A Birds-Eye View of iBooks, iBookstore and iTunesProducer

Expert: Claudia Jackson

Dear PC user, if you want to upload your books to the iBookstore, it’s time to find a friend with a MAC (sorry).

The intent of this article is to give you a brief overview of the iTunes Producer application that is available free from Apple. iTunes Producer is used to upload your EPUB file (which you should already have created and is the topic for another blog) to the Apple’s iBookstore. This is where books can be purchased and read on the iPad, iPhone and iPodTouch.

Apple provides two avenues for getting your product, in this case your eBook, to their store (iTunes). The first is an actual “app” (or software application) that contains your eBook. This “app” has been created by a computer programmer and allows the user to read your book with it’s own eBook reader included as either part of the application itself, or perhaps it may be grouped together with a customized eReader “reader” application from a vendor other than Apple. Books that are presented as apps within iTunes usually include multimedia files (i.e., special audio, video, or animation). You will not see these books listed in the iBookstore. They will be available for sale under the apps at iTunes.

The second avenue is the iBookstore. The iBookstore is where most readers will go to shop for your book. Apple provides their own eReader software, called “iBooks.”

iBooks that are published directly to the iBookstore are managed using iTunesConnect, an internet website for authors who publish their books as iBooks. Please note that you must have an iTunes account in order to upload your book to the iBookstore in order to use the iTunes Connect website. Again, sorry PC users, you will need a MAC to play this game.

To login, go to: http://iTunesConnect.Apple.com to either create your publisher account or view your published items. After logging into the account, you will see the above screen. iTunesConnect is the website where books are uploaded, managed and sales are viewed.

It is at this location where you can download the iTunes Producer software. This software is used to upload your EPUB file to iTunes.

Take the time to read through the tutorial and training videos that Apple provides!

Using iTunes Producer

iTunes Producer creates one file with all the information about your book. The prefix of your file name will be your ISBN number and the suffix will be “itmsp.” The file name will be, for example, 9781936670025.itmsp.

After opening the application the screen on the left appears. This is where everything happens. You can upload a new book or Open a Package. iTunes Producer takes all the information about your book (cover, interior, description, ISBN number, pricing, etc.) and packages it into one file and it is that file that will be uploaded.

Continue through the screens and answer the questions about your book, clicking on the “Next” button after each screen.

It is important to note that if you already have your book in print, that Apple will require that information.

Note in the following picture the three “tabs” directly under the file name: “Books, Assets, and Delivery.”

Book – Information about your book.
Assets – The EPUB and Cover file (JPG)
Delivery – The screen where error messages are delivered and the book is uploaded.

The BIG GREEN CHECK means you were successful at uploading your book!

It’s a little confusing, but now you have to exit the iTunes Producer software and return to iTunes connect to see your book waiting in the queue to be published.

Return to the iTunes Connect website. If you have been gone for a while you may have to log in again. The following screen appears. To look at the book you just uploaded, CLICK on MANAGE YOUR BOOKS:

The following screen shows the book that was just uploaded. Notice the little yellow dot? That means that the book is pending. I’ve seen anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks for the book to be approved. Once the book is approved, the yellow “light” is replaced with a green light.

Confused yet? Remember that this was just a brief overview of iTunes Producer. In summary:

• iTunes – Where you go to purchase music and/or books.
• iTunesConnect – An internet website to upload your content.
• iBookstore – The actual store to purchase eBooks.
• iBooks – the software application to read the eBooks.
• iTunes Producer – the software used to package and upload your book to the iBookStore.

The *.itmsp file is going to be automatically saved in a folder called “PlayLists.” If you have to edit your book, you will need to open the iTunes Producer software and open that file.

I hope this provides you with an overview of the pieces and parts that are necessary to publish your book at the iBookstore!

With over 20 years of experience as a corporate computer trainer and consultant, Claudia now works with a Digital Private Press – Telemachus Press who have launched NovelHelp this year as an inexpensive solution. This site offers all of what the do-it-yourselfer needs to know, including hands-on training and step-by-step guides. Follow Claudia – Twitter | Blog

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