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How to Publish on Apple

How to Self-Publish on Apple Books

How to Publish on Apple

Self-publishing with Apple Books is a popular option for independent authors. In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know in order to publish your work on Apple Books. We recommend checking out our post on eBook formatting for help getting your manuscript ready for upload.

How Can I Self-Publish My Book with Apple Books?

Similar to Barnes and Noble and their child site Nook Press, Apple offers an eBook reading platform that’s called Apple Books. Readers throughout the world can access your book through the Apple Books app. You can follow every step needed for eBook publication through Apple – with tools such as iBooks Author (an app that allows you to actually create a book) and iTunes Producer (Apple’s tool for getting your book uploaded to their website).

But wait – “Apple Books” may sound unfamiliar to you. Wasn’t there a platform called iBooks not too long ago? Actually, there was. What we now know is Apple Books used to be iBooks. Along with the release of Apple’s iOS 12 software update in the fall of 2018, iBooks received a total overhaul and was re-released into the world as Apple Books. The major difference between iBooks and Apple Books is that the new app focuses much more heavily on audiobooks, something that wasn’t nearly as popular when iBooks first launched back in 2010. Now when you self-publish with Apple, you’ll use Apple Books as the application on which your book is sold. Hello Apple Books, goodbye iBooks!

Do I Need a Mac to Publish with Apple Books?

Yes. You need a Mac computer to publish with Apple Books. iTunes Producer is only available for download on Macs. However, if you use Windows and are still interested in uploading your book with Apple Books, you have the option of using an eBook distributor. You could also use an “Apple aggregator” — paid experts who will submit your content to Apple Books. Apple has a list of approved aggregators broken down here:

https://itunespartner.apple.com/en/books/partnersearch

How are Apple aggregators different from eBook distributors? In the world of self-publishing, there isn’t too much of a difference between these terms. Aggregators and distributors both distribute and sell your book. However, aggregators sell to online retailers only. Some distributors, such as IngramSpark, give you the option of selling your book to a brick-and-mortar store.

Aside from aggregators and distributors, you also need an Apple ID to log in to iTunes Connect, the service that allows providers to upload and manage their content on Apple. Note that this Apple ID can be the same one that you regularly use on iTunes to buy music or download movies. However, if you’re already an app developer that sells through iTunes, you’ll need to create a new ID for uploading your book to iTunes Connect.

Why Publish with Apple Books?

  1. Your eBook will be available on Apple Books, as well as the “Books” section of iTunes.
  2. This platform is available in 51 countries.
  3. There were 8.9 million iPads sold in early 2017 — this means that the audience scrolling through Apple Books is huge and grows every day.
  4. Apple makes it easy to utilize tools like iBooks Author for help in every step of the writing and publishing process. The downside to this is that you need a Mac computer for this app.
  5. Pages, the word processing tool available through Apple, now offers the option to publish directly from Pages to Apple Books, thus making the publication process even simpler.
  6. There’s no cost to publishing your book on Apple Books. However, Apple does take a portion of your royalties from the site.
  7. You can create coupon codes for your titles, which makes the interest in buying and possibly reviewing a book even higher for readers.

Apple Books Royalties (iBooks Royalties)

Once you’ve successfully uploaded your book on the Apple Store, you’ll need to know what type of royalty rates you’ll receive for your title. Compared to other platforms, Apple has a fixed royalty rate of 70% regardless of your book cost or if it is sold internationally. Check out the following table to see how that royalty rate gets broken down based on the price of your book:

Book Cost Royalty Rate I will make… Apple will keep…
$9.99 70% $6.99 $3.00
$2.99 70% $2.09 $0.90
$0.99 70% $0.69 $0.30

Once you’ve made sales, Apple will pay you 32 days after the end of the month in which you sold books. Your payment will come through via the bank account that you’ve set up on iTunes Connect. You can access this through the “Agreements, Tax, and Banking” portion of the website.

Also of note – unlike other self-publishing platforms, Apple has no price matching requirements. This means that you can sell your book at different prices across different sites.

What Do I Need to Know About Publishing on Apple Books?

The Apple Books self-publishing process is relatively simple, but we recommend having a few things figured out before you get started:

1) Have your iTunes username and password ready to go. You’ll need this for iTunes Publisher. As we previously mentioned, you can log in with your regular iTunes username and password. However, you will need to create a new username if you’ve previously sold apps or music through iTunes.

2) Know your publication type. Apple gives authors a few options for what type of book they want to publish: Digital Only, New Release, or Other. As the name denotes, New Release refers to books that are within seven months of their publication date.

3) Get familiar with the iBooks agreement. You’ll be asked about this once you sign up for an account on iTunes connect. This agreement offers you two options – Offer Your Books for Free or Offer Your Books for Free and Sell Your Books. Make sure you know which option you want to select because this is the only time in the Apple Books process where you can make this selection.

4) Understand your files and adjust accordingly. Apple only accepts ePub files for uploads. Similarly, covers for your book should be at least 1400 pixels wide.

5) Decide what category your book will fall under. You’re allowed to pick two categories for your book, one main subject category and a second, more specific one. The category options are huge, with choices ranging from “Health, Mind & Body” to “Politics & Current Events”. From there, choosing the more exact category is simple. For example, if you were publishing a Science Fiction story, your first genre would be “Fiction & Literature” and your second may be “Action & Adventure”.

A Step by Step Guide to Publishing on Apple Books

This is where you’ll get started.
  • iTunes Connect will proceed to ask you a series of questions, from “Publisher Information” to the name of the book you’ll be uploading to tax information. Follow along with the process and continue through all of the steps.
Sign up for your iTunes Connect account here. Remember, this is different than an iTunes ID and it’s crucial to being able to sell your books through Apple.
  • After having signed up for an account, you’ll need to download iTunes Producer. This app will enable you to upload book files, set your price, and complete all the information needed for iBooks. You can find a link for downloading the app here: https://itunespartner.apple.com/en/books/tools
  • Once iTunes Producer has downloaded to your computer, open the application. You’ll walk through the book details, price, and file upload until you’re able to successfully send your book off for publication.
  • When you finish updating your book details, price, and attaching relevant files, click the “submit” button in the upper right-hand corner. This is marked by a large arrow pointing upwards.
Selling a book? What about a textbook? The eBook-reading world is your oyster with Apple.
  • Submitting your book to iBooks can take several minutes. A screen will appear on your computer that looks similar to when an application downloads. This is simply iBooks sending your information off to their website and making sure that they have all the information they need. If there are any errors in the uploading process, you will receive a message along with what changes need to be made.
Ready to submit your book for publication? Hit the “Submit” button with the arrow in the upper right-hand corner. You can see our hot pink arrow pointing up at it.
  • After your book is submitted and authenticated by Apple’s internal review team, it should immediately appear on the iTunes website under “books”. However, this process can take up to three business days. Be aware that certain holidays such as Christmas or the New Year can slow this down. Have a book with a strict publishing deadline? Get it submitted to Apple two weeks in advance to be sure that everything flows smoothly.

My Book is Live on Apple Books — Now What?

Have any changes that need to be made? Easy! Manage your account and books through https://itunesconnect.apple.com/. The main screen will lead you to one of seven options: “My Books”, “Tickets”, “Sales and Trends”, “Payments and Financial Reports”, “Users and Roles”, “Agreements, Tax, and Banking”, and “Resources and Help”.

Want to change your book price or update your book description? Select “My Books” and then click on the title that you need to manage. Edit pricing by clicking on the “Rights and Pricing” button, followed by “Edit Territories and Pricing”. This page will be where you update your book price by putting the new cost next to “Suggested Apple Books Price”. This change can be applied to all territories that your book is being sold in simply by pressing “Select All” further down the page. Simply submit by pressing “Continue”. This is also how you would schedule book promotions, using the “Price Start Date” and “Price End Date” to control how long the promotion will last.

Make updates to your book here.

All changes made to your eBook, from book title to description to pricing, will appear on iBooks within 24 hours.

Interested in gaining reviews for your book? It’s simple to leave reviews in the Apple Books store by clicking on “Write a Review” underneath the “Ratings and Reviews” section of the website.

Remember, reviews are so important for drawing in even more eBook sales! A great place to start is by asking family members and friends who have read your book to review it. You can also have a review call at the end of your book, following your final chapter. This is a great way to engage readers who have just finished your book and are in the most likely mindset to review.

Unfortunately, you need to have a minimum of five reviews for them to appear on the website. For further questions or tips, we recommend checking out Apple Support.

Have any tips for how you use Apple Books? Let us know in the comments below!

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61 comments on “How to Self-Publish on Apple Books
  1. Hi, I’ve been trying to figure out how to publish in Canada. The iTunes Connect seems to be available only in the US. Any Idea how to publish from Canada

    1. Hi there! You should be able to create an iTunes Connect account in Canada. Go to this link and you’ll be taken through the signup process. Please let me know if you have any problems getting signed up and I’m happy to go through it with you!

    1. Hi Ann Marie – if your book is on Amazon and enlisted in Kindle Unlimited, you can only promote it through Amazon. However, if you are not enrolled in KU, you are free to upload a Book to Apple, IngramSpark, and so on.

  2. Thanks for your great tips and the apple link to distributors for those of us authors who use a PC vs. a MAC. Now that link says …

    “There are different types of partners who can help get your books and audiobooks on Apple Books:

    Aggregators format, deliver, and manage books or audiobooks. If you don’t know how to create digital books or if you need production help with an audiobook, work with an aggregator. They may also offer sales reports, marketing, and operational help. If you sell any content, we pay the aggregator directly and the aggregator pays you.

    Conversion houses specialize in converting books into files for Apple Books. If you prefer to manage your own books and account, but don’t know how to create books in the EPUB format, work with a conversion house. If you sell any books, we pay you directly.”

    I have e-books for-sale in PDF format and I use a Dell PC, not a MAC.

    Would you agree that I need their “conversion house” type more than their “aggregator” type … if I simply want to sell my e-books on the Apple platforms?

    If so, there are so many on their list. Do you have any other blogs or input on the differences among Aptara, Flipside, Geethik, InkIt, Innodata, MPS, Nord, PubCoder, and Y’znet?

    Thanks so much.

    1. Hey Lance. Since most books uploaded through Apple are in the EPUB format, a conversion service would certainly help format your book into an Apple Books-suitable file. Unfortunately, we aren’t familiar with the systems that you mentioned and can’t provide much insight into the differences between these – we’d love to hear recommendations from some of our fellow authors!

  3. Hi Kelsey, A quick question about rights. If I publish a book on Apple Books, can I publish it on other sites/formats as well, or will that be an issue?

    All the best,
    Andreas

    1. Hi Andreas! Great question. Apple Books is not exclusive in the sense that Kindle Unlimited is. If you publish your book on Apple, you are free to publish on other sites. Take care!

  4. This was a great article, deeply appreciated it. Now, I’m older & slower and a recent transfer from windows. I want to publish an EPUB of poetry and sell it in the Apple store. So, do I now download Apple Books and just leap in, usually, I need tons of guidance.

    1. Hi there! Glad this article could be of help 🙂 I recommend following the section of this article entitled “A Step by Step Guide to Publishing on Apple Books” – it will help you be prepared to leap right into the world of Apple Books.

  5. El placer de la lectura es el mejor valor que podemos trasmitir a los niños. Les permitirá ir aprendiendo del modo más fácil posible, mejorará su capacidad cognitiva, su razonamiento, su inducción lógica y su imaginación.

  6. I am in India. have no US tax details. Have Indian Tax details. Can I publish my digital book, as a paid book on apple platform? pl advise how to proceed
    It was possible to put on Kindle.

    1. Hi Mike – that’s completely right. Each translation of your book will require separate manuscripts, listing, and pricing.

    1. Hey Rod! I haven’t seen anything limiting file sizes for Apple Books uploads. If there are regulations enforced on this, a member of the Apple Books team will likely reach out after you upload your book to let you know.

      1. AMAZON requires a minimum of $2.99 if file size is over 10mb. Delivery charge if you want a 70% royalty for my ebook would be $27+. Thats why I asked about Apple charges.

  7. Are there any specific design guidelines on how to design content for apple book? Eg, typography, should there be hyperlinks and call to action included etc?

    1. Hi Em! This link will take you to an Apple walkthrough of everything authors need to know about publishing on iBooks. This should answer your questions, please let me know if you have any leftovers and I’ll investigate!

  8. Can i publish the book from Singapore and will it be accesible globally for sales? In Amazon, there are restrictions of payments in Singapore to the bank accounts. Is there any such restriction for Apple?

    1. Hi Amit, thanks for your question! From my understanding you are able to publish books from Singapore, although please note that various countries have limitations on the types of books you can buy from Apple. For example, you can only download public domain books within the country of Singapore. You can learn more about that here. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what payment restrictions apply.

  9. Hi Kelsey, I would like to take some time and thank you for sharing this resourceful piece of information. I have been hunting for this information for days and I am glad to come across it. Keep up the good work!!

  10. How can i set up my book publishing and from which url from india as i don’t have us tax id number. so how to set up payment on itunes.

    1. Hey Maya! I believe you’ll need to follow the publishing steps by first creating an iTunes Connect account. When you do this, your location should be set by default to India since that’s where you’re located. You’ll be able to set up your payment options during this process.

  11. Hi Kelsey, great article. Very clear and easy to understand. I was hoping to create a series of ebooks for my students. Is there a way for them to access the books using an android platform for those who do not have Apple devices?

    1. Hey Jim, thanks so much for that! Glad you found it useful. Unfortunately, from my understanding, Apple books cannot be downloaded or read on Android devices. For this case, you may want to try another platform like Kindle or Nook if possible.

      1. Is it possible that a book has multiple authors or an author and a translator and that payment is made e.g. 50/50?

        1. Hello! You are unable to split sales on Apple Books. Apple only accepts one bank account and will make one payment each month to the account on file.

          1. Thx, also amazon does in this way; are you aware of any company which would split sales among multiple authors or between author and translator (that actually is my problem); how could I find a solution?

  12. Great article! I have a workbook available on Amazon but a local school would like to use it digitally for their freshmen on their iPads. Apple Books seems like the place for this. They need to mark up the digital books so I think I need to sell it as a PDF that they can then import into Notability or something similar. Does that seem the right way to go?

    Is it possible to sell a PDF through Apple Books? I’ve heard that you can only give it away PDF’s for free. Are there any other ways to sell something that can be marked up to iPad users?

    1. Hi Carrie! Great question. You can publish and sell PDFs on Apple Books – they also accept other formatting like EPUBs. Sadly I’m not familiar with whether this limits you to giving them away for free. However, this page makes it seem like PDFs are available to sell at a price.

  13. Thank you for the great article! I recently made my titles available on Apple Books through Ingram Spark. Should I directly upload my titles to Apple? Is there a commission difference? Thank you!

    1. Hi Beth! I hope I’m understanding your question properly – please let me know if I’m not. You would need to print a hardback book separately from Apple Books. Feel free to check out this link for a breakdown of cost and more information.

  14. 1. Is it necessary to pay Apple aggregators to publish with Apple.
    2. Can you publish two versions of the same science book, giving the reader the choice of a free copy or another $2.99 version that contains live “buttons” that take the reader to explanatory notes of the science behind the concepts of that page?

    1. Hey Raymond! You do not have to pay Apple aggregators in order to publish with them. Publishing through Apple Books is completely free. As far as I understand, you should be fine to publish two versions of the same book at different prices. Please let me know if we can answer any other q’s!

  15. Lots of good information here – but I’m not clear from your comments about Amazon Kindle and exclusivity. In one answer you say that Amazon is an exclusive arrangement, but then later you answered that publishing on Apple still allows publishing elsewhere. Could you be specific about whether uploading to Apple means that one cannot sell on Kindle? I would like to be on as many platforms as possible but obviously Kindle is a huge market to not have access to if being on Apple disqualifies.

    Could you also tell me the best way to include music – or perhaps links to Spotify or another streaming service (Would embedding mp3s create too large a file size?) – I’m publishing a songbook (all songs are on iTunes etc, my own work so no copyright issues), so Scores, lyrics, some stories etc but it would be great for readers to be able to hear the music whilst looking at the scores, if they so wished. Suggestions please! Thanks

    1. Hey Simon – totally! I can see how that would be confusing. If you publish through KDP, you can enroll your book in Kindle Unlimited. If your book is in K.U., you are only supposed to publish with Kindle. However, if your book isn’t enrolled in K.U., you are free to go “wide” and publish with other retailers like Kobo or Apple for example. Sadly I’m not sure how you can include music with an ePub file. This may be something to get in touch with individual retailers about since they may have their own rules about file types.

  16. Thank you, this is wonderful! I will reread and take all the notes, I just checked on Apple Books that iBook Author is discontinued, and that now you need at least High Sierra 10.13.6 for Apple Pages. I have an old imac with El capitan 10.11.6 with neither of those, can i still upload? Or basically i have to buy or fins a friend with a mac to upload? What are your thoughts, thanks Guy in Canada self-publishing in French, english and Spanish

    1. Guy, that’s incredible news! Thanks for sharing your findings. I’m not very familiar with setting this process up from a PC – but I think it’s certainly worth trying for audiobooks.

  17. Hi Kelsey,

    Thanks for the great article and usuful advice! Do you know if Apple Books supports sound effects? (So when you touch a button a sound plays)

    Thank you!

    Irene

  18. Am I responsible for collecting state sales taxes when selling on Apple and am I responsible for sending them to each state? Amazon take care of collecting, reporting and paying state sales taxes.

  19. Is it possible to transfer reviews from Amazon to Apple? Or do readers have to post them again? Thank you for your time and help!

  20. I am new to Apple Books, am self-publishing and need to know if Apple charges a monthly fee to the account holder, Amazon does if you have registered a sole proprietor seller account.

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