I am happy to announce that I have successfully published my first eBook in the iBookstore. It isn't really a "book", rather it is a participant guide for a four-hour workshop. The process itself took longer than expected because I was missing some key information about the process, so I thought I would share the process with you here.
- Sign up for an iTunesconnect account (http://itunesconnect.apple.com). Although this account uses the same credentials as your Apple ID, it is a different account. Also, iTunesconnect seems to only work from SAFARI! When I tried to log in from Chrome, I got errors as if my password is not correct. After many password resets, I realized the problem wasn't my password, it was the wrong browser!
- Typeset the content in iBooks Author. I use Microsoft Word and PowerPoint to author the content as these are the tools that are common to all members of the design and development team. Once the content has been approved as "final", it is then typeset in iBooks Author. Note that there are several free eBooks in the iBookstore on how to use iBooks Author – but check the publication date, as the new version of iBooks Author has many nice new features that make it easier to use.
- Export and test the eBook. I uploaded both the eBook and PDF versions to a website and had several people test both to ensure that the content was ready for publication.
- Publish the eBook using iBooks Author. Apple has done a great job of integrating this workflow into iBooks Author. Once you have finished working through the "publish" function in iBooks author you are redirected to iTunes Procuder.
- Enter meta data and publish in iTunes Producer. Once you have entered in all the necessary meta data (e.g. authors, description, regions), you can click the submit button in iTunes Producer. I found that the select all regions did not work in iTunes Producer. It was better to just select one region (I used Canada), and then after the eBook was in iTunesconnect, add the remaining regions from there.
Then you wait. The issue that I ran into was that I did not know where to check for updates. I had naively assumed that if there was a problem I would get an email. I was wrong! After waiting too long, I finally discovered that I needed to log into "http://itunesconnect.apple.com" using only the SAFARI browser to see the status of my eBook. Of course, once I did log in, I discovered a ticket had been opened again my eBook. I had broken Apple's branding rules and referred to the eBook as an iBook. I had to make that correction throughout my document in order to submit my book. Note that you use "iBooks Authors" to create an "eBook" that can only be read using the "iBooks" app – iBooks Author is not used to create an "iBook". I suspect that a lot of people fall prey to this problem.
After submitting the update and replying to the ticket, I again had to wait. Fortunately the wait was not nearly as bad as I had feared. In each case, the Apple review process was only 2-3 days, not the weeks that I had feared. I can now proudly announce that the eBook is published in the iBookstore, and I am hopeful that this will make it easier for the workshop participants to access the eBook. It is a free eBook, and you can download it from: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/essential-teaching-skills/id608625196?ls=1
In summary, my lessoned learned are:
- Only use Safari browser to access http://itunesconnect.apple.com
- Log into the http://itunesconnect.apple.com website frequently to check the status of the publication process
- Add distribution regions from the iTunes Connect website rather than the iTunes Producer application
- Do not call the thing you are writing an "iBook", it is an "eBook" or "eBook for iPad"