Often teachers want to share the ebooks their students have made with a wider audience, not least parents! It’s such a rewarding experience for the students and the teacher to see a book they’ve created being published and shared beyond the classroom.
As the developers of Book Creator for iPad, a tool that’s often used in schools to create ebooks, we wanted to share a tutorial for teachers on how to publish a book to the iBookstore.
Apple provide an excellent Frequently Asked Questions section on their site to help you get started with these two necessities, so fear not!
You’ll want to make sure you’ve got Apple’s guidance document to hand: Using iTunes Producer 2.9 for Books. It’s the definitive guide and is on the whole quite easy to follow. You may also find the Apple Support Community to be a useful resource.
iTunes Producer is essentially about packaging up the details of the book, the assets, and the metadata to submit to the iBookstore.
Having downloaded and installed iTunes Producer, click on the Create new package button. New book will already be selected, so click Next.
Your now presented with the main window, which consists of 3 main sections – Book, Assets and Delivery, each of which have their own sub-sections (you can see these at the bottom of the window). The first tab is Book > Info. We’re going to work our way through each section, clicking Next to take us onto the next step.
Now categories. Click Add Category and then choose from the category schemes. You can find out about category schemes by clicking the ?
BISAC means Book Industry Standards and Communications, whilst in the UK they use the Book Industry Communication (BIC2) taxonomy. CLIL stands for Content and Language Integrated Learning and is championed by the European Commission (hence it’s in French!).
Choose the category scheme you want and then choose a category and sub-category from within. There are a lot to choose from, and it’s not always easy to find an obvious match. It’s also not at all clear how these categories relate to how the book is categorised on the iBookstore. I’m pretty confident the categories I’ve chosen above would get me listed under the Education section in iTunes.
Pretty straightforward this, click Add author for each author you want to add, set the role and give the name. The Sort name is surname, firstname (e.g. Wilson, Meg).
There are a number of options here, mostly relating to school grades. Click Add Criteria to get started.
Start off with an Interest Age (In Years). I found it tricky to decide as you can only choose one (whereas the school grades allow you to add a larger age range).
For the Apple target audience, you can choose from General, Children, Young Adult, Primary and Secondary School, College and University, Professional and Scholarly, Alternate Language Learning, Adult Education or Career and Technical Education.
Then you’ll need to work your way through the school grades for the available school systems. You can set the range to make it available to all school ages up to age 16.
You would only use this section if you have a hard-copy print version or a previous version of the book.
So, this is a key part of your process if you’re planning to charge for your book. Click Add Territory to get started and choose the territory you want to add.
If the book you are publishing is free, you do not need to worry too much about getting the pricing exact in each country, so you can use the Mass Territory Set Up to save time.
The fields for this are similar to those for individual territories, but here you can enter one price for the Suggested iBookstore Price and iTunes Producer will automatically choose the appropriate Price Tier for all of the territories you select (based on the Base Currency you choose). An easy task in this case, as the book is free.
When you’re done, you might want to click the Make Default button to preserve the settings here for all future books you package up in iTunes Producer.
Clicking Next will automatically bring you to the next section, which is Assets. There are three sub-sections here – Publication, Cover Art and Screenshots.
You’ll need access to the .epub file of your book. If you’ve made your book in Book Creator you can use one of the export options to transfer it to iTunes on your Mac or save it to a cloud service such as Dropbox.
Under Publication, click on the Choose… button to upload your .epub file. You will not require a Publication Sample if the book is not a Read Aloud ePub file or Multi-touch format publication (e.g. .ibook made with iBooks Author).
However, you could choose to add specific pages from your book that you wanted to be included in the preview. If you don’t Apple will choose pages for the sample at random.
It’s annoying that iTunes Producer cannot just use the first page of the book. You’ll need to create a separate cover image and upload it here. The file must be a JPEG, PNG or TIFF file in RGB mode, (these are standard filetypes for images, but if you’re not sure what that means then you might need to get some technical help!). The image must also be a minimum of 1400px on its shortest side. It doesn’t matter if the cover art is landscape, portrait or square.
You might have a suitable image already made. But one creative way to make cover art if using Book Creator on the iPad is to take a screenshot of the cover page of your book (press the home and power key at the same time).
Better still, you can make use of Book Creator’s ‘share page’ function to save the cover page as an image to the Camera Roll on your iPad.
By pressing the home and power buttons at the same time, I took screenshots of pages of the book as viewed in iBooks, emailed them to my Mac and edited in Adobe Photoshop, to remove the iPad toolbar and make sure they remained the right dimensions. I made my images bigger than the standard 1024×768 pixels that older versions of the iPad uses as I want the images to look good on the newer Retina iPads. You can upload up to 5 screenshots and order them as you wish (hint: put the best one first!).
The moment you open the Delivery pane you’ll see that iTunes Producer has validated your book, ready for submission to iTunes. If there are any issues with validation for any of the fields you’ve entered so far (or if you’ve missed any), it will tell you.
What you’re aiming for is a message that looks like this:
You’re now ready to send the package to iTunes for verification. It’s a good idea to go to File > Save first.
Click the Deliver button and the process begins. It takes a while to upload to iTunes, depending on the upload speed of your internet connection. When done you will see a big green tick to confirm it has been successful.
Log into iTunes Connect and click on Manage Your Books to see your book. You can click on the thumbnail for your book and check the status. It took my book about 2 weeks to be approved and appear on the iBookstore.