How I Published to the iTunes Bookstore

I have recently published a book in the iTunes store. (Read about it here or here.) Some people have expressed interest in knowing how exactly I was able to do this. Well the good news is that it’s not very difficult. The bad news is that you have to get the formatting perfect or it will be rejected.

In my opinion one of the best places to start is by opening an iTunes Connect account. This will allow you to upload books to the iTunes Bookstore. You have a couple choices with regard to what type of account you can chose to open. I chose to open an account that will let me offer any books I create for free. If I wanted to charge for books I make I would have to apply again for a different type of account. Similarly if you have a iTunes Connect account to distribute podcasts, you must apply again to distribute books. You must apply independently for each content type you wish to distribute. It’s a fairly painless process and takes just a couple minutes. You should hear back in a couple days as to whether your application has been accepted or not.

Once you have been accepted and your iTunes Connect account has been activated here is what the interface will look like:

Download iTunes Producer next.

Once that was completed I downloaded iTunes Producer which is a little piece of software which enables you to deliver content to Apple for distribution in the iTunes store. You can find the download link for this on your iTunes Connect dashboard as noted in the image above. iTunes Producer is a pretty slick piece of software. I allows you to attach all necessary information to a book file such as author, title, genre, target audience etc. Here are a couple screen shots of what you can expect:

Create a "new package" to add a new book.

A “package” is a book, its accompanying information, cover art and any page previews (Careful with formatting here!) you wish to include. Here is a screenshot of some of the information which needs to accompany your book when delivered to Apple.

Enter all relevant information.

As you can see there are three tabs on top and four on the bottom. The four on the bottom pertain to who wrote the book as well as how you wish to have your book categorized (genre, target audience, etc) in the iTunes bookstore. The tabs on top manage the actual content or book (epub, iBooks Author files etc) files. The word “Assets” refers to the actual book file you are going to be sending. In my case I exported the book we created in Book Creator for iPad as an epub.

When I choose to export a book I had a couple options; PDF or iBook(epub).

Choose Export icon.

In order for me to upload my book to the iTunes bookstore I had to chose the “iBooks” format which in turn exported the book in an epub format.

Choose iBooks format

Once you have the book in the proper format (epub for me) you can then add it to iTunes Producer as an “asset” publication. You can either choose to upload the file by clicking on the “choose” button or simply drag and drop the file into the publication window.

Adding your book to iTunes Producer for delivery.

Once you have added your book and all relevant information you can now deliver your book to Apple for review and then publication. If there are any problems with the information that you have entered which would cause Apple to reject delivery you will see this reported the final “delivery” window.

Final check before delivering to Apple.

Once you click “deliver” the amount of time it takes for your book to be delivered depends on the size of your book and the speed of your internet connection. It shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes regardless. Once Apple has received your book it will be reviewed by them for formatting and content issues. If there is a problem with your book a “ticket” will be opened on your book. You can see any outstanding tickets by logging into your iTunes Connect account. Once logged in you will see a number next to the ticket icon right there on your dashboard.

Issues will be reported here.

I had some formatting issues with a couple pictures that confused me a bit. I got a message saying that some of my pictures where larger than 2Mpx. I took that to mean they were larger than 2MB. I shrunk all my illustration files and resubmitted. I was confused when I still got the same error message after redelivering my book. I emailed Apple and they got right back to me with this explanation.

Images should not exceed 2Mpx. Books with images over 2Mpx will not go live in the iBookstore. You can calculate pixels for your images by multiplying the height of the image by its width.

That was a new one to me! Another thing I learned was that although the account I have with Apple allows me to distribute my book in 32 different Apple stores(different countries) I cannot pick and chose which stores. It was also a bit of a bummer when I realized that Japan was not one fo the 32 stores where you can find our book since the class we collaborated with is in Japan! They are working on getting it up in the Japan iTunes store so fingers crossed! I definitely learned some things on this one and look forward to publishing more books with my class in the future!

I hope this helps! If anything isn’t clear please ask and I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

If you’ve created or published a book with your class please share!

Avatar of Benjamin J Sheridan

About Benjamin J Sheridan

MS technology coordinator at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India.
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31 Responses to How I Published to the iTunes Bookstore

  1. Avatar of pagezoe pagezoe says:

    ROCK STAR! Of course I love any excuse to have a little Skype chat but this excellent post is going to do the trick. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I get the feeling it will be a popular post!
    Publishing party here we come.

  2. Chie Mizukoshi says:

    As Zoe gave the compliment to this site, I also love this post too. This is really something that everyone would not know if you could not introduce this to us.

    I could see how you struggle with the fact that the whole world has not been completely globalized yet. This would be a great hit in Japan too once Japan iTune store on behalf of Apple manages to set up the iTune book store.

    What I learn so far is in terms of the advancement of digital society, Japan seems to be a bit behind since it does not necessarily catch up with or foretell the authentic needs/demands by the trend of world class view.

    You are on top of it!

  3. Thank you so much for publishing in a clear visual manner the steps for getting content from our students into the iTunes Bookstore.

  4. Tasha Cowdy says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed post. It’s a great step-by-step guide that will save me (and plenty others) heaps of time! Not sure if Michelle and I will manage to iPublish our current collaborative book, but if not this time then next time. Thanks for the inspiration! Love the book, by the way : )

    • Thanks Tasha! I know you definitely helped Zoe and I out when we were just starting this project. I definitely had you and Michelle in mind when I wrote this post. Being part of such a supportive and productive PLN has allowed me to explore so many new and exciting teaching possibilities this year. Just trying to do my part!

  5. Travis Hostetter says:

    Thank you for the detailed description on your publishing experiences. I am having quite a difficult publishing my ibook and could use your advice.

    Like you, my book had a few errors after the first upload and I needed to make some changes. I have fixed those problems but now have no idea how to upload my new version. I tried opening the previous upload and changing the book that is uploaded, but no luck. Do I need to just start the upload all over again and retype in all of the data?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Travis as you described I just opened iTunes Producer and deleted the old book and replaced it with the new updated error free book. It actually took me quite a few tries to get it right. I was confused on the allowable image size. I thought the issue was the image file size was too big but it was actually a case of the dimensions of the image being incorrect. It took a couple emails back and forth with support to straighten it out. I would definitely give support a shout if you haven’t already. Keep at it though, I was pulling my hair out at one point but it worked out in the end and now I won’t make the same mistakes again. Good luck and don’t give up!

  6. Thank you for sharing your process and hard work in making and publishing your collaborative eBook. The story is very cute and I can tell the kids wrote it all. So much creativity! I am new to being a kindergarten teacher and although at first I felt so restricted in what I could do with them (technology wise) I now realize how blessed to be teaching these digital natives in their first years at school. I recently wrote a post on Interactive eBooks (link to coetail.asia). I see this as being a huge part of our learning materials at all grade levels and across the curriculum. What an amazing tool and I’m so glad to have read your posts. I am looking forward to experimenting with either Book Creator or iAuthor. You have inspired me to try, so thank you!

    • Sanne, thank you so much for your comment and for sharing the link to your blog. I’m definitely going to read your post about Interactive ebooks. I firmly believe these will replace traditional textbooks in schools in the not so distant future. I’m very happy to hear from progressive teachers as yourself and to learn from what they are doing in their classroom. Cheers!

  7. fazeela abu zohra says:

    sir
    may i know that itunes producer is for sale or free
    thank you

  8. fazeela abu zohra says:

    sir
    i am there on the page as you directed,may i know the download lik please
    yhank you

  9. fazeela abu zohra says:

    hello sir
    i do have a free books accont in itunes connect,but i dont know from where should i download it,is there any keyword for searching itunes producer.
    thank you

  10. Great post! Yes, I went through this process. Everything has to be just right for the book to be accepted. Right now, I am helping a 4th grade class publish an iBooks Author format book on the “History of Books and Libraries.” Should be out by the end of December, 2012.

    And I just published an illustrated children’s book optimized for the retina-display iPad. “Princess Ramona, Beloved of Beasts” is now available for pre-order and will launch on Dec. 1. Take a look: link to bit.ly

    Creating a digital book was much more work than a traditional print version but a fun challenge. I’m not yet fluent in html-speak, but I have added to my vocabulary through the publishing process.

    Best wishes in all your educational endeavors!

  11. Grover says:

    Were you aware that North American authors are locked out of Asian and Middle Eastern iTunes distribution channels? I can sell iBooks anywhere from Latvia to New Zealand but cannot do so in Japan, Korea or Thailand even though I have customers contacting me directly from Asia seeking to make a purchase. For their part, they cannot access North American iTunes stores from their locales even though many of them are American, Canadian or European. This is the house that Jobs built.

  12. DFonseca says:

    Great post, I recently published an ebook via iTunes and it was a pretty straight forward process. It took me about 10 days from the day I applied for the iTunes Connect account until the book was available for sale in iBooks. You can view a sample of the book here link to itunes.apple.com

  13. Matt says:

    Great post. I’m a network admin at The Tatnall School and I’ve been working with a teacher who has been trying to publish her ebook. We followed all of the same steps you did but after we successfully submitted the book via iTunes Producer, it never showed up in iTunes Connect. We did it twice and got the same result each time, which was that it disappeared after getting a successful message from iTunes Producer. Online research has provided no results. Any ideas?

    • Hello Matt, great to hear you guys are publishing books! I think it’s such a great opportunity for us. The only suggestion I would have is to wait a bit. iTunes connect is fairly new and is still a bit clunky. I just received an email from Apple letting me know they are adding some (much needed) features. If I remember correctly it takes a bit for your book to appear in the “Manage Books” section of iTunes connect and then you have to wait for Apple to review the content, which for me has taken anywhere between a week and a half and a month. They seem to be getting faster at it though. Once it’s been approved you will see a little green dot below your book and next to that it will say “On 51 Stores”. Good luck!

  14. Matt says:

    Thanks for your reply. We waited a couple of days but it still didn’t show up in iTunes Connect, so we called Apple. Apparently they can see the book on their end and they show that it was submitted correctly, but they have no idea why it’s not showing up on our end. They’re going to look into it and, allegedly, they will get back to us. We shall see.

  15. Karen says:

    Great discussion. I recently published my first children’s book on iTunes and it took about 3 days after submitting it using iTunes Producer. I never received confirmation from Apple that the book was up and on iTunes. I found it by just randomly searching on my own. Though it appears the book is may never see the light of day. The only way I can find it is if I put the title in the search block. It doesn’t show up in the categories or iBookstore genre that I listed, nor under “New” or “Read Aloud” or anywhere. Where did it go and any thoughts on how anyone except me will ever find it?

    • Hello Karen, thanks for sharing. That’s not so cool that you can’t find your book other than searching for it by title. Have you tried emailing Apple to see what they may suggest? I would be interested to hear what they have to say. What was the title of your book by the way? Best of luck.

  16. Karen says:

    Thanks for the reply. I’ll email Apple which seems daunting to me, since the whole publishing on iTunes experience has seemed like entering a black hole. Maybe I’ll get a response. The book is a fixed layout children’s book titled “Excavators”. It’s part of a series called Super Machines and has full audio and a few touch-based interactive pages. It’s cool – hopefully someone will find it!

  17. Jason Graham says:

    Thanks Ben. I was going to ask how you published our book, this is very clear. Bookmarked for next time!

  18. Julie Bowen says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for the posting. I am sure it will be useful. I have two questions, firstly, is there a list of the countries that the book will be accessible in? I am in Chile and don’t want to go to all the trouble of publishing a students book if the students will never see it! Secondly, the newer versions of book creator have sound elements. Do you know if publishing it will publish and include any recordings we may do?

    Thanks for your help.

  19. Paulette says:

    First of all, THANK YOU, Mr. Sheridan for taking the time to write this article for us. You obviously have a humongous heart.

    I was wondering what type of response you received (in terms of sales) once you were published on Itunes? I’d like to know everyone’s experience. My book is currently in Kindle and paperback, but I’m hoping I’ll get a lot more exposure once I’m on Itunes.

    Thanks again.

  20. James Barrante says:

    I have a green light and the book is listed if you type in the title, but it is not listed as a title in the bookstore. How long does that take?

  21. Tilly says:

    Hi there,

    This is a wonderful blog on how to set up an account…. although I have a couple of questions regarding the paid accounts one. I would like to sell my travel book on the itunes store but I am Australian, which an apple ID for Australia and wanted to know about the U.S Tax ID?

    Do you know much about this? Setting up one and how does tax work when I am not an U.S citizen?

    Thanks kindly,
    Tills

  22. Karen McKee says:

    Thanks for this blog post. I found it helpful in preparing to submit my first book (which went smoothly).

    However, I have one problem and I wonder if you have any insight on this. My book is now linked to another author with exactly the same name (these are listed as “other books by this author”). I really don’t want people to think I wrote these other books. Have you had this problem or seen how to fix it?

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