How to Publish an E-Book on iTunes (iBookstore)

June 22, 2012

iTunes is a media powerhouse, selling millions of songs, movies, television shows, apps, programs, and books. Publishing your books on iTunes (the iBookstore) is a great way to increase your exposure and sales. It’s also a great way to reach customers, who are embracing e-reader technology like tablets (of which the iPad is arguably the most popular).

Publishing to the iTunes interface is a relatively simple process, but you have to understand the specifics of the system. Here’s what you need to know about publishing an e-book on iTunes:

Create in the Proper Format

Books published to iBookstore must be in a very specific format: ePub. There are many services and software providers you can use to convert your book to the ePub format. Storyist, Pages, or Calibre can all be used to make the conversion. Calibre is free, open-source software, and the others charge a fee.

You can also sign up for one of the Apple-approved aggregators, which convert and deliver book titles for a fee. These services will also help market and distribute books.

All books must pass ePubCheck to ensure that they meet formatting guidelines before they can be published.

Get an ISBN Number

All books sold in the iBookstore must have an ISBN (Internatinoal Standard Book Number). Books that are offered for free do not need an IBSN.

To get an ISBN, you must buy one by visiting a site such as www.myidentifiers.com or fromisbn.org. A single ISBN costs $125. However, you can save significantly by purchasing multiple ISBNs at once. For example, 10 ISBNs cost $250 — or $25 each.

Print and digital versions of a book each have to have their own ISBN.

Register for a Taxpayer ID

Apple requires that sellers on iTunes Connect have a taxpayer ID. Sellers must apply for a taxpayer ID through the IRS. This taxpayer ID will be linked to your account, identifying you by your legal name as the seller of the book, and you must always use the same taxpayer ID for your account.

Apply for iTunes Connect

Once you have all your documentation in place, you are ready to apply for an account on iTunes Connect (https://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/wa/bookSignup), which will enable you to sell in the iBookstore. You can apply for a paid account or a free account. If you plan to sell books, you must apply for a paid account.

Keep in mind that if you apply for a free account, then decide to sell books later, you cannot upgrade your free account to a paid account.

You can distribute books for free whether you have a paid or a free account.

Once your application is approved, you are ready to start selling books in the iBookstore. While the process is a little cumbersome — if not a little pricey — it gives you access to one of the best-selling marketplaces around the world, greatly increasing your potential for sales.

Have you sold books in iBookstore? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

Sarah Rexman is the main researcher and writer for bedbugs.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Florida State, with a degree in environmental science.  Her current focus for the site involves researching home remedies for bed bugs and how to exterminate bed bugs.

{ 12 comments }

Lidia from Cheapest flights June 27, 2012 at 2:45 am

Is this something you can make a living out of? I have always wanted to work in a bookstore, but a real one, however, as I don’t have much chance for that, I might try this online bookstore thing. :)

Sergio from candida July 4, 2012 at 9:10 am

Publishing a book means that you can automatically start earning money from it ? I mean does it require any additional setups for the payment methods/paypal accounts and so forth ?

christie July 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm

If you have a taxpayer ID, then Apple takes care of the selling and collecting payment. All you have to do is set it up. Also have a look at the Kindle Select Program. You simply upload your pdf to the Kindle store, go through a setup where you describe your book and set the price, and they take care of the sales and payment. They send you your royalties based on the name and taxpayer id you give them.

Miles July 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Wow this is a longer process than I was expecting, although I expect if someone has made the effort to write an e-book then they shouldn’t mind this process too much.

I see a lot of people making money by creating apps for Apple devices but I’m not exactly sure about the iBook store.
Miles´s last blog post ..Xvid Download

Edward from Blogs July 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Great information. Whether you’re looking to sell your book, or to publish it and distribute it for free as “content marketing”, this is a fantastic marketing strategy that very few people are using. Thanks for the information.

oletu maro August 2, 2012 at 5:43 am

great article i hope it helps

Hakan from Submit Articles August 3, 2012 at 4:24 am

There is no other cost involves besides ISBN. We do pay $99 developer fee to submit applications to market place.
Hakan@Submit Articles´s last blog post ..AdahFashions.com – Designer Festival Sarees Sale Online at upto 50% OFF

Michael Speer from Vanzari auto August 7, 2012 at 8:32 am

Is this something you can make a living out of? I have always wanted to work in a bookstore, but a real one, however, as I don’t have much chance for that, I might try this online bookstore thing. :)

Sam from ipad news August 9, 2012 at 8:02 am

The ebooks that are published on iBookstore are created in the same format as other ebooks?

victarius August 21, 2012 at 2:28 am

Thanks for a good article. I’ll try to use your advice in practice.

Jason from Youtube Plugin Wordpress September 13, 2012 at 9:28 am

Been using itunes to listen and download music. I’ve never used it to read or download ebook. Maybe I’m using an older version. Anyway, thanks for the info.

Marina from Gutscheine Klub September 21, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Is this something you can make a living out of? I have always wanted to work in a bookstore, but a real one, however, as I don’t have much chance for that, I might try this online bookstore thing. :)

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