How to publish an iBook to the Apple iBookstore
Apple and Amazon are rapidly changing the way books are consumed and read thanks to the iPhone & iPad and Kindle. The other effect of this is that it’s actually helping to ease the barriers to entry into the book publishing and sales market.
In the past an author would need to have an agent pitch books to publishers in the hopes it might get picked up, but not anymore. Now if you have a Mac and a word processor and a bit of patience, you can create your own book in the EPUB format and upload it directly to the iTunes iBookstore for sales.
OK well it’s not quite that simple (yet), but it’s not that difficult either. Just jump through a few hoops and you can get your book for sale on Apple’s online bookstore ready to be downloaded by anyone who owns an iPad or iPhone, here’s how:
Write and Publish a Book to the Apple iBook Store
First, some relatively simple requirements: you’ll need an Intel Mac running 10.5 or newer with adequate hard disk space and preferably a high speed internet connection.
- Write the book (obvious) and get it into the iBooks compatible EPUB format (see below, it is easy to take a file and convert to EPUB format)
- Get a unique ISBN number for each book title you plan to release. Cost is $25 per ISBN and you can fill out an ISBN application here
- Get the following ready: a US tax ID (social security number or EIN), valid iTunes account with credit card on file
- When all of the above is met, you can apply to be part of the iBookstore distribution network at Apple.com
How do I create an ebook in the EPUB format?
Almost any text containing document format can be converted into EPUB ebook format and there are multiple free software options available to do this. If you would like a walkthrough check out our guide on how to convert to EPUB. It covers most major source file types you’d want to convert including PDF, RTF, HTML, DOC, TXT, and more.
Thanks to a recent software update, you can also create an ePub with Pages if you already own the iWork office productivity suite from Apple.
If you’re looking for a free solution that doesn’t involve iWork/Pages and you don’t need help, just go ahead and download Calibre, it is a good choice because it will automatically create book structures like chapters, table of contents, and allow you to insert book metadata. Oh, and it’s free (open source is nice). The interface is a little strange but it gets the job done and for the wonderful price of free, we can’t complain too much.
Can I convert an existing text or word file to EPUB?
Yes, you will need to download a program that handles the ebook conversion for you. There are many free options, see above or refer to our article on how to convert to EPUB.
Can anyone help me sell my book on Apple’s iBookstore?
Yes, there are several companies that will handle many of the complexities of selling on the iBookstore for you, but you’ll still need your book ready in the EPUB format. The best way to do this is to use an Apple approved iBookstore aggregator, Apple conveniently provides a list of approved aggregators for the iBookStore. Most of these charge an upfront fee and then handle all the distribution services for you, in many cases you’ll then receive 100% of the revenue of book sales after Apple takes their iTunes Store cut. Prices vary widely so be sure to get a few quotes before agreeing to a single aggregator.