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:
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?
- Your eBook will be available on Apple Books, as well as the “Books” section of iTunes.
- This platform is available in 51 countries.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- There’s no cost to publishing your book on Apple Books. However, Apple does take a portion of your royalties from the site.
- 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…|
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
- Set up an iTunes Connect account for Apple Books, which can be done at the following link: https://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/wa/bookSignup. This link will give you the option of what type of product you want to sell through iTunes Connect (from apps, to podcasts, to books).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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!