How to Upload Your eBook to Apple Books
Uploading your book on Apple Books is not easy compared to booksellers like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Here’s what to expect: online documentation that is out of date, bugs at every step in the process, and needing multiple apps and logins to complete the process. Apple Books doesn’t have a web interface, so you need to choose one of the following apps to format and upload your book files:
- iTunes Producer
- iBook Author
- Apple Pages
You might be thinking, “If it’s excessively complicated and takes many steps, why bother?” Here’s why:
- Apple is stepping up their ebook game by making reading on phones enjoyable.
- The Apple Books app user experience is immersive and the recommendations engine might even be better than Amazon’s.
- Apple’s book marketplace is much less competitive than Amazon.
- Apple’s international distribution is excellent.
- If you are trying to position your book as permanently free (permafree) on Amazon, Apple Books is the best bookseller to submit a price match from. Again, this is because their international distribution is so extensive.
Aggregators such as Smashwords or Draft2Digital can get your book listed on Apple Books (as well as all other major bookseller sites) for a lot less hassle, but if you’re like me, you want to have control over each account.
As far as I can tell, if you have a Windows PC, you’re somewhat out of luck. Apple does not allow access by PC users, so for that part of the process, you do need an Apple computer or tablet of some type.
Very tech savvy PC users can install the Mac operating system on their Windows computers. Frankly, this is beyond my tech ability, so I’m not going to recommend it. Instead, I suggest leasing a virtual Mac to get the job done. One company called MacInCloud I’ve found cost about $1 per hour for the remote use of a Mac server in the Cloud.
I’d love to hear from you if you have successfully published to Apple Books from a PC. I’ll reach out to collaborate on a tutorial to get the needed information out. I couldn’t find anything online that showed how to do it.
PC users aside, if you have a Mac or iPad, here are the steps you need to know.
Steps for Upload to Apple Books
Step One: Determine if your book is going to be free or if you’re going to charge for it. If you intend to sell your book on Apple Books, you will need a valid Tax ID. A social security number is not acceptable like on other bookseller sites. If your book is free, you don’t have to worry about this and can proceed with the following steps.
Step Two: Go to https://itunesconnect.apple.com and login with your Apple ID. If you don’t have an Apple ID, create one. Read and agree with the Terms of Service. If creating a paid book account, enter your tax info, bank account and routing number, and your contact and entity information.
Step Three: If you’re using Pages, you can write your book, lay it out, and publish it all from the dropdown menu item Publish to Apple Books. The Pages publishing process walks you through a wizard that includes adding a cover, pricing, categories and tags, you can even set up a pre-order, customize availability by date and country, and more. In addition, you can update an already submitted book.
The drawback is that Pages formatting looks amateurish, sort of like what a Word document looks like on Kindle. That’s why Apple created iBook Author. It’s a free book layout tool and it allows you to create a fixed layout, design elements, and add in all the professional touches that make your book indistinguishable from a trade published book.
Okay, so then what is iTunes Producer? Producer is the upload interface to Apple Books and it’s included in iBook Author. It is also available as a standalone app.
Step Four: Whether you use Apple Pages, iTunes Producer, or Calibre, you’ll need the following data:
- Book Title
- Publisher Name
- Original Publication Date
- Number of Pages
The information most online booksellers request is similar, so I suggest creating a master document to copy and paste from.
Step Five: Upload the cover image.
Step Six: Click upload your book and you are done. It can take up to 72 hours for your book to appear in the Apple store and up to a week to be listed across all countries.
In summary, these are the steps you need to take to upload your book on Apple Books. While it can be a complicated process compared to Barnes & Noble and Amazon, you’ll have a competitive advantage if you do all three.