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Old 05-04-2011, 04:30 PM   #1
sassanik
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Why Apples iBookstore has so few titles!

Why iBookstore has so few ebooks?

I think I may have discovered the reason that the iBookstore has so few ebooks!

In my quest to increase distribution of eStar Books (insert shameless plug for my website here) I signed up with Apple to sell ebooks through their iBookstore.

I got approved after waiting a few days and set about to upload our ebooks.

They require that they be epub formatted and pass a validation check. No problem there, all our ebooks come in epub format already.

First snag… you can't just "upload" the ebooks, you have to run them through a iTunes Producer program. No problem, I download the iTunes Producer program and attempt to install it.

Next snag… the program is for Mac's. Oh well I think, they probably have a PC version. I look through their support pages and it turns out they do NOT have a PC version.

Now this could be solved relatively easy if I actually owned a Mac. However I do not. It's not that I do not like Mac's, they are fine machines, it’s the cost difference. Quite frankly PC's are much cheaper.

So Apples webpage suggests that I go through an Apple approved Aggregator. The recommended list includes: Ingram (who charges a fee and takes a cut), Inscribe Digital (who also charges a fee and takes a cut), Libre Digital (have not found out if they have a fee yet) and Smashwords.

It seems to me the iBookstore is making the process more difficult than it could and should be, which could be why the iBookstore has so few titles.

Amy
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Old 05-04-2011, 04:37 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by sassanik View Post
Why iBookstore has so few ebooks?

I think I may have discovered the reason that the iBookstore has so few ebooks!

In my quest to increase distribution of eStar Books (insert shameless plug for my website here) I signed up with Apple to sell ebooks through their iBookstore.

I got approved after waiting a few days and set about to upload our ebooks.

They require that they be epub formatted and pass a validation check. No problem there, all our ebooks come in epub format already.

First snag… you can't just "upload" the ebooks, you have to run them through a iTunes Producer program. No problem, I download the iTunes Producer program and attempt to install it.

Next snag… the program is for Mac's. Oh well I think, they probably have a PC version. I look through their support pages and it turns out they do NOT have a PC version.

Now this could be solved relatively easy if I actually owned a Mac. However I do not. It's not that I do not like Mac's, they are fine machines, it’s the cost difference. Quite frankly PC's are much cheaper.

So Apples webpage suggests that I go through an Apple approved Aggregator. The recommended list includes: Ingram (who charges a fee and takes a cut), Inscribe Digital (who also charges a fee and takes a cut), Libre Digital (have not found out if they have a fee yet) and Smashwords.

It seems to me the iBookstore is making the process more difficult than it could and should be, which could be why the iBookstore has so few titles.

Amy
Yeah, and it feels even smaller because its so difficult to browse/navigate/find stuff.

More to your point though, I think its because Apple seems at least for now to be catering to the big publishers, and not really doing much to encourage independent writers/small publishers. You'd think some of the recent success stories in the news about self-published authors and the like would change that-but I don't know if they get it/are interested in it.
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:27 PM   #3
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The answer to this is real simple. Apple is in the electronics business. Their focus is on selling $80 to $3000 gadgets, not $0 to $20 dollar ebooks. Even iTunes is all about spurring the demand for their devices. If they sell some books that'll be great, but if not, it won't hurt them. I'd say, just publish with Apple via Smashwords or leave them alone.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:11 PM   #4
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Yes, my advice would be to publish through Smashwords. To quote Mark Coker from May 3:

"We've seen a surge in sales at Apple the last few weeks. Not sure why. Although several Smashwords authors have been ripping up the charts over there, this appears to be a broader increase across the entire catalog."

If your book isn't there, you can't take advantage of the sales.
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:24 PM   #5
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Smashwords

Yes we have several of our titles listed at Smashwords, thus available through the ibookstore.

However, a number of our ebooks are public domain which means that we cannot post them at Smashwords.

I think that perhaps you guys are right about Apple not actually being concerned about their content but rather about their hardware product.

Amy
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Old 05-08-2011, 10:02 PM   #6
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Don't know if this helps but I just published my first eBook, Venus in Scorpio 2011 [erotica genre] using www.bookbrewer.com [based Denver, Colorado] which charges $40 to process and takes 5%. Aggregates to Amazon, Borders, Kobo, Google eBooks, Barnes and Noble and Apple iBooks. Within 2 days of me submitting it to Book Brewer it was for sale with Amazon and is going through the motions with the others. Very few techno things that are described as easy are easy but this was a doddle. Smashwords is a nightmare and they take 15% and don't do Amazon a far as I recall.
Good luck Georgina Courtney-Braithwaite, Torquay, Devon. England.
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Old 05-09-2011, 03:09 AM   #7
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Welcome to MR allabout. I'd be interested to see the maths on that. After the store takes their cut and book brewer takes their cut. Doesn't look like much of the pie would be left. Especially if the store sells out side the 30% zones into the 70% commision zones.
@sassanik - Surely you can talk one of your mates with a mac to lend you an hour or so to set it up.
Anyway - I may have to eat my words as I haven't uploaded to Apple yet and will shortly have over twenty books to distribute to all the retail stores. I'm actually a bit anxious about it really.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:48 AM   #8
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It's simple. Apple sells toys, not books.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:02 AM   #9
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It's simple. Apple sells toys, not books.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:08 PM   #10
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Hi Mark/Wannabee,

I refer to my comment earlier about book brewer. A friend of mine in Plymouth, England who is a very good writer has NEVER had anything published in print - rejected every time [as was JK Rowling (Harry Potter) about 100 times]. 2 months ago I hadn't written anything myself. Today my book [Venus in Scorpio 2011] is on sale with Amazon and Barnes and Noble, with others to follow. About 50% of the sale price goes to me. I repeat my friend in Plymouth is getting zilch/nada/zero but I am getting 50% of $2.99. I repeat also that 2 months ago I hadn't written a word! I would doubt whether print authors get more than 50% of sales anyway. I suggest that you do a google search on Amanda Hocking who published her first eBook in Jan 2010 and has made about 2 million bucks since with film contracts in the offing as well. Listen you have product [an ebook] and it costs $40 to publish with book brewer, they take 5% [Smashwords 15%] and within days it is on sale to the world!!!!! I mean come on, this is dreamland for the self-employed!!! Anyone can write crap and sadly crap sells - look at 'Entertainment Tonight'; what unmitigated garbage [English/US combo there!]. Wish you well, Georgina Courtney-Braithwaite, Torquay, Devon, England.
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Old 05-10-2011, 02:38 AM   #11
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Publishing

Most of us know about self publishing. Which is good because I think its a good avenue for starting out authors.

I normally try and work directly with the online retailer because in general you get the highest rates.

Though I do believe it can be challenging for authors who are outside of the US who do not have a tax ein.


@wannabe how did the upload go? I think I may have to borrow my nephews Mac, not sure if he will let it go.

Amy
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:28 AM   #12
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Hi Mark/Wannabee,
within days it is on sale to the world!!!!!
great second post allabout. looking forward to more. I'll certainly check out your reference.

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@wannabe how did the upload go? I think I may have to borrow my nephews Mac, not sure if he will let it go.

Amy
Amy - those uploads happen in about a month. A little hint about the use of your nephew's Mac. You don't want to borrow it and have to learn a new operating system. The next time you are talking to your nephew ask him why he got a Mac instead of a REGULAR computer. About an hour later, when he stops talking, tell him you would like to see his little gem. (Make sure you have the Apple upload program on a USB drive - or at least your username and passsword to get it when you visit) After he shows you how good his Mac is you could mention that you know a program that only runs on a Mac and have always wondered if it would work for you and would you mind having a look at it for you.....
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Young View Post
Yes, my advice would be to publish through Smashwords. To quote Mark Coker from May 3:

"We've seen a surge in sales at Apple the last few weeks. Not sure why. Although several Smashwords authors have been ripping up the charts over there, this appears to be a broader increase across the entire catalog."

If your book isn't there, you can't take advantage of the sales.
My advice is to stay away from Smashwords. Give the quirks of iBooks and the fact that the ePub you get out of Smashwords is a Word document converted to ePub is not going to fly. The code under the hood is not good and the formatting can be not optimal (what was wanted). So really, unless you can hand tune the code, Smashwords is just going to give a suboptimal real in a lot of cases.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:34 AM   #14
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Yes we have several of our titles listed at Smashwords, thus available through the ibookstore.

However, a number of our ebooks are public domain which means that we cannot post them at Smashwords.

I think that perhaps you guys are right about Apple not actually being concerned about their content but rather about their hardware product.

Amy
Actually, I think it's done this way so Apple can sell more MACs to eBook publishers.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:38 AM   #15
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Actually, I think it's done this way so Apple can sell more MACs to eBook publishers.
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