Anyone publishing on iBooks?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Adey, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. Adey macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    My novel Codex is currently ranked #9 on the UK iBookstore as a whole and #2 in the UK iBookstore "Mysteries and Thrillers" section, and yes I'm chuffed to bits. Still aiming for #1 though! It's also the first book listed in "Featured Books" on the first page of "Mysteries and Thrillers" on the UK iPad.

    I just wondered if anyone else here was published on the iBookstore and, if so, how are sales going and are you finding the experience a good one? Personally I can't complain, but it's early days so I'd love to hear the experiences of others!

    Also, if anyone could give me rankings for Codex on the US Store it would be appreciated.


  2. gtsipad macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2010
    Congrats mate! I've tossed around the idea with my sister who is writing a scifi novel. I'm thinking about serialising it...she's not willing to commit yet as the muse hits her intermittently and she wants to be certain she has a complete story before jumping in. Congrats again. :D
  3. Madmic23 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2004
    Wow Adey, that sounds great. I've been thinking of publishing something I've been working on in the iBookstore. How do you find the process? Was it difficult to get your book in the store? Have you already been published in the traditional sense?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I'm very interested, as I'm sure others are as well.
  4. Briview macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have drafted up--for about a year now--a 600-page guide labeled as Managing the Competition: A Guide to Venturing, which pretty much sums up administrative management of teams, leadership styles, and WEB 3.0 markets in addition to enhancing upon the ideas of innovation in social media and affiliate monetization through online advertising with current and future trends in where the opportunities exist (geotagging, location-based social networking, mobile advertising, mobile-enabled content, etc.). It's pretty packed, but I don't know how I can publish it to the iBookstore as an independent author/writer, yet I'd love to.
  5. Adey thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    Hi guys and thanks for the congrats.

    I'm signed to Last Passage Publishing in the UK, a small independent publisher, and we placed the novel on Smashwords just to test the market prior to our print launch in November. Smashwords have a distribution deal with Apple's iBookstore and it's free to do. So far the reaction is good, although Smashwords is not without its faults, so Last Passage contacted the iTunes Content Provider via email and asked how a small publisher could publish to the iBookstore direct as there is a requirement to have a US tax ID. Apple's UK representative responded with a personal invitation which has now been submitted back to Apple for approval. It's definitely something we 'tried' that's transpired to be well worth the effort. Once Last Passage gets Apple approval they will have more control over the marketing of Codex, along with my second novel - Sequence - which is due for release in print in Spring 2011.

    I'd certainly advise anyone and everyone to take the Smashwords route in the first instance as it's free to try and you could just have a bestseller in your hands. You'll never know unless you take the plunge I guess. I do already have a publishing deal but even if I hadn't I could still have self-published to Smashwords with very little effort.

    I'll speak to Last Passage later today and get as much information on the ins and outs of the process for you as I can.
  6. Gaijin de Moscu macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2006
    Excellent stuff. Very interesting. Congrats, and please keep sharing!

    I got some initial interest for a UK representation for my own novel (just about finished), and I wonder if I should push for the iBooks route. For now though... I still have some time to plan and think :D

    By the way, "Codex" is a great name.
  7. emuyshondt macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    I looked up your book in the US store. I can find it if I search for it, but it is not listed in the top 60 overall or top 40 mysteries and Thrillers. I don't know how to get a ranking other than looking at the top charts.

    I downloaded a sample. I have only read about a page but it looks like an interesting book!

    How does this kind of publishing work? Is it like publishing an app where Apple keeps a fixed percentage (I believe 30%) and the rest is sent to the publisher? How do you set the selling price?
  8. Adey thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    Gaijin de Moscu and emuyshondt...

    Thanks for the replies and the kind comments and thanks for having a search. I'm not surprised it's not showing in the top sellers in the US as I believe that Apple featuring it on the front page of "Mysteries and Thrillers" in the UK is helping sales immensely. Hopefully, it will generate enough interest in the novel to make featuring it on the US iBookstore an option, particularly as much of the story takes place in the US.

    I've yet to catch up with Last Passage but I do believe that Apple get 30% of the sale price. As ever, the sale price is set by yourself and Apple's only proviso is that you don't sell the same work cheaper somewhere else. You can always sell it yourself on your own site (for the same price) and keep more of the profit, however, so I think that's pretty fair.

    It's certainly transpiring to be a healthy route for my work, so I've yet to find anything that would stop me recommending the service. I'll update more answers as I get them for you.

    Thanks again!

    P.S. It's dropped to Number 11 overall but still at Number 2 in M&T. Ah well. It has dropped and risen before, with Number 9 overall as its highest ranking to date.
  9. gtsipad macrumors member

    Apr 12, 2010
    I downloaded the sample text last night and read it with great gusto. Very enjoyable read, quite a page turner too. Buying anything these days is difficult for me as i am unemployed, but if i had a job, i'd have bought the book in a heartbeat. Good luck Adey!
  10. Adey thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    Sorry to hear that. PM me when you've a mo'

  11. Adey thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    Hi again guys.

    So here's what I've gleaned from Last Passage regarding iBookstore publishing direct, rather than Smashwords etc. I have no real issues with Smashwords but their conversion system is vastly inferior to Amazon's and even though I can create great looking ePubs myself, I can't upload them to Smashwords. Instead, I have to rely on a very poor Word file conversion, despite the fact that I use Pages and/or InDesign. Also, I've not sold one copy of Codex via Smashwords' website and their reporting and payments of work sold via the iBookstore are subject to lengthy delays.

    So... Apple direct... Apple have a US version and a UK one, due to Rights issues.

    If you have a US Tax ID, then you can get the books on to the US/UK Store via Apple Direct. To apply via apple direct then follow this link:

    If you do not have a US Tax ID (and you need to have an income derived in the US to get one) then you could try one of the approved aggregators. On page two of the above link, there is a link to a list of all Apple's approved aggregators.

    Which one you choose depends pretty much on number of titles, price per book and expected sales volumes. N.B. some will stop you 30% of earnings until you provide them with a Tax ID, but you need earnings to get a tax ID....a chicken and egg scenario!!

    Submission to the UK iBookstore is via invitation only at the moment, unless you have the US Tax ID. Last Passage have received their invitation and should be publishing directly to Apple very shortly. Currently we're using the Smashwords system to test the market prior to launch in print.

    I will update this thread as and when there are any issues and/or tidbits of information regarding upload.

    Finally, Codex after an up and down rollercoaster day of sales, Codex has just risen to Number 8 on the entire UK iBookstore - it's highest position to date.

    Yes, I'm happy. Testing the market (almost for free!) is going very well indeed.
  12. emuyshondt macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2009
    I just finished reading the sample on my last flight and purchased the book From the US store when I landed. It sounds like an interesting story! I'll look for your next book too.
  13. mixvio macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    I just happened across this. I'm going to be using Smashworks, actually, come August to publish the first book I'm writing in an episodic fiction series to get it onto the iBookstore. Looking through the conversion system itself I didn't really care for its limitations, but as it's just fiction I don't have a huge issue with uploading a simple Word doc.

    I looked at a bunch of different aggregators and Smashworks seemed like the best choice because of their distribution deal with Apple and their pricing. Some others wanted to charge $200 upfront along with taking a percentage of sales and that was just asinine. Also, Smashworks will publish it to other sites too (like Amazon) which makes the whole process a lot easier.

    How long did it take for your title to appear available for sale after sending it to Smashworks? Their website says it can take up to 6 - 8 weeks after submission for it to appear everywhere, but I'm hoping it goes a lot faster than that.

    Any other advice/warnings for someone who's about to use it?
  14. Adey thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    Hi mixvio,

    I don't want to do Smashwords down because for simple online publishing they are the easiest and the cheapest - no question, but even now I get messages from people asking about minor formatting issues in the iBooks version of Codex that are a direct result of the Smashwords conversion process. The same Word file was uploaded direct to Amazon (and opted out from Smashwords sending it to Amazon) and the conversion was perfect, so I know it's not the Word file.

    Also, Smashwords insist that you follow rules that Amazon don't. They detail these on their site but in a nutshell (for best results) you must do this:

    1/ Select ALL text and clear paragraph styles (clear formatting).
    2/ Set ALL line spacing to SINGLE.
    3/ Do not use font sizes larger than 16pt ANYWHERE (Amazon direct will allow whatever size you need, eg. for large headings).

    Even then, there will be issues. You only need to download a few of the books on the iBookStore that are published by Smashwords to see the formatting issues that are inherent.

    My advice is to opt out of Smashwords putting it up to Amazon. DO IT YOURSELF! It's free and their reporting system is INSTANT. Smashwords tell me they take weeks to update affiliate sales (eg. B&N/Amazon/Apple).

    Ultimately, take control yourself. We have perfect ePub files that we test in a number of readers and these will ultimately reach Apple, but Smashwords will NOT allow you to upload an ePub, even if it's better than theirs.

    My novel has had a LOT of sales through Amazon direct (I cannot disclose figures for legal reasons). We're also currently swapping between #7 and #8 (Damn you Frankie Boyle, Peter James and Peter Mandelson!!) on the UK iBookstore and still #2 in Mysteries and Thrillers.

    Total sample downloads on Smashwords = 190.
    Total sales on Smashwords itself = 0.
    Total sales on B&N via Smashwords (according to Smashwords reporting) = 0.
    Total sales on Kobo via Smashwords (according to Smashwords reporting) = 0.

    My gripe is not a lack of sales, just painfully slow reporting (and they pay quarterly as opposed to monthly via Amazon direct) and it is a VERY clever process Smashwords have which is EXCELLENT for most people who want a quick and easy route to online publishing. There's just a couple of things they need to improve to compete with Apple and Amazon, however.

    As for "how long will it take to appear on the iBookstore?" - it's pretty quick. They need to approve it for Premium Distribution (which, if you've followed the above rules they will within 2 days or so) and then it will be on the next run - usually about 2-3 weeks away at most.

    Hope this helps. Remember, Last Passage (my publisher) are just bench testing the digital market prior to print launch in November. By then they'll know which routes seem to work best and which marketing strategies pay dividends. I'll be happy to share with you anything that Last Passage find out that they don't consider too 'confidential'. :)

  15. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge/experience with this. Our local library has a gentleman that is self-publishing a book with the proceeds benefitting the library. I was thinking this is a good way to reach another audience and am going to send the librarian a link to this thread. I'm sure we have a number of writers in the area with huge retirement community up the hill, so it might be something they want to consider doing a class on. Not my deal - i'm so NOT a writer of anything anyone wants to read! :D

    I haven't had a chance to dl your sample yet - but I will tonight! I did go look it up though. I'll have to join the waiting to buy club though for a bit, only my excuse is "nasty divorce".
  16. Adey thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    I dunno - you keep posting and I'll keep reading!

    Smashwords is undoubtedly the route for the writers you describe. Follow the rules above, upload once (with a cover image and synopsis) and then sit back. It is very easy. Like I say, it needs a couple more tweaks to fall into the "Pro" category, but it's an excellent one-stop-shop (and route into the iBookstore) for the budding writer.

    Nasty divorce...? Once it's done and dusted you should...

    a) Buy Codex by Adrian Dawson - it will cheer you up no end! :)
    b) Write a book about it!!! :rolleyes:

    All the best,

  17. mixvio macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    Thanks for that. I had actually considered doing Amazon on my own, since I was more interested in targeting the Kindle than the iBookstore, but I figured if Smashworks would upload it I may as well let them. I might reconsider that then and handle it myself at least as far as Amazon is concerned.

    I did look through their style guide before I began laying my novel out and I've adhered to it, so things like the font stipulations didn't really seem like they would be a bit issue. That said, I know until I submit it I won't know for sure what problems can crop up, so I'll take it as it comes.
  18. DKatri macrumors 6502

    Sep 2, 2009
    Birmingham, UK
    Just read the sample and its really good.

    Once I finish the book I'm reading right now I'll definitely be buying this. Best of luck with this and to get to no.8 is pretty huge!
  19. Adey thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    @mixvio - Best of luck.

    Having used Macs as a designer/animator since 1987, this is all still new to me and I'm working hand in hand with Last Passage (as it's new to them too!) to get things looking as good as possible for all their authors. If we hit any snags you guys should know about or can be of any help to anyone, they need only ask. Just post here or email

    @DKatri - (Just down the road from me in Brum!) - Thanks so much for the comment and commitment to buy - I truly hope you enjoy it.

    To everyone following this post who have commented - thankyou.
    To everyone following this post who is, or is about to, publish - the very best of luck!
  20. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    That is what I was thinking, I just need to remember to send the info on :)

    I do appreciate you taking the time to share it and keep us updated. Heck, my own teen considers herself a budding writer, she is going to want to use it (but must first come to gripes with my red pen ;) )

    Well it's been going on for 18 months.... Sometimes it feels like it will never end.

    A for sure, B, well, I could fill one I've been told over the years, but my kids would suffer with it out there.... So the world might have to suffer without my exciting tell all to entertain them at the beach :D

    Of course, technically i am writing one right now, my mother-in-law gathers my forum posts to use against me in court. Even the ones I used to post on a parent/schooling/special needs board. Nothing like being quoted out of context right?

    So maybe i should just gather my forum posts and self-publish that in the iBookstore and make it easier for her??? Oh wait, she'd have to buy an iDevice then.....
  21. Adey thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    And she'll no doubt be expecting you to pay for that as well, somewhere down the line...?

    When the kids hit 18 (or maybe 21), get it written! Change some names to protect the innocent and just rearrange the names of the guilty parties!

    I wish Mandel Peterson's book wasn't beating mine in the ratings (real name quoted above!). Frankie Boyle (British Comedian) and I have been doing a tango over #7 and #8 for the past few days and that's cool, but not the Prince of Darkness (that's what we call him in the UK, if you're not aware).

    Anyone but him.
  22. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    The youngest is 6.... i seriously hope a majority of this crap is replaced in my brain by only good! Hey, it's my bubble world, don't pop it!

    You are making me wish i had had a friend pick me up a UK iTunes card last month so i could help you out on that side of the big blue wet thing! :D
  23. Adey thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    Hehe, that's VERY kind of you to say, but I guess you have enough to contend with at the moment. Sorry, I didn't respond sooner but I've been away from the iPad for a bit and 3G on the iPhone was refusing to play ball.

    Update, however, I'm now ranked #6 overall in the UK. I've no idea how it's going in other parts of the world as I'm unable to check from the UK but I guess I should get some figures through over the next week or three.

    Big blue wet thing? They had one of those in Avatar, didn't they?

  24. Buschmaster macrumors 65816


    Feb 12, 2006
    I should be in the iBookstore soon! I'm writing a book on iOS development (With a more distinct focus)
  25. Adey thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 5, 2008
    That's excellent news! I'll keep an eye out for it. The very best of luck!

    P.S. I just added my signature ten minutes ago (never bothered with one before) and the word "now" makes it look like I'm going "haha I'm there now and you're not" but that's not the case. It's merely coincidence that you were the next post and I genuinely wish you the very best of luck. The iBookstore is a pretty new and exciting avenue and I really hope you get some great results from it!

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