Publishing to the iBookstore

Since Apple’s education press conference on January 19th, I’ve been spending the majority of my late evenings converting my eBook, Practical Technology for Music Education, to the new iBooks textbook format through Apple’s iBooks Author.  The new book has one review widget, many pictures, three videos, many more links, and a chapter on music education apps that meet Bloom’s Taxonomy, the National Standards for Music Education, and the Minnesota Arts Standards in Music Education.  The book weighs in at 532MB with the additional materials.

There are quite a few resources for images that are in the Public Domain, or that are under the Creative Commons or GNU licenses.  These latter services allow you to use images as long as you cite the author of the image and the location of the original material.  In some cases, I was able to contact the creator of a picture that was not under the Creative Commons or GNU license, and was able to receive permission to use an image.  There is an intro to the book that utilizes a short video (slide show, really) of music technology over the ages…finding music in the Public Domain to use underneath the video was harder to accomplish than I would have thought it would be.

iBooks Author is easy to use, particularly if you know how to use Pages or Keynote. To publish a book, you need to undertake a few additional steps:

  1. You will want to copyright your book.  This can be done online, and requires you to generate a PDF of your book so you can attach it digitally to the Copyright Office.  $35.
  2. An ISBN number.  My book has a ISBN number at this point, and I will write more about that after my iBook is on the iBookstore.
  3. You will need to make a Sample of your book that users can download and peruse, to decide if they want to buy the book.  Basically, you will want to duplicate your book, delete resources you don’t want to include for free, and then export as an iBook (not through the Publish feature on iBooks Author).
  4. You will also have to download iTunes Producer, which is the program that interacts between iBooks Author and iTunes/iBookstore.
  5. You will need to take some screen shots of your book that you will upload.  This can be done on the iPad.  However, be aware that the iPad will save those images as .PNG files, but iTunes Producer requires those images to be .png files (lower case).
  6. Then you follow the steps of iTunes Producer, upload your book, and wait for approval or a list of things you have to fix.
There are a few things I am unclear about at this point.  First, I don’t know what happens if Apple rejects an iBook entirely.  The terms of service say that if you sell a book created with iBooks Author, you must do so through the iBookstore.  What if Apple rejects your book outright?  Can you then sell it as a packaged iBook another way?  I don’t know how aggressive the reviewers are.  Second, iBooks can generate a PDF.  Can you generate a PDF and sell it another way, for potential readers that do not have iPads?  For the record, I’m attempting to go all iBookstore with this latest version, and we’ll see what happens.  I believe there are terms in the iTunes agreement that will not allow me to discuss details of the approval process beyond what I’ve already written, so my next post will hopefully read, “The iBook has landed!”

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