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:
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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!