me no good as I don’t own any Apple products.

  23. This article is right on time! Bookmark worthy!

    For those of us who don’t own iPads (yet) and cannot access the iBookstore, is there a way that authors can see how their work would look on the iPad before we upload our work?

    Thanks a bunch.

  24. That’s a great write-up, Shane! I went through this process with my novel over the course of the last six weeks or so, and I would’ve loved to have something like this to look at.

    You managed to hit most all the important points I discovered along the way, though. It’ll make a great resource for all the other authors out there going through the same process.

    • Aaron. Thanks I really appreciate that! I’m almost thinking that a good follow up would be “marketing” the books once they are done. I have quite a few tips I could share in that regards.

      Have you done any of that yet for your book?

      • Only very limited — I’ve hawked it on Facebook and Twitter, and at my own blog, but that’s a maximum real readership among all three in the double digits.

        I’d love to see some good advice on getting the word out, once the book’s out.

        • Aaron,

          I’ll definitely do up a post for marketing tips. I think that would be a valuable follow-up to this. By the way, awesome book topic!

          • Hey Aron and Shane!

            Excellent posts! Please include me in the loop when it comes to marketing digital iBooks. Ihave three of my children’s books in ePub format on the net now and several more to upload. I have learned that it may be worth going through an Aggregator, especially if your offshore. I live in Perth, Australia. To upload direct, most of the iBook retailers like Amazon and B&N require authors to have US bank accounts and a bunch of other stuff. An Agregator takes care of everything and distributes your book to most of the retailers, provided they have an agreement in place with the retailers.

            I recently attended a seminar in Perth where Mark Coker, CEO of Smachwords was a speaker. They seem to have a good system and have shown a huge increase in sales in 2010. There’s no doubt in my mind that digital publishing is about to take off. Love see other comments on this topic.

            Cheers
            Bryan

  25. Thank you for the great article. I too never thought about publishing a book through Apple.
    You provided great resources and I am going to be following you a lot closer from this point forward.
    This is valuable information all of my followers will appreciate

    Thank you for your contribution,
    Jeff Faldalen

    • Jeff,

      Thanks I appreciate that! I’m going to be making some great changes over at the site to make it easier to learn how to do all this “stuff” with these tablets!

      It’s an exciting time in Mobile tech and we have only scratched the surface.

  26. I published an ebook on Amazon in one of my first forays into internet marketing.

    Haven’t sold any copies that I know of.

    My question is does Ibookstore or any of the other options offer analytical data to the author, such as times the book title or profile has been viewed? I wondered why my ebook flopped so bad. Was it’s price to high, was it even getting viewed, etc. and I never saw any stats like that on Amazon.

    • Kevin,
      Wow! that’s actually a great question. Here’s what I learned. I spoke to a developer and he tells me that for apps, you do get reports and information in pretty great detail. For iBooks, however, I think that would all have to be up to the aggregator since you would not have “direct” access to the store. I’ll tell ya what, I will find out and reply back so I give accurate information.

    • Kevin,
      Ok. So I found that several of the aggregators (lulu included) do provide dashboards with analytics. Just make sure that you investigate this before you sign up to use one. Look for “analytics” or “reporting” in their terms of service and features.

  27. You must also look out for e-vanity publishers. Publish America was one of the really bad ones and I think they may have moved to the ebook market as well, so do your research before signing up.

  28. Thanks for the helpful post. I would like to avoid the use of the aggregator and just publish myself. The thing that’s holding me back from publishing in iBookstore on my own is the issue of ISBN numbers. They’re pretty expensive, in my opinion. And your book has to have one if you want to publish through Apple. It’s my understanding that you can publish to Amazon for Kindle without an ISBN number.

    • That’s a great question, Karen. Unfortunately, ISBNs (like marketing) really need a blog post all their own.

      If you go through Amazon, you’ll be using their Digital Text Platform (DTP) service, and if you don’t have your own ISBN, they’ll give you one that they’ve registered. That means, as far as the ISBN Registry is concerned, Amazon DTP is the official publisher of your book (not you).

      Lots of sites out there will make a big deal out of that, and I did end up buying my own block of ISBNs for that reason, but only because I do plan to be a small publisher — I’m going to release a dozen books over the next year, so I’ll need the ISBNs (and they’re cheaper if you buy in bulk).

      Anyway. If you don’t care about establishing yourself as an official publisher, you can go through Amazon (or Lulu, or anyone who offers you a free ISBN). Once you’ve got that ISBN, that’s the official ISBN for the e-Book version of your book, so you can upload the book to iBooks using that one.

      • Just to be clear, Aaron, are you saying that if I publish a Kindle ebook first, and Amazon assigns it an ISBN number, I can then use that same ISBN number to self-publish the same book as an iBook in the iBookstore? That sounds too good to be true!

        • That’s exactly right.

          The rule goes, you’re supposed to have one ISBN for each edition and each format of your book — so one for the hardback, one for the trade paperback, one for the mass market paperback, and one for the e-Book (just examples). If you had different publishers, each publisher’s release would be considered an edition, and would need its own ISBN.

          As Shane mentioned above, the Amazon bookstore and the iBooks store (and Lulu, too) count as distributors, not publishers. Amazon does play the role of publisher when they assign you the ISBN, but it’s not required, just a service they offer.

          Long story short…nope, it’s not too good to be true. It’s perfectly reasonable. But you can see why I said the ISBN issue needs its own article.

          • Aaron –

            Thanks for that great ISBN information. I think you are right, it’s really a topic that is all unto it’s own but yet it is very fascinating at the same time.

            With this whole new world of e-Bookstores and self-publishing it can get pretty confusing at times since the traditional methods were to write it, then hand it over to a publisher (hopefully), and have it all taken care of. But I think I like the idea of being my own publisher – even if it means a few hoops to get through.

          • ISBN’s are assigned per edition. So if you have a hardcover in print with it’s own ISBN, an ePub version has to have it’s own ISBN. It is considered a different edition (..or electronic edition).

            So, since your book was published on Amazon for Kindle, my guess is ‘yes’, you can use that same ISBN for iBookstore.

  29. I would like to add that people should not forget the basics, like spelling and grammar check. Silly errors are on the rise in printed materials.

    This is the best article this year about publishing~! Thank you for the great information!
    x0x
    @AnitaNelson @ModelSupplies

  30. Shane, thanks for the shout out! Great article, and the readers here at Copyblogger are ideal candidates for turning their blogs into real, live books. Why not?

    Some people might want to consider using CreateSpace, the division of Amazon that does a great job and has very competitive pricing.

    If you’re interested in publishing your own book, also seriously consider buying your own ISBN instead of getting a “free” one from Lulu or anyone else. Like everything else, there’s a steep cost to “free” and in this case Lulu will always be identified as the publisher of your book.

    • Joel, that’s a really great point! I think that it’s a good long-term strategy as well in terms of the ISBN. I do wonder if we will ever see an uber-aggregator that can take your works and push it out to all of the electronic disitribution stores……that’s either already in the works or a really good business idea ;-)

      • Hi guys!

        I’m not suggesting that Smashwords is the way to go. However, they are worth checking out, because they say that they do send your eBook to ALL the major retailers. They have a converter called ‘Meatgrinder’ which apparently converts to all the major digital formats. They do have a very particular system which they want you to follow however. Mark Coker, the CEO seems a decent bloke to talk to. They are fully aware of the potential here and are committed to playing a major role.

        As I said, I’m not promoting them, only passing on information. However,anything you do on the net should be properly researched by you. I am still learning and have only just discovered this blog. Thank you, Shane fot the article that inspired this discussion. I will keep you up to date on my progress.

        Cheers
        Bryan

        • Hi Brian, actually I’m interested in finding more out from you in particular, regarding selling an ebook utilizing the services of someone like Lulu or Smashwords, which it seems you have obviously researched thoroughly. However I’ll probably go with Lulu mainly because they seem to be one of the few that make a point of also accepting PDF (my book is in PDF format, not epub, this is because it is a music text book which consists mainly of graphics and the text is there to match the graphics at all times, therefore having it fixed is the preferred way to go for me).

          Anyhow my reason for contacting you is that I’m also from Auz and although I’m currently living outside of Auz, I have set up my business in Auz and all of my banking is done from there, hence setting up a PayPal account from there as well. But as you mentioned above the problem is that one has to have a US tax number and bank accounts set up in the US to be tax exempt.

          Due to being a new kid on the block, regarding the whole ebook thing, and seeing as obviously you have already published several ebooks, my question to you is, would going through a company like Lulu, or Smashwords (where in my case, due to being an Australian citizen) would this mean I could sell my ebook through one of these companies but not be stung with the additional 30% withholding tax, due to not being a US citizen with banks accounts details and a tax file number etc. In other words do they take care of this problem for authors that are not US based.

          Please advise if you can. Many thanks, cheers Tom.

          • Hi Tom,

            The US companies are obliged to deduct the 30% withholding tax. In my case (being a foreigner) I needed to fill out a W-8BEN form (Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding). This form can be downloaded. Smashwords can provide you with the download details. The completed form is then sent to Smashwords or Lulu or any other US service you use.
            The biggest problem I’ve encountered is marketing my books. Several of my books are on a number of websites through Smashwords distribution, including Barnes and Noble, Sony and Apple iBooks. However, marketing them is up to me. Internet marketing is a nightmare and a whole new education that takes up an enormous amount of my time to learn. Blogging, blog tours, forums etc is not my cup of tea. I’m still struggling with it and there are also costs to consider.
            Smashwords require you to format your MC Word document to their requirements. They tell you how in their comprehensive Style Guide. However, if you prefer, they will also supply you with contacts to some of their authors who will format your document for a small fee. Most charge around $35.00 an hour.
            Smashwords also make your book available for purchase from their website in several formats including PDF.
            I hope I’ve been of some help.
            Cheers
            Bryan

    • For what it’s worth, I did exactly what Joel recommends here (and his site was one of my go-to references throughout the process). I bought my own ISBNs (a block of 100, actually), and went through Amazon’s DTP for my Kindle version, Amazon’s CreateSpace for a paperback (after investigating Lulu and LightningSource and working projects through both of their systems), and Lulu as my aggregator for an iBooks ePub.

      I went ahead and uploaded to B&N, too, but I haven’t seen any sales there, yet.

      While I was at it, I developed a process to do all of this faster and easier next time — something akin to the uber-aggregator Shane recommended — and even developed a program to build my books from Google Docs into a beautifully-formatted ePub. Thank God for programmer friends.

      • Aaron,

        That’s excellent! I really like the term uber-aggregator (wonder if I can coin that term) ;-)

        Seriously though, I really think there will be a future in doing that since the iBookstore is obviously not the only game in town and actually it’s so new that it is still going through growing pains.

        However, with the new Mac App store coming, perhaps people will be able to grab the iBookstore app for their Macs and discover books that way then read them on their mobile devices.

        At any rate – it’s an exciting time for those that want to self-publish.

  31. Great Information.

    A book has been in the pipeline for me for a long time now. Knowing all this brings it right up my priority list. Thanks, really helpful.

  32. Thank you so much Shane. Excellent post and your additional comments and information will help so much in the near future. *bookmarked*

    • You are more than welcome Helen. The comments are actually the real discussion and that’s what makes the two-way web an amazing place to be!

  33. Thanks for the tutorial. It’s good to know which aggregators are allowed to submit automatically to the ibookstore. It’s really going to be a good resource for selling ebooks.

  34. Shane, thank you. This is the sort of article I crave. To-the-point, sharable and new.

    On a personal level, I like the feel of paper between my fingers when I read fiction. But I like the idea of shorter stories selling at cheaper prices in an electronic format.

    I wonder if e-books written by content providers are driving the change in fiction distribution or if this is one, big unavoidble shift that we’re all taking part in?

    • Thank you! I appreciate that. I love writing articles people crave :-)

      I know what you mean about the feel of paper. It is gratifying if not comforting to feel those pages rather than plastic or metal. This is why print will never really die, it may just play a smaller role.

      I think content providers will have an impact as we see more and more people publish their own books – however – I feel that the actual content put out will always drive the sale. In other words, if it’s not good content, it does not matter whether its fiction or not…it just won’t sell.

  35. As a bilingual (English/Spanish) writer I need all the avenues available! Thanks for this post. I have teamed up with OffTheBookshelf (dot) com and they facilitate other selling sites.

  36. In a former life I was a graphic and multimedia designer. For my business I wrote a children’s book, doing much of the work myself in Adobe InDesign CS3 (InDesign CS4 and now CS5 can output ePub format, although I only printed in softcover for our first edition).

    Originally I went through Lulu.com, but after formatting everything, the price per book was far too steep. Being full color throughout, no one was going to pay $25 for a 25pp children’s book. So we found a local printer and handed over Press-ready PDFs – worked great!

    Kindle didn’t fire me up for an ePub version. Our color illustrations would be lost to all but a golden retriever. But the iPad? Eureka!

    My company is incorporated, so I went through the process of self-publishing for the iBookstore without an aggregator…but I still haven’t formatted and submitted my book. My problem is the ePub format itself. A children’s book relies so heavily on it’s illustrations and exact placement of text, whereas an ePub text needs to flow from one page to the next. I am still looking for information for how to format for ePub so that your formatting stays ‘true’. PDF is not supported on iBookstore (boo. hiss.) Perhaps each page needs to be an image? Hard to say…

    I must confess, I do not own an iPad. Today I am going to the Apple Store on a little field trip to see what I can find. I’d love to see what children’s books are available on iBookstore and to see how they look.

    • Trent,

      I suggest you take a look at Elizabeth Castro’s excellent EPUB Straight to the Point which describes in detail the procedure to get decent epub files out of InDesign, and the cleanup needed after the conversion. She also provides descriptions specific to the iPad on how to place illustrations and how to deal with the iPad’s “page size.” I wrote a lengthy review of this book on my blog which you can find here: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/?p=7873

      As far as ISBNs, they are $pricey. If you publish for Kindle you will NOT need a separate ISBN since Amazon does not require it, they use their own internal ASIN and link the Kindle version to a print version where possible. The entire ISBN assignment situation is still up in the air and there is as yet no clear consensus on what the best practice will be for assigning individual ISBNs to electronic formats, so stay tuned.

      Hope that helps.

  37. Very clear and i was wondering about it about lately, that helps a lot of categories of people since it has been an essential part of the “good” content marketing !!

  38. I knew about Lulu and ePub, bur ibookstore, I did not think was possible for most of us. But using your method it could be. Thanks for showing the way!

    Even though Seth Godin and other says Print media book are dead, I still think there is something still in printed books as I know I still keep buying them :-) Good info, Shane.

  39. Thank you very much for your information.
    I’m a total newbie (i.e. incompetent) when it comes to anything technically intelligent. just know how to write and only own macs.
    I was planning to try and sell my first ebook, O Brother!
    I’m not sure I understand the 99 cent advice. Right now, it is listed for sale on my news journal ( http://www.eyeontheeastend.net) for $9.95 but think I should lower the price. Haven’t promoted it so haven’t sold it.
    Are you saying I should offer it for sale via Apple for $9.99 or 7.99 or, etc?

    • Nancy,

      We are all newbies at something! When I first started I couldn’t have told you what a mouse was other than something which scurries around looking for food. And now I use one daily.

      The .99 thing is just Apple’s pricing scheme for their own iBookstore. So, you can price things at $5.99 or $19.99 but they would discourage $5.50 or $19.35. It’s not a hard and fast rule, it’s just what they do and if you are going to sell your book in their store, you’ll want to have that little $.99 at the end ;-)

  40. Nice post. It’s nice to find people posting clear, easy explanations of what to expect if we choose the self-pub route.
    I would like to see what you have to say about self-promoting.
    Seth Godin and John Konranth might be eagerly, and perhaps a little bitterly, predicting the demise of print media and the big, commercial publishers, but there are still many services publishers can provide the Lulu or Smashwords cannot.
    Marketing.
    They can put the books out there where readers will find them, and in the end, that is what will keep them alive.

    • C Scott –

      Thanks. I am putting together an article for the marketing piece as a logical follow-up. I think there is still plenty of room for print media but we will also see a sharp increase in non-print as well which resonates very well with a specific type of audience.

  41. Very, very good post!

    Apreciated – I think I’m going to need this in future. -_^

  42. Right now I have an ISBN for the print version of my sf anthology
    Conmergence, but not for the ebook version available on the kindle.

  43. I know this is a fairly late response, but I was wondering about this ISBN thing too… What if you are an expat living in a country outside your home country (for example, I’m American living in Japan) – isbn.org says you are supposed to purchase an ISBN where you are based, but the site to purchase ISBNs in Japan is all in Japanese (I know some, but not fluent yet). Though I’m American, does this mean I have to purchase ISBNs in the country I am living? What if I still have an address based in the US as well? Thanks…

  44. I’m a little late to the party on this one but still enjoyed the post and appreciate the insight. The step by step instructions make the entire process extremely simple and knowing what to expect going in is very valuable. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Hi Shane,

    Since my last post, I’ve now self published five eBooks including one picturebook on ePub Bud and Smashwords. The process is not too dificult. Both websites offer detailed information and good support. Both convert to ePub format free of charge. Bothe offer ISBN numbers. Smashwords also distribute to other digital retailers like Barnes n Noble and Apple iBooks and others.

    I hope this is useful

    Cheers
    Bryan

  46. Hey Shane,

    your numbers don’t add up ;)

    “Apple retains 30% of all revenue from sales on the iBookstore. The publisher (that’s you) receives 80% of the remaining revenue and Lulu receives 20%.”

    That’s 30+80+20 = 130%

    Thanks for the tips though, I didn’t think of the IBookstore before.

  47. Sorry, had to re-read that piece before commenting.

    There’s nothing wrong in the calculations…

    It’s late here, 10PM, that’s the problem!

  48. If I have already self-published a book and would like to have it in the ibookstore. How would I go about that. The way I wrote my book is a little different from the rest of people in that each chapter is a full story with a beginning and end so you can enjoy the stories real quick and get in and out. But if you read all the stories one after the other you get the big picture and see the progression of the main character. I was thinking about selling each chapter for cheap seeing how each chapter is its own story.

  49. This is very helpful. If I’m already on kindle, can I use smashwords, get an isbn and then have it distributed to additional outlets? I know lulu gives you a free isbn but I thinks smashwords does as well. I realize you can’t use the kdp select program though if you publish elswhere within 90 days. Is that a disadvantage?

  50. Hi Shane
    thank you for the post. I have just one question I cannot find an answer to… How can I reqeust an ID tax being an italian resident? thank you very much !
    Valeria

  51. I have recently started playing around with iBooks Author. I am not exactly writing a book per-say and it most likely will not be for purchase in the store but will be privately distributed.
    Regardless… I am curious as to whether you are able to release updates to your iBook in such a way that the App store notifies you of your regular purchased apps from the app store. Is this something that can be done, or will with each ‘update’ of the iBook will it need to be re-distributed in the same fashion it was originally distributed?
    Thanks,
    Cody

  52. HI Shane. Wow, you just gave me a great idea on publishing content on ibookstore. Very useful post especially for writers who want another avenue to publish their works. Indeed, the world has evolved and it even affected the world of publishing.

  53. Hi, how much time does it take for Lulu to review our published book? If I’m not wrong then Lulu reviews our content before passing it to Apple store.