The iBooks Author Gamble

Taking a chance and not liking what I see so far.

iBooks IconIn late February and early March, I spent about 2 weeks porting my existing 242-page iBooks Author book to iBooks Author software for publication as an iBooks 2-compatible interactive (or “enhanced”) ebook.

Moving over the text wasn’t a huge deal — mostly copy and paste, followed by the application of styles I’d created or modified for my custom iBooks Author template. But rather than simply copy and paste the 100+ screenshots that are part of the print, epub, and Kindle format books, I decided to rely on videos to tell the story. So I spent most of that time recording a total of 3 hours of original video content based on the numbered step-by-step instructions in the book. I also used the Gallery widget and created an illustrated Glossary.

The final book turned out to be 150 pages and 1.3 GB in size. And it looked awesome (if I do say so myself) — the perfect example of how a iBooks Author could be used to create how-to content.

The Waiting Begins

Final Count
It took 55 days for this book to be approved by Apple.

I submitted the files to Apple via iTunes Connect on Sunday and began waiting for approval.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday — I spent the week waiting. It’s now Friday and I’m still waiting.

In iTunes Connect, the book’s status remains:

Book In Review. This book is currently being reviewed for quality assurance.

A New Week brings New Developments

Final Count
It took 75 days for this book to be approved by Apple.

I’d already committed to converting my Making Movies book to iBooks Author format. Because the video for that book already existed — I used video clips taken from the example movie — the creation process was much quicker. I figure I put a total of 10 hours into the conversion process. I submitted it today.

And that’s when I discovered two things:

  • Apple no longer allows submissions of books created with iBooks Author 1.0 (or 1.0.1). It requires the latest version, released the other day, iBooks Author 1.1, which includes support for the new iPad. My iBooks Author book was created with the previous version. Is that what’s holding up approval?
  • A warning appeared on screen when I attempted to upload my 233 MB book, telling me that Apple recommends that books be no larger than 200 MB because some users might have trouble downloading a larger book file. My iBooks Author book was considerably larger than this. Is that what’s holding up approval?

Of course, there’s no way of knowing. Apple’s iTunes Connect/iBookstore support is absolutely dismal. If you ask a question, you’re lucky to get a response in less than a week — if you get any response at all. And that response is likely to be “canned” — in other words, boilerplate text possibly chosen at random by the support person who handled your request.

Rejection Could Be Painful

And nagging away at the back of my mind is a blog post by Seth Godin where he reported that his book had been rejected from the iBookstore because it contained links to printed books on Amazon.com.

While my book doesn’t contain any offensive links — at least I don’t think it does — what if Apple decides to reject it because it’s too big? In the wrong format? They don’t like my videos?

All I can think of is the hours and hours of work I put into that edition, possibly wasted on the whim of some reviewer at Apple.

Apple Needs to Get Serious

Today I read a blog post on TUAW about the antitrust lawsuit the U.S. Department of Justice is apparently mounting against Apple. In it was this line:

Apple says that it wants to sell as many ebooks as possible, which is totally believable since the company is still a relative bit player in the ebook market.

From where I sit, I don’t see Apple being very serious about this at all. If Apple were serious, it would have a much better process in place to review and approve iBookstore submissions. After all, you can’t “sell as many ebooks as possible” if dozens or hundreds of them are stalled in the approval process day after day for a week or more. It wouldn’t be rejecting ebooks because it doesn’t like the links they include. And it certainly wouldn’t generate frustration and dissatisfaction among content creators — the people actually creating the books they supposedly want to sell.

Call Me an Idiot

I’ll beat a few of you to the punchline by admitting that I look like an idiot.

Back in January, when everyone was voicing outrage over the iBooks Author EULA, I wrote a blog post that told people they were basically worrying about nothing. In response to concerns about the approval process, I said:

I see Apple’s approval process as a GOOD thing. Right now, there’s nothing stopping anyone from publishing any crap they want as an ebook and distributing through services like Amazon Kindle. This is a far cry from publishing as we’ve known it, where only authors and works approved and edited by an experienced, professional publishing company team would be published. Apple’s review process helps weed out the crap and make its library of content more valuable to iBookstore shoppers. While some folks might be fearful that Apple will not approve their work, I’m not — and you shouldn’t be either. People who can turn out quality work should have nothing to worry about as far as the approval process goes.

Now there is some concern over Apple using this power to censor content. For example, perhaps they refuse to publish a book that says negative things about Apple or its founders. (Remember how they pulled all of a certain publisher’s books out of the Apple Store after they published an unflattering biography of Steve Jobs some years back?) I’m not terribly worried about that, but I do admit that it is a possibility. Obviously, if there are documented examples of Apple not approving something that should be approved, I’d be willing to revisit this point. For now, however, I don’t think it’s an issue.

Yes, I’m an idiot.

I didn’t realize that Apple’s approval process had the potential to be slow and unfair.

I naively assumed that Apple was concerned with quality — after all, isn’t that what’s holding up my book: a quality review? And quality didn’t worry me because I know I can create quality work.

But what if it’s some other criteria that Apple’s reviewers are concerned with? Something other than links to Amazon.com? File size, file format. Or, worse yet, something I can’t fix? And how will I know? When will I know?

Every day that book isn’t in the iBookstore is a day that I — and my partner, Apple — don’t sell any copies.

What to Do?

What’s the right answer? The right approach?

Well, I can tell you one thing for sure: I’m not going to waste another second of my time assembling yet another title in iBooks Author and submitting it to the void via iTunes Connect.

Instead, I’ll wait — as if I have any other option — and see approach. And I’ll use this experience to guide me for future submissions created with iBooks Author.

Got any iBook Author/iBookstore stories you want to share? Comment on this post.

March 19. 2012 Update: It has now been more than two weeks since I submitted my first iBooks Author-created book for approval to the iBookstore. I am still waiting for approval. This is not a good sign, folks. If you’ve already gone through the approval process, please take a moment to tell us how long it took. And if you’re waiting, please let us know how long you’ve been waiting. I’ll update this when (or if?) my book is approved.

March 28, 2012 Update: I finally heard from Apple about the first book I submitted. It had a number of trademark-related issues that needed to be resolved. I wrote about them here.

May 1, 2012 Update: While I was traveling, my iBooks Author book was finally approved. I believe the final count of days until approval was about 55. I removed the count up timer. My Making Movies book has still not been approved. I feel completely idiotic that I actually believed my books would be reviewed within a week.

May 23, 2012 Update: My Making Movies book was finally approved. I believe the final count of days until approved was 75. The last 3 weeks was spent nagging Apple to explain why it was holding back the book for metadata issues without putting a “ticket” on it.

81 thoughts on “The iBooks Author Gamble

  1. I tend to believe that you were NOT an idiot in your previous post regarding the Apple approval process for the iBookstore, for the reasons that you mentioned. However… I do anticipate that there will be some points of frustration, particularly in the beginning months. Keep in mind, as far as the approval process goes, introducing iBooks Author created a nightmare for the iBookstore approval team. If an author had content ready to go from an ePub or Mobi version of their book, iBA enabled a large number of those people to be able to have an .ibooks file ready to submit in fairly short order. You proved that point in creating an iBA enhanced version of your book on iBA in (relatively speaking) no time. I suspect for these first months, the iBookstore approval team is completely swamped with books that were submitted after ridiculously short production schedules.

    Regarding some of the things they are rejecting books for, consider the example of the App approval process in the Apple App store for both Mac OS X and iOS. There have been some positions they have taken on points for rejection, and they have changed policy from back-pressure that they have gotten on some points. There are other points where they have maintained their position, such as rejecting content containing porn. There as been a lot of refinement in the approval process since the App stores first opened. I suspect we will see similar refinement in the iBook approval process since I anticipate a substantial increase in ebook submissions to the iBookstore.

    Yes there have been many stories that have come out in blogs and the news about instances where Apple unfairly rejected Apps for “no good reason”. As an App developer, I followed up on many of them, and I found a large percentage of them turned out to have what I considered good reasons for rejection. The list of situations where Apps truly were rejected for what I would call “stupid reasons”, was a much shorter list.

    I am disappointed to hear that Apple will reject a book for including links to products on Amazon.com, but if the links are to things that Apple is selling in their own stores (such as books), I can’t say that I blame them.

    Since iBA has been introduced, and now since iBA 1.1 has been released, I have been “dissecting” the generated .ibooks files to get a better feel for what they contain, and how they are similar to or different than standard ePub 3.0 format. I am not surprised that they want to keep older formats out of the iBookstore going forward. Given this issue, I would like to see Apple give authors the means to re-submit updated versions of an ebook that is already in the iBookstore. For now, we can only change the information about the book in the store, not the book itself. Then Apple could request that authors re-submit their book, as well as it would allow us to make updates to existing books for a variety of other reasons.

    I am surprised about the 200 MB warning threshold, given the 2 GB limit that I understood was in place. It is going to be very difficult to generate media-rich ebooks that stay below the 200 MB limit, unless we make them very short, and use media very sparingly. I doubt this is something they will be rejecting your book for. I suspect it is just a speed-bump reminder for instances when larger books are being submitted.

    Hang in there, and keep us posted on how things transpire.

    • Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts on this. I feel somewhat encouraged.

      The 200 MB warning shocked and worried me. I’d already noted some sluggishness in my proof file for my big book but never stopped to consider the inability of people to download such a large file.

      But as you said, how can we be expected to create iBooks with multimedia content for less than 200 MB? Especially if we’re expected to create video with the resolutions necessary to take advantage of the new iPad’s screen display? True HD video files are huge. One 1-minute movie could easily put the resulting book over 200 MB.

      The case I mentioned about rejecting an ebook for Amazon.com links related to print books (supposedly). Whether Kindle alternatives and iBookstore alternatives existed was not mentioned in the post. I also suspect that the author formed his links with code from the Amazon Associates program — although he didn’t say so — to take advantage of any commissions on purchases made from the links. That’s what I would have done. So there could actually be two issues here:

      • Links to Amazon.com products that are also available in the iBookstore.
      • Links designed to generate additional revenue for the author.

      Either way, Apple could see this as a potential loss of revenue. I don’t know the pricing on the book, but if it was free, I can clearly see why Apple might want to reject it.

      Is that right? I don’t know.

      I do wish Apple would make it easier to resubmit updated books — rather than forcing publishers to go through the entire approval process all over again. Right now, I can’t even update a book’s description without republishing. There’s something wacky about that.

    • I know what you are talking about regarding the possibility of Amazon Associates income. I deliberately left out addressing that. I really would like Apple to setup some sort of Apple Store Associate program, but some people would argue that doing this, and including such links in our eBools would introduce conflict of intrest issues into our embedded links. I can see the point, but I am not fully bought into that position. It seems to me that the circumstances and how it is done is an important factor. I would be surprised to see someone like Seth Godin doing it in an objectionable way.

      One way or the other, as we become aware of issues that cause iBookstore rejections, and we make them known within the iBookstore publishing community, we then learn where the “land mines” are, and we can take steps to avoid them.

    • There used to be an iTunes store associates program. Is it gone? I signed up but never used it.

      I can definitely imagine someone abusing links — for example, “selling” a free book filled with links with hopes that they’ll be used to buy products. It’s a form of advertising revenue. The next thing that would happen is tha people would include full-blown ads in their books. Surely there must be something n the EULA to prevent that.

      I just wish the approval process went quicker. Waiting this long for a book to appear is making me nuts!

    • I am very curious about your experience with this process. I too am creating a media rich iBook via iBook author. My iBook contains close to 100 photos and 200 web links. Any insight to this process is greatly appreciated. Thanks, and good luck.

  2. I have 10+ books stuck in the approval process (as we are working to convert our existing children DVDs to iBooks) for a month now. Only 4 being approved.

    We are like you, reinvestigate our commitment to iBookstore.

  3. Great article and comments. I’ve just spent a few weeks myself developing an enhanced book using iBooks Author and had just submitted my project a few days ago when I read the article about Seth. Since I had a link to Amazon, but not to a particular book, I had to go back and remove the link and resubmit, which probably pushed me further back in the review process. To add insult to the situation, my iBook is about how to create, publish and market iBooks. I’m very curious to see what they say about the use of their brand, etc. I certainly hope I don’t have to wait for 3 or more weeks, but I’m prepared.

    I’ll check back and keep you all updated.

  4. I’m in the same boat but was a bit more cautious. I just put together a short, 24 page, ibook author, title. So far I’m a, “Two-Weeker,” so at least I know I have at least another week to go. Agreeing with Don Parsons, can I suggest that those that pass or fail the “test” add to this comment stream – and let us know of their experiences. It would help if the, “Not On Store,” reason had some sort of timescale or approval steps that could be updated. At least that would make you feel that you were making some sort of progress. I so hope that a rejection is qualified and not just simple a rejection. If unqualified it will be so, so, painful! I love the software though and relish the possibilities as ibook author evolves. Can’t help but think of Robin Williams, “Golf,” routine when he says, that, “then they add flags to give us hope!”

  5. I just passed the 5 week mark, waiting for review and OK. Very high quality book, validates fine, local well-known (Silicon Valley) author. Cannot find a way to get someone on the phone. Very frustrating.
    Amazon took 2 hours.
    T’aint easy being an eBookmaker.
    Thanks for your fascinating blog. Glad I found it.
    mjf

    • VERY frustrating. I emailed them to complain and got a typical canned response about high number of submissions. Well, Apple, how about adding a high number of reviewers? You got the money. People need jobs. Get to it. Sheesh.

      Be sure to let us know how long it finally takes as well as some details about the book (size and number of interactive features). Thanks!

    • My book did get approved this week, though I did not get an email from iBookstore that it did. Just had to discover it by checking. I hope Apple gets more serious about their full book selling operations. The technology is great (if buggy) but not all the systems are efficient or thought-through. I do fancy that– we can presume–, crappy pubs are not being put up fir sale, and customers will notice that there is some level of quality assurance that one does not get at Amazon. Worth the wait? Maybe so, if the wait was days, not weeks.

    • Congratulations.

      And I agree entirely: the process is far from perfect and has plenty of room for improvement. I think that the maximum wait should be a week and that Apple needs to hire enough reviewers to ensure that the wait doesn’t get that long.

      The only way we’ll discover whether it’s worth the wait is by seeing how well our books sell. I know that if I don’t get at least 10 sales per week per title for the first six months, it’s not worth it. That’s going to be my tipping point.

      Good luck!

  6. I feel your pain. I started a publishing company a year ago and have been selling books on Amazon and BN since then. I have seventeen titles out. In the fall I decided to set up an account with Apple so the iPad folks could have access to my books as well.

    The process of creating an account to publish is insane. I couldn’t believe the number of hoops I had to jump through. When I finally got the application completed and submitted I discovered there was no confirmation email that it had been received. There was no status listed either. I had no way of knowing if they got it, how long it takes for approval, or who to contact with questions. It wound up taking over a month with zero contact from Apple at any point in time. I had written them off after a week.

    So after getting approved and entering in all the account junk I go to download their iTunes Producer software so I can upload my books and guess what–the software only runs on Mac. After a couple days of searching I realized that yes, Apple is actually that stupid. I shelved the idea for six months.

    I recently decided to cave in and buy a used Mac for the sole purpose of uploading books to Apple. I look at the system requirements for Itunes Producer 2.5.1 and buy a Mac on Ebay that meets those requirements (G4, 512MB, OS/X 10.5.8). I get the computer, download Itunes producer, click install, and get the message “Cannot be installed on this computer.”

    Turns out that, in the two weeks it took for me to order and receive the Mac, Apple had “updated” ITunes Producer to version 2.6, which requires OS/X 10.6. No big deal I say, I’ll update to OS/X 10.6. Nope. 10.6 requires an Intel Processor. I was stuck.

    I decided I would just track down the previous version of iTunes Producer and install that. Ha ha. As far as Apple was concerned no previous version exists or has ever existed. There are no download links for old versions and there isn’t even a version history listing old version numbers or what has changed. There also is no way to contact anyone from Apple. And I’m sure if there was I wouldn’t get a response for weeks.

    I scour the web. There is no version history anywhere. There are no links to download Itunes Producer 2.5.1 anywhere. At this point I’m fuming. I give up.

    Yesterday I decide to do more poking around. I go to the iTunes Producer download page in iTunes Connect and look where the link points. I pasted the link in a new window and started fiddling with the numbers. I discovered that if I manually put the version I wanted in place of the “2.6” in the download link itself it would download the older version. I tested this out on every version number I could think of and it worked. I had to test it only on ones I could think of because there was no version history anywhere to go off of. In any event, I downloaded the old 2.5.8, ran the file, was overjoyed when the system requirement screen came up saying exactly what I remember it being two weeks earlier. I install the software and upload my first book (through that annoying process). Now my book is in the same Quality Assurance holding pattern. Ha!

    So I thwarted Apple’s evil plot to trick publishers into buying new Macs and paying for O/S upgrades. And if they realize I’m on to them and pull down the old versions completely I’m already one step ahead as I’ve downloaded every version of iTunes Producer that I could guess the version number of.

    I don’t know how Apple got so big if they conduct business in this manner. Between their price-fixing scheme with major publishers, Chinese labor issues, and now this “force users to buy new hardware by not acknowledging older software exists” thing I believe the biggest company on the planet may not be quite as benevolent as people think.

    Anyhow, I wish you the best of luck in getting approval and I hope mine doesn’t take weeks. I just uploaded the one as a test and didn’t intend to do the other sixteen books until I confirmed the one was approved.

    BTW, if anyone needs the links to previous versions of iTunes Producer you can just follow my tip above or check out the “I want to take a bite out of Apple” thread over in the MobileRead forums. If Apple takes the old versions down now that an actual hyperlink and an unfavorable post exist then just let me know as I have installs for versions 2.0-2.6.

    • Evil plot? I don’t think so. Just good business. They’re in business to sell Macs, Mac OS, and iOS devices — not books.

      If your book doesn’t appeal to the average Mac user, you probably won’t sell many copies in the iBookstore anyway. I’m a huge Mac fan and do all my reading on an iPad. But my first choice of ebook platform is Kindle. So I buy on Amazon.com and read it in the Kindle app on my iPad. And other than my iBooks Author title — which will obviously appeal to Mac users rather than PC users because iBooks Author only runs on Mac OS — my books sell better on Amazon.com, too.

      So maybe what I’m saying is that you went through all that bother and expense and may not see enough benefit to make it worthwhile. I guess you’ll find out. Good luck.

    • My aim is to make them available on the major platforms. I don’t really care if they sell. I do Large Print editions of my PoD books even though only one has sold in the last six months. ;)

      90% of what I publish I didn’t write myself so I’m sure at least some of my stuff will entertain a few iPad readers.

      Regarding Apple, in my opinion it is unacceptable for the largest company in the world to be so unreachable, so unhelpful, and so uninformative. All I want at this point is some sort of status and expectation of turnaround. I have seventeen books to put up and I don’t want to waste my time if Apple spends two months in Quality Assurance and then rejects the book I already submitted because they don’t like the margins or something.

      I think the largest company in the world can afford to implement a better system than they have. I think they can afford to have someone whip up a version history for an Apple software application and post it on the site. And I think that if there are people out there successfully using Itunes Publisher 2.5.1 to upload books it is blatantly underhanded for Apple to sweep that version under the rug and act like it never existed in the first place.

  7. WOW, thanks for the information. I just sent two books 2 days ago and I was checking everyday to see if they were approved. I will let you know how many days will take, I hope less than 3 weeks.

    • Please do. It would be interesting for us all to compare notes. When you tell us how long, be sure to give some info about the book such as size and interactive features included. I’m thinking that 3 hours of video (in mine) is probably part of the holdup.

  8. Dear Maria,

    First, thanks for your helpful book on how to make an iBook Author book. I’ve referred to it many times in the past weeks. But now I’m stuck in an Apple loop. Though I’ve filled out the seller’s application, I can’t get to iTunes Connect to get the Producer software. Apple support has told me I need to register as a developer (your book didn’t mention that step). The support fellow also sent me to an Apple Developer site that turned out to be a phishing site.

    At this point, I think I’d be thrilled just to get to the point where I could submit the book and wait for approval. I’m a fairly new Mac/iPad user and regretting it.

    Any tips, anyone, on how long it takes Apple to approve the seller (“Paid Books”) application?

  9. Thanks for posting this info. It’s almost impossible to find info on the web about how long it takes to get books approved. I have two waiting right now. It has been more than two weeks and it sounds like I’ll be waiting for a few more weeks according to everyone else’s experience :( I agree with others that Apple REALLY needs a better approval system. Or, at least better status information. It was very difficult for me to know if I submitted the book correctly or if Apple even received the files. Frustrating.

    Good luck everyone.

  10. I won’t be publishing to the iBookstore a second time, not unless Apple publicly makes known to content partners that it’s sorry and has got its act together – which is frankly unlikely because the company shows no desire so far to even indulge in basic two-way communication.

    My book, Chickens As Pets, was first created using iBooks Author and then I made an edition for Smashwords and Amazon. They’ve been for sale now almost a month, while the iBookstore interactive edition is still languishing as ‘not for sale in 32 stores’ with no tickets to respond to. Out of three emails I’ve sent so far, only the third got a reply and it was a stock response in which Apple asked for patience but offered no apology.

    I have people lined up waiting for this edition and the situation is deplorable. I simply don’t want to put myself through this experience again. Apple’s focus was the creative software without putting into place a human, resourceful infrastructure to deal with submissions. No matter how fantastic iBooks Author is, it’s no good to me if I can’t monetise my work quickly and efficiently once completed.

    Most irritating is the fact that I could’ve agreed to Amazon’s exclusivity deal but I didn’t, thinking the iBookstore interactive edition would soon be out. Easter is almost here, I hoped to do some promotional activity around the holiday but with no product available through Apple I lose out. Again.

    • I absolutely feel your pain. I’d love to author a few more short books in the iBooks Author format, but at this point, it seems like such a waste of time. It’s been four weeks for one of my titles and other than two problem “tickets” last week, it’s still in limbo. Nothing at all on the second book submitted a few days later.

      You did the right thing to put your book in other formats in other markets. At least you’re getting sales from that. But don’t be lured by the Amazon.com exclusive deal. I went that way on one of my books and it was a complete disaster from the get-go. I blogged about it here and elsewhere on this blog. You might want to read about what I experienced before locking your book up for three months.

      And it is a shame your book might not be out until after Easter. I used to have chickens and loved them. So much fun; great eggs! I travel too much to have animals these days, but someday I’ll have them again.

      Good luck with your book.

    • Maria, hi

      Thank you for your reply. I read your post about KDP Select with a growing sense of horror as I moved down the page! That’s easily as dispiriting an experience as that so many of us are dealing with right now thanks to Apple.

      I find it quite astonishing that Apple doesn’t appear to have staff working on clearing the book queue through weekends; from what I can gather, it’s ‘working days only’ that count. I’ve yet to hear of anyone getting a book approved on Saturdays or Sundays.

      I am now praying for my book to get into the iBookstore before Good Friday and I might seriously blow a fuse if they come back after a month with things they want ‘corrected’. It’s this complete ‘cast yourself upon the mercy of the corporate wolves’ aspect of publishing via Amazon and Apple that really does my head in. You just cannot predict what might be disliked about a book, whether making a requested edit might compromise your views on censorship and freedom, and so on and so forth. I really think we are still in the early days of e-publishing, so I very much hope these companies grow up – and if they don’t, that legislators start tackling their contemptuous behaviours.

    • Our biggest challenge is getting our books into retail outlets. That has always been the challenge faced by authors and publishers. Right now, anyone can publish in a format that many people can read. The trick is getting our books into a place where these people can find them.

      That’s where Amazon.com, Apple, and BN.com come in. They’re the retailers. And, as usual, we’re at their mercy. In the old days, authors would compete against other authors to get one of a limited number of book contracts available with a publisher. There were always plenty of authors so publishers could pick and choose as desired. Nowadays, it’s authors/publishers trying to get our work directly into the retail market. There’s no real competition — they can carry the work for an unlimited number of authors/publishers. And there seems to be an unlimited number of us out there. That’s why they don’t really care if one of us gets pissed off and refuses to submit to them. There are plenty more of us out there.

      Amazon’s problem is a crappy deal for authors/publishers. Apple’s problem is their ridiculous approval process. Barnes and Noble’s problem is their 20 MB max file size and the simple fact that few people buy ebooks there.

      But what can we do? Without these retail outlets, we cannot sell as many copies of our work. Just like in the old days — a self-published author could not be expected to sell many copies of a work without the help of a tradition publisher’s huge marketing machine.

    • This may seem simplistic at first glance, and perhaps it is, but I’ll say it anyway. While we cannot immediately ignore the power of those retail giants, we can take back some of our own. How? By developing our own online locations that we place our works on, share, and market together. I was able to get onto the first and second pages of Google and Youtube with the keywords ibooks author tutorial and ibooks author private distribution. So what? Well, with a litte tweaking here and there we could band together and market our works on a few community-based, author-led websites that get great rankings and generate a lot of traffic. At least, this could empower some authors, and provide real potential source of readers. Has anyone tried Google Play and their ebook service? Thanks.

    • This is certainly worth a try — if you have nothing better to do with your time. Personally, I’d rather spend my time creating new content than trying to compete with Amazon.com as a book seller.

      Frankly, I don’t expect to be able to sell nearly as many copies of my ebooks myself as I can through Amazon/Apple/BN. Why? Well, when I need to buy a book I search Amazon.com. I don’t search the entire Internet. And I tend to believe that most people do pretty much the same thing — they go to a bookstore when they want to buy a book.

      I’m not familiar with Google Play at all. Maybe someone else here is?

    • I just checked out Google books and I think you’re right: it’s worth a try. I’m not sure, however, if there’s a way to actually track the traffic that comes from Google books to buy my book. But I don’t think that would hold me back.

      Part of book marketing is building name recognition. If people know about your books and like them, they’re more likely to look for your next book. I think that’s why a lot of people are “selling” their books for free in various book retail outlets. I’m fortunate in that I already have a certain amount of name recognition from my other published work. My books are selling remarkably well on Amazon.com and in the Apple iBook store.

      I’m not sure how many people use Google books to look for books. Google is a company that throws out a lot of test programs and when they don’t gain support, the programs fade away. Google doesn’t really promote its programs the way it should if were really serious about them. But, at the same time, I realize that it doesn’t hurt to give it a try, especially since it doesn’t seem like it would take very much effort on my part.

      Thanks for the tip!

    • Yes, you are correct. Great perspective. Amazon is awesome. If Google play has staying power it would be because their products would likely show up well in Google search results. This would be an excellent draw for authors.

  11. Maria,
    Many thanks for the tips to my March 29 post above. Turns out that Apple sent me a form that night, asking for feedback about the Apple Support person who sent me to the phishing site, erroneously told me I needed to register as a Developer, and suggested I change my Apple ID (and ended the telephone call with a cheery “Try to have a nice day!”)

    Within two hours of sending back the feedback form, my iTunes Connect account was approved (I’d like to think someone was horrified by all that bad advice and felt sorry for me). Before uploading with Producer, I took out an audio widget because the software apparently rejects the required ACC files (buggy software, according to other iBooks Author submitters who know a lot more about audio files than I do) and uploaded. That was April 4. I’ll skip over the “unknown issue” hurdle I jumped. Now I’m in the same holding pattern as everyone else on this blog: waiting out the review process.

    Apple seems to be creating policy for iBooks Author as it goes along. Some of you may be keeping up with posts on this Apple discussion forum. If not, it’s worth a look: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3735795?start=165&tstart=0

    One poor fellow waited two months before receiving the following rejection notice from Apple: “Books must be of sufficient length or functionality. We encourage you to review your book concept and evaluate whether you can incorporate additional functionality, content, or both to enhance the user experience.” Who exactly is evaluating concept, functionality, and content, I wonder. The process seems to be the equivalent of waiting to hear back from a traditional publisher who hires young people to wade through slush piles and spot a viable, sellable manuscript.

    I don’t blame Apple for wanting quality books in their bookstore, but they should have informed users of iBooks Author software from the get-go that they would be acting as editors. And if Apple wants to showcase functionality, why use buggy software that won’t accept ACC files? Why give a 2 g limit, then lower the limit, as you’ve mentioned before? Why advise people to use only landscape view by disabling the portrait view, then send error messages that portrait view must be enabled . . .

    Thanks to all who post here. It’s a relief to know I’m not the only one caught in the cogs of the Apple machine.

  12. Well my book finally got reviewed by Apple, just over six weeks after I submitted it. On the plus side, no major edits were demanded nor did I get insubstantial, unhelpful comments like some other authors. On the downside I was pulled up on two things – both references to ‘iBook’ when Apple doesn’t allow the use of the term other than in the plural, ‘iBooks’.

    This is patently stupid. A book created using iBooks Author is, logically to all content creators but not Apple, is an iBook – it has specific-to-iPad functionality. However, the Great Apple Branding Gods have spoken and they shall ne’er be moved – and so I made the edits, removing any ‘i’ references rather than rewrite to use the plural, which would have made no sense at all in context.

    It took me four minutes to do the edits. I then had to upload the book again. Having done that, I knew enough by now of Apple’s nonsense to check my iTunes Connect account. Funnily enough, there was a message there – but no email sent to me – asking me to contact Apple to notify them when I’d uploaded the revision.

    Had I not checked iTunes Connect, I wouldn’t have known that the system didn’t automatically notify and would have just kept on waiting. As is, I sent them the required email.

    I do not know if this means my book is now at the back of the queue again, with another wait of six weeks or longer, or if it means it’s in a different queue now, one composed of books already reviewed but awaiting the checking of amendments. The latter would make sense, so I am inclined to think it’s probably the former which is the actual truth. Not that any of us will get to know.

    It is so demoralising and I am sick of it. I only hope when I finally get my book onto the iBookstore it actually sells enough copies to make my investment of time and energy in producing a quality publication worthwhile.

  13. I’m glad I read the article as my ibook is all about iBook Publishing & Marketing. So you can imagine how many references I had to “ibook”. Though I had heard back from Apple 7 days ago regarding using “iBook” on my cover and in my description, which I corrected and resubmitted, I decided to change ALL references, thus causing another delay. Unfortunately, I had to change the references to “ebook” which defeats the purpose of my book, and impacts SEO at least inside the ibookstore. Thanks for the updates fellow iBook Authors.

  14. I thought I’d add my story to the saga. I’ve had really good sales with my books on Kindle so when I found out about iBook Author I decided to try the iBook market. I had to buy a used Macbook Pro and an iPad and then upgrade the OS on the Macbook. It took about ten days of many hours per day to convert my first book to take advantage of the multimedia options of iBook Author. I submitted it on March 31st and have waited three weeks so far with it still be evaluated. I have a second book awaiting as well, but will not be converting my other five in the series to iBooks until at least one is approved. I got my business account in about three days, by the way.

    • Just got the notice from Apple and a ticket for my issue. Wish I had seen this forum prior to my submission. It is true that even a single book cannot be called an “iBook”. I have to remove the term and use “iBooks” or some generic ebola term instead. It took over three weeks to even get rejected. I will update you as to the progress when I submit my corrected copy.

  15. My love of all things Apple is being curdled like sour milk. Wrote again today to ask about my book stuck in review like so many others and basically got a ‘we don’t care a fig about any of our content providers, suck it and wait’ response. Disgusting. I won’t publish to the Apple iBookstore again, until such time if ever they stop being such an amateur operation. How they can be so when Apple is the world’s richest company is beyond me… But treat your content providers with contempt at your peril! I guarantee the iBookstore will fail if this behaviour towards publishers and authors continues.

    Apple, I say, without content for your damn iBookstore, it is nothing. NOTHING! Professionals will turn their backs, leaving only poor quality guff for Apple to treat like this.

    I’m also stunned by the self-censoring Apple fan sites that only report positive news and have so far failed to pick up on what I consider to be a HUGE story deserving of wider reporting.

  16. Update: My submission was made March 05, 2012 and when I checked today (April 25th) the book appears to be live on all the stores. It could have gone live any time in the last week because I had stopped my daily check long ago and it’s not like Apple sends you an email or anything…

    Anyway, we’ll see if it’s worth it. I’ve got 17 other books I could sell through Apple as well but the process is such a headache I think I’ll need to see at least a couple sales before I bother.

    Good luck to everyone else with their submissions. Mine spent 50 days in “quality assurance.”

    • Congratulations on your book finally appearing. Good luck with it and thanks for keeping us in the loop.

      I suppose I should check mine again now…I just get so damn frustrated that I’ve been avoiding it, just to keep my blood pressure in check.

  17. Maria, hi

    Thank you for your comment on my book’s website, posted on my own venting of our shared frustrations.

    As well as thanking you, I wanted to let you know I’ve replied to you on there and have updated the blog entry you commented on with the news that my book, Chickens As Pets, has at last gone live on the iBookstore.

    It took a total of eight weeks and three days.

    http://chickensaspets.uk.com/chickens-as-pets-and-the-ibookstore-delay/

  18. Two weeks from the last, third revision. Same error message, really. “Books must be of sufficient length…..” They are not helpful. What are the standards?

    I put up a couple of blog posts already moaning about this whole process which is in it’s eighth week now of back and forth. My first two submissions were up within two weeks. Something seems to have changed, and I sure don’t know what that is.

    Thanks for the space to let me vent.

    • Vent away, Doug. It’s mind-bogglingly frustrating. I’m still waiting for one of my iBooks Author-generated books to appear online. It’s only been about 2-1/2 MONTHS since I submitted it.

  19. My first iBook Author title is now on the iTunes store!! The title is, “Labyrinths” if anyone is interested. The whole approval process took about 2 months but the main delay was to do with horizontal and vertical display formats. If I had selected the option, “horizontal only,” then the approval turn-around might have only been four or five weeks. I now know how to format correctly and can be realistic about Apple’s approval turn around. So, next step is to convert other books in my Geometry Through Time series. All the best to everyone and, “watch your formats,” also keep a close eye on iTunes Connect and your Ticket History.

    • Congratulations! I’ve just sent yet ANOTHER email to the iBookstore asking what’s going on with my book. It gets my blood pressure up every time.

      Best of luck on your book!

  20. I’m sorry. I can’t stop laughing about what you said here: “A warning appeared on screen when I attempted to upload my 233 MB book, telling me that Apple recommends that books be no larger than 200 MB because some users might have trouble downloading a larger book file.”

    This warning…coming from the same company that forces a 4GB download on all customers who want to stay up to date with OS X Lion…is so funny I’m afraid I might die laughing.

    I live out in the country. Slow DSL. Took me 7 hours to download 10.7.4 the other day. Ha ha ha…ho ho ho…hee hee hee.

    • The irony wasn’t lost on me, either. I’m in an even worse boat with Lion updates — I’m accessing the Internet this summer via a 3G hotspot connection on my iPad. I’m paying $50 for 5GB of data each month; that most recent update would likely have taken more than 24 hours and use up all my data!

      Here’s what I did; you might be able to do the same. I have a Mac laptop that’s also running Lion. I ran software update to see what updates were available on my desktop and laptop, but didn’t download any of them. Then I took my laptop to a coffee shop I like that has very fast Internet and used my browser to visit http://support.apple.com/downloads. I manually downloaded the updates — including the Lion Combo Update — that I needed while I enjoyed a nice breakfast with coffee. Then I went back to my trailer (where I’m living for the summer), copied the update to my desktop Mac with AirDrop, and ran it on both computers. I do a lot of file transfer work from coffee shops and restaurants.

      Going back to iBooks Author, however, what bugged me is that Apple gave us a tool to create interactive ebooks and encouraged us to include video. Then they warn us about uploading a book that includes video? Because let’s be serious here: how can you possibly include video in a book without pumping up the file size? Especially the high-def video that’ll take advantage of the iPad’s new Retina Display? Sheesh!

    • Maria,

      Good advice about going to a coffee shop. And I’m going to try that in the near future with my MacBook when I decide to download the new versions of Photoshop, etc. through the Adobe Creative Cloud I signed up for.

      One problem I’ve had with the coffee shop idea though is that when I tried this a few years ago, trying to download a relatively large file, the “high-speed” wi-fi was not really all that fast, and it took me forever. Maybe too many other people in their using the same network, I don’t know.

      I’m not a coffee-shop kinda guy, and also I felt guilty sitting there for so long, so I kept buying more and more coffee drinks and pieces of cake, and so not only did I get a lot of weird looks from the staff, but I was half sick from over-eating.

      Got a big download finished, and gained five pounds all in one afternoon.

    • A few things:

      First, it doesn’t have to be a coffee shop. It could be any kind of restaurant or other place where there’s high speed Internet and a reason to hang around. It could even be a library.

      Second, it takes time to find a place with consistently high speed access. Normally, it’s a place with a password-protected hotspot. You get the password by asking for it. Open networks are often accessed by far more people and can be a lot slower.

      Third, I’m not suggesting that you do all of your Internet work there. I’m suggesting that you go in, order your coffee/breakfast/lunch/whatever, and get the download started as soon as possible. Then finish up and get out.

      I make this part of my weekly routine, having breakfast at a coffee shop I know while downloading the software updates I need. This isn’t a Starbucks — it’s a neighborhood breakfast/lunch spot where they now know me very well — and know that it’s their WiFi that brings me there. But I play the game by reasonable rules: I always spend between $5 and $10, I seldom stay more than 45 minutes, and I usually come at a slow time of day when there are plenty of seats available. And no, I don’t usually plug in.

    • Yes, I know it doesn’t have to be a coffee shop…I was merely using those words as a generic term for a place that has wi-fi for customer use. And I know you weren’t suggesting I do all my Internet work at a coffee shop.

      My point was that it’s not always easy and simple to download 4GB files at these places … and I’m not happy with Apple for forcing this on us … as if we all have super downloading speed available out here in the hinterlands. The big downloads from the Adobe Creative Cloud … I don’t have a problem with that … it was my choice to sign up for that method … it’s not forced on me the way I am pretty much forced into these huge downloads with OS X Lion.

    • You’re right: it’s not convenient. I’m just suggesting a workaround that works for me.

      Interesting how you make a distinction between Adobe’s Cloud and Apple, though. Perhaps you need to keep in mind that Apple’s not “forcing” downloads on anyone. You’re not required to update your OS at all. You have a choice when it comes to cloud computing. I’ve chosen to minimize my use of the cloud to save time and money and keep my data close to home.

  21. I initially looked at iBook author for producing what we term as hybrid books, but after extensive testing we chose 2 other routes, fixed layout built using traditional XHTML skills and dreamweaver, and for the more elaborate solutions mag plus/ adobe DPS, which although expensive can deliver a better ROI than simply through apple iBooks store. I think the future though lies in ePub 3 and will eventually fill that middle ground that is currently missing.. Does apple still take a 30% share of your profit, even after that long approval time?

    • Of course it still charges 30%. Why wouldn’t it? The deal hasn’t changed.

      I don’t think Apple’s 30% cut is a bad deal, either, considering the cost of publishing — ZERO — and the fact that Amazon.com nickles and dimes publishers, as I discussed in some detail here: https://www.aneclecticmind.com/2012/03/10/a-objective-comparison-of-ebook-distributors/

      I looked into the Adobe solution and was shocked by the per title cost for publishing. If a book doesn’t sell, the potential monetary losses can be staggering. If a book doesn’t sell on the iBookstore (or Kindle bookstore or NOOK bookstore), the monetary losses are ZERO; the only loss is time wasted. With an uncertain audience, I wasn’t willing to take that risk. I’m VERY happy with the percentage offered by Apple and BN.com. Amazon, however, needs to stop using monopolistic practices to screw the publishers.

    • Agree with Maria. Many authors are lucky to see a single-figure percentage from traditional book sales. My own iBooks edition of Chickens As Pets is doing very well, I think. I read many complaints of poor sales but invariably too many authors seem to assume they happen by magic. They don’t, they require constant promotions and in my case that includes social network accounts, a showcase website, an email newsletter, answering questions and running competitions to win free copies and other goodies in association with chicken product makers I’ve contacted. And I’ve even got my local animal feed supplier to kindly stock some leaflets. I’m making personal appearances at related events when I can and frankly haven’t had any time to finish my novel because promotion is 99% of the work on this current project. I’ve been offered a deal by a publisher to distribute a print edition too, thanks to my work on pushing the book via Facebook. Plus, all this has so far not only generated sales but I repeatedly ask people who’ve bought the book if they’d be so kind as to head back to the iBookstore (and Amazon, where a standard ePub edition is for sale) and leave reviews. Enough have done so to provide credibility and all are five-star so far, for which I publicly express my very real gratitude. So I don’t mind Apple’s 30% at all – not when 70% is coming to me as reward for not only writing the book but building a brand identity around it and working to increase my own credibility and engagement with readers every single day, including weekends. We get out what we put in, at every stage. x

    • Funny, but just yesterday I was looking at the sample of your book that I downloaded a while back. It’s a really good book; a great example of how iBooks Author can be used to present content. A friend was visiting and she mentioned how she was sad that books were dying. I agreed, but then said, “Paper books may be dying, but look what we’re getting instead!” And then I showed her three iBooks Author-generated books, including the sample of yours. She was amazed.

      I think we need to keep creating this amazing, multi-media content. It’s just so rewarding when we can show people what’s possible and get them as enthusiastic about it as we are.

  22. I am new to the iBooks Author world, just submitted my first “iBooks iBook” today, now waiting. In the meantime, can someone tell me how to submit to Amazon for the Kindle? Does the book have to be completely rebuilt in another program? InDesign? Pages?

    • Amazon accepts books in mobi format. You’ll need to create it in another program and save it out as mobi or as ePub to convert to mobi. I use InDesign, but there are other tools that’ll do the job. Good luck!

  23. Hi again Maria, thought I’d report back and let you know my overall iBooks Author experience to date. I’m getting modest sales for Chickens As Pets in its interactive edition but nowhere near as good as I am getting through Amazon. I’m just working to get a follow-up, Raising Chickens Indoors, onto the iBookstore and then I’m giving up on both iBooks Author and Apple. The Kindle edition, needless to say, has been available on Amazon for several weeks.

    I thought you might like to read about my latest publishing experience that has completely killed my interest in the iBooks format and distributing via Apple:

    http://spicycauldron.com/2012/09/13/im-not-going-to-publish-new-books-to-apples-ibookstore-and-heres-why/

    I’m going to keep what’s on the iBookstore going – no point removing, I do make some money from there – but nothing new is going to pass through Apple’s gilded doors from now on.

    • I’ve actually done VERY well with my iBooks Author book about iBooks Author. When it finally got online, it sold like crazy. I’m eager to create new titles, but have been bogged down with other stuff lately.

      I agree though: for books that aren’t about iPad-related stuff, Amazon is better.

    • Hi Maria,

      Good to read your reply. Yes, my iBook format books sell well but nowhere near the same volume as I get through Amazon. It’s a shame, really, because my iBooks format books were labours of love in design terms as well as text. However, time is a resource and I’m finding I prefer the hassle-free process with Amazon. Apple has enough money to invest and make things better but seems very slow to respond to the criticisms and frustrations of many. x

  24. Maria’s May 30 comment says it all. Look at what iBooks Author can do!

    Though I’ve written nineteen well-edited (that’s a key word for self-published authors such as Andrew to remember–EVERYONE need a professional editor, and sorry, one’s family and friends do not qualify) books with major publishers, I chose the IBA interactive format because I thought my subject matter–the Irish famine immigrants who built the famed Virginia Blue Ridge Tunnel–deserved the best I could give them.

    The book includes a media opening so that readers can see the tunnel, which is inaccessible because of trespassing laws. The end of the book includes a scrolling list of the people who died building the tunnel, accompanied by appropriate music. No tradtional book can give this immersive experience to readers.

    You can hear me explain my choice here: http://wmra.org/post/historic-blue-ridge-tunnel-ibook.

    Andrew’s insistence that he would never let a publisher sell his books on the iBookstore is a lost cause. Simon & Schuster published my best selling title as ebook in the iBookstore against my express wishes that they could only do if they told me the royalty rate. They didn’t tell me the rate and did it anyway.

    Imagine my surprise to see it for sale on the same iBookstore page as my IBA book when Apple accepted it in May. But you know what? I was glad to see it there, after all. It’s proof to the reading public that my writing has been vetted by professionals.

    The problem with Apple is not that they take so long to approve the books we submit. The problem is that Apple’s IBA staff are not professional editors–a skill that takes years of experience. Yes, they can weed out the drek, but that’s like saying that someone who takes your blood sample is a surgeon. They simply are not qualified to judget the literary merit of a text.

    Andrew states on his blog that Apple does not love books. If he really loves books, he will take himself to the nearest bookstore he can find and actually buy a book, thus supporting writers, and, yes, publishers, who must make money to survive and pay professional, trained editors.

    • Mary, I find your response both rude and presumptuous. First of all, I’ve got books everywhere of the paper kind. I support independent bookshops and independent publishers and independent authors. I don’t need you telling me to go to a darn bookstore. Furthermore, I see you making points and then addressing the criticisms you think those points will get before they’ve been criticised! I’ve worked as a copywriter and editor for over 16 years, so don’t tell me friends and family won’t do. I know that. You make some good points where Apple’s vetting process is concerned but I’m afraid your attitude towards me and anyone who doesn’t follow the traditional publishing route is a disincentive to reasonable discussion. You view the self-published as lacking in professionalism and, well, that’s your prejudice to own and propagate as you like. My view of Apple is, unsurprisingly, unchanged after your intervention. I’d have thought after writing your nineteen books, you’d know how to craft a comment on a blog without resorting to insulting me individually with your assumptions and many other authors as well, for having the audacity to do things differently to you. Try going at it a bit gentler and with some grace next time, or do you always wear boxing gloves when you engage with people in the digital arena?

    • Is this an attack on Andrew and other authors who self-publish ebooks? I didn’t think so at first, but now I’m wondering. Care to explain your motivations, Mary?

    • Maria,

      As long as you’ve asked the question, I’ll take the bait and answer…not for Mary, but for myself

      I didn’t read Mary’s post as an attack on Andrew or anyone else.

      And I was surprised to see Andrew ripping into Mary – describing her post as “rude,” “presumptuous,” and “insulting.” Wow…kinda shocking, actually. Did he get up on the wrong side of the bed or something?

      OK, we can all be thin-skinned at times – I’m that way myself sometimes – and it seems to me that’s where Andrew is right now. It makes me think that the points Mary made must have hit close to home for Andrew.

      My reading of Mary’s post is that she said some things that needed to be said – especially the part about everyone needing an editor and that family and friends just can’t do the job. She is so right about that, and Andrew’s insistence that she is wrong tells me (as an editor for over 20 years) that he has a lot to learn about publishing. Friends and family absolutely cannot edit your book.

      Most editors, just as most agents these days have “had it up to here” with authors who submit first drafts as finished books and finished articles – and who have had their mother or best friend read through and “edit” their work. We see this all the time, and it gets really old after awhile.

      It would help many writers if they would read what Mary said as helpful – and see if what she’s said might apply to them – rather than seeing what she wrote as an “attack.”

      And no…I am not Mary’s mother, brother, or friend… ha ha ha.

    • Mary, what about those who do get professional edits and are rejected by the ‘non professional’ IBA review staff? They should really be testing for technical quality, e.g. broken links, broken media, etc. vs. content.

  25. Maria,

    My apologies. I clicked on the link you posted to Andrew’s blog, read it, was annoyed by the overwrought venting, then responded on your blog. I should have responded directly to him on his blog and will, therefore, ignore the comments he has posted about me above.

    No, I’m not attacking self-published e-books. I’ve recently published an IBooks Author title myself. I’m right there in this chaotic revolution with everyone else–and, believe me, there are people in my bookish circle of colleagues who have turned up their noses at my self-published IBA title.

    My traditionally published books and my one self-published books allow me to wear two hats and, perhaps, see nuances about editing, editors, and traditional publishers that some writers might not be aware of.

    I’ll say it again and hope it comes across with the right tone this time. Everyone needs a professional editor. Did I have just the right one for my iBooks Author book? No. I couldn’t afford the person I wanted. Simon & Schuster laid her off four years ago. She has started her own editing and consulting business, and good for her! But she charges $200 an hour.

    So, I did the best I could on my own and with the help of brilliant, learned, but unpublished friends. I’ve taught writing at the university level and have tons of experience self-editing and revising my books–the first step before submitting a manuscript.

    Still, I am certain that my iBooks Author book would have been improved by a professional’s eye (though
    not every editor who works for a traditional publisher does high quality work–which is why Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel prize for literature, once said that she hires her own editors).

    Yes, Apple is a terrible communicator. Yes, I thought I would lose my mind waiting for them to put the book up for sale in the iBookstore. But they’re not publishers, they’re not editors in the true sense, and they’re not supposed to love books.

    Well, sorry again . . . I’m straying into Andrew’s blog territory.

    Mary

  26. I used iBooks author and was amazed that my book was approved and in iTunes in less than 48 hours… BUT I didn’t realize iBooks author only allowed iPad format and I wanted it on all iOS devices. So I pulled my .iba file and uploaded an ePub version via pages and am now at hour 44 with no update on the resubmitted book. Will keep you posted.

  27. I’ve published 4 non-fiction books (the old fashioned way) and am still receiving royalties on them after 40 years. This month I decided to publish a novel I had written on iBooks. Big mistake! I bookstore is a blackhole. The only way you will see your book is to type in the title. It will never show up if you look in its category and type in “New” and then “See all.” If nobody knows that your book exists, then it doesn’t exist. The Service staff was useless. I expected them to say, “Coffee, tea, or milk,” at any time.

    • I don’t think ebook publishing is good for fiction UNLESS you are able to market the book and get the word out about it. But non-fiction is different; more likely to show up in search results because of topical searches.

      Good luck to you!

  28. Wow! I’ve been waiting for just 3 days for my sample book to get approved. This comes as a shock to me because on their welcome screen, they say:

    Book Review Status

    We review 95 percent of all book submissions within one business day.

    Not cool Apple, not cool.

  29. I have just completed an interactive series of video recipe books which are 2.5 gigabytes each in size, so I can see that I have no hope in having these approved by Apple, so I also now feel like an idiot, it`s a pity as these books have received excellent feedback form those who I gave evaluation copies to for their iPads. Any ideas on how I could distribute books of this size would be appreciated. I can understand certain restraints and controls are necessary but these days some builds hurdles you just can’t jump.

    • My iBooks author book was an extremely large file and did eventually get approved by Apple, but I realize now what a big mistake it was. What good is the ability to include video or interactive elements in your book files if adding it makes the file so large? I admit that I have not created another book using iBlloks author since then. Instead, I publish plain ePub books for the Apple bookstore and mobi format for Kindle. Kindle sales far exceed Apple sales anyway.

What do you think?