iBooks Author Questions

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by MechaSpanky, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. MechaSpanky macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #1
    I have written a book (or more appropriately I have drawn a book as it is more of an artbook and so the pictures are the main point) and I'm interested in offering it on iTunes. I was hoping to hear people's experiences selling books that they made using iBooks Author. Not just making the books but also selling the book (or books) on iTunes. I've read as much as I could find on the internet and Apple's website but I couldn't find information anywhere on how they actually pay you if you wish to sell a book? Do you have to register a back account with them or do they cut you a check (seems unlikely) or do they credit it to your credit card? Whenever I use iTunes, I always use an Apple Gift Card and so I have never registered a credit card with them, so how does that work? Has anyone here sold a book through iTunes? How was the overall experience? What are the weak points/strong points in your opinion? Thanks in advance for any insight that you can give me.

    Mecha
     
  2. MechaSpanky thread starter macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #2
    Must not be very many, if anyone here who uses iTunes to sell books.
     
  3. jakeOSX macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2005
    #3
    I have not used iBooks Author to make books for sale. I have played with it, and hope to one day. I have used Smashwords to distribute to iBooks, and had an iOS app for a short bit.

    Apple paid to my banking account. I did not see another way to get paid, but I did not look, specifically. You will also have to give them tax information, as you'll get paperwork at the end of the year. (this will be true of any of the places).

    I have completely separate accounts for selling at Apple, Kindle, etc. I recommend that as well.
     
  4. MechaSpanky thread starter macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #4
    JakeOSX,

    Thanks for posting about your experience using iTunes to sell content. I was beginning to think no one here uses iTunes to sell books. Just curious, did you use your regular bank account or did you open one specifically for that purpose? How would you compare the experience of selling through Apple as compared to selling through Amazon, ect.? What was good about it, what was bad?

    Thanks in advance,
    Mecha
     
  5. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #5
    I design books for a small publisher. I had our entire catalog (about 20 books) on Kindle, where some of them did well and others, not so much. (The publisher is heavy on poetry, and people who read poetry tend to want physical books.)

    I started moving the catalog to iBooks over the summer, and I have 9 of our books up there now. Sales? One. Sales for Kindles have been fine.

    I'll continue moving books there, because I promised our authors that I would. But so far, it's been a complete bust.
     
  6. MechaSpanky thread starter macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #6
    monokakata,

    Did you buy an ISBN for each of the books that you put on iTunes? I can imagine that selling poetry e-books might not work so well but who knows?

    Mecha
     
  7. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #7
    Yes, these books are all standard books with ISBNs, Library of Congress Control Numbers, and so on.

    We have fiction books on iBooks that aren't doing well, either, but they're doing OK on Kindle.

    I'm not sure whether it's OK to post a link (the self-promotion thing) but if you use a search engine to find information on Saddle Road Press, you can get to our books, and see what the catalog's like.

    I'm pretty disappointed (and so is the publisher). I did think that the iBooks move would be a good one, and it hasn't been. Kindle has done well for us.
     
  8. MechaSpanky thread starter macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #8
    monokakata,

    Thanks for the information. I wasn't sure if you had to have an ISBN to sell a book on iTunes? What program did you use to make your e-books for the Kindle?

    Thanks,
    Mecha
     
  9. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #9
    The press is primarily a print operation. We get the manuscripts in Word, and then I create the book using Adobe InDesign.

    In the past, I used Amazon's Kindle plugin for InDesign, but that only works on CS6, not CC. I had a long period in which I was making the print version in CC, then using CS6 for Kindle. It worked fine, but was cumbersome. It's never a good idea to have the same work existing in two different forms.

    When we wanted to try iBooks, I stopped the CS6-Kindle operation and used InDesign CC to output a generic ePub, which is fine for iBooks. I then used Calibre to convert the ePub to Kindle, and that was that. I realize now that I should have done that from the beginning.

    I don't think that iBooks requires an ISBN (and I know that Kindle doesn't). I never bothered looking into it because all our books did already have ISBNs.
     
  10. MechaSpanky thread starter macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #10
    monokakata,

    Thanks for answering my questions and thanks for the explanation. I have both Indesign and Quark, but my versions are a little old (pre e-book time). For me, leasing software goes against my personal beliefs so if I decide to make a e-book for Kindle I will check out the latest version of Quark and see how it goes.

    I wasn't sure if it is worth spending the money on an ISBN or not? It is expensive and if I only sell a few books, it isn't worth it.

    Mecha
     
  11. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #11
    If you're not doing print, there's no real need for an ISBN. So I wouldn't worry about it.

    Check out Calibre, and see what you can push out of the older InDesign (or Quark) that Calibre can convert to an ePub.

    If you're going to make an iBook, you might as well make a Kindle, and get your work up in two places at once. At Amazon, be sure to price your book at $9.99 or lower, so that you can choose the 70% royalty option.

    You'll find little annoyances and differences between ePub and Kindle (the making of them, I mean). For example, the Kindle plugin for InDesign honors page feeds and tabs. An ePub coming out of ID CC doesn't, but you can set it up to operate in the same way.

    I had a poet who liked to use the entire page, with lots of white space. When I made her book for print, I used spaces and tabs as appropriate and it looked the way we wanted it to. But for her ebook -- arrrgh. The pieces of text wouldn't stay put. In the end, I figured out a workflow and got it done. In the future, if I get another poet like that, I'll make the print book the way I'd make the ebook, and then the ebook would be easy.

    And finally, just in case you're new to the whole ebook thing -- toss out any notion of what a page is. It's meaningless, because a page depends on the device. You still need a page feed (or equiv) for your different sections, but everything in a single section flows as one. And you don't have to waste time fixing widows and orphans. Also, joining images and captions can be tricky, and placing images where you want them on the page can be tough. Sometimes you have to make the book and then use Calibre (or equiv) to go in and edit the HTML commands.

    However, you'll get the hang of it after a few tries. I don't think I've ever made an ebook that didn't require 10 or 15 versions. There's always some stupid little thing that's not quite right.

    Feel free to PM me if you get something going, but it's not working right. I might be able to help.
     
  12. MechaSpanky thread starter macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #12
    monokakata,

    Thanks so much for all the insight. If I don't have to have an ISBN I'll skip it and save my self some cash, thanks! I originally designed my book using Indesign but I used iBooks Author to make the iTunes version but I wasn't sure how to make one for Amazon. I'll check out Calibre, thanks for the recommendation. My first book took me many, many versions before I got it looking close to the way I wanted it to (I never succeeded in getting it exactly right but I got close enough). I have two more books that I made as regular print versions and I need to make them as e-books but I wanted to do one first to see how it goes.

    Thanks again,
    Mecha
     
  13. MechaSpanky thread starter macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #13
    monokakata,

    Do you have any recommendations for the tax filing? Individual or Company? I wasn't sure?
    I checked out Calibre and it looks promising, thanks for the suggestion.

    Thanks,
    Mecha
     
  14. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #14
    Well, Saddle Road Press is organized as an LLC and has its own Federal EIN. So the publisher set it up as a company. Actually, I guess I did it, now that I think about it, using information from the publisher (meaning the person who owns the company).

    There was a brief (maybe 2 days) period of time during which Apple was checking things out, or so they said -- these things would have been verifying the EIN and the bank account, I guess. Proceeds are deposited directly into the LLC's account. It's exactly the same thing for Amazon.
     
  15. dwig macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Location:
    Key West FL
    #15
    While checking out calibre, also check out:

    Sigil
    - a powerful ePub editor, although calibre is a Swiss-Army-Knife class app with a library manager, format converter, ePub/AZW3 editor, and ebook reading app.
    Amazons KindleGen and Preview apps - these are their ePub>AZW3/Mobi converters. Preview includes a Kindle simulator as well.
    MobleRead - a forum dedicated to ebooks. There is a lot in traffic there from both reading adicts and ebook producers. It is the main "support" channel for both calibre and Sigil.

    Also, since you are doing a picture book DO NOT assume that the 70% royalty options for <$10 ebooks is the best deal for you. There are bandwidth charges that kick in with large ebooks that may make one of the other options a better choice. Review all options after you've built the book and know its file size.

    Also, the Amazon format is actually several different formats. One it the current/last revision on the old MobiPocket format and is needed for early Kindles, and non-Kindle devices that support the MOBI format. The others are the various AZWn formats, some of which only Amazon and their larger publishers can produce. The common one is AZW3, which is very ePub-like. KindleGen will create a hybrid file when converting from an ePub. This hybrid will contain both a MOBI and an AZW3 component. When this is uploaded to Amazon, they can repackage it on the fly when downloaded so that only the one format variant that is most appropriate for the particular Kindle or Fire device is downloaded; the other component is stripped out.
     
  16. MechaSpanky thread starter macrumors 6502

    MechaSpanky

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    #16
    Thanks for the advice and suggestions guys. Much appreciated.

    Mecha
     

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