A recent update to Apple’s publishing standards has allowed more flexibility in the creation and sharing of eBooks on the Apple Books Store. Previously, all books had to be submitted to the store via the iBooks Author app for MacOS. However, you can now use Pages on an iPhone, iPad, Mac or online at iCloud.com. Here’s how it works.
Set Up An iTunes Connect Account
Before you can publish to the Apple Books Store, you need to create an iTunes Connect account for Apple Books. This is completely free to do and it’s required in order to give you access to a web portal that will let you upload and manage your books. So, follow the directions below:
- Go to the iTunes Connect Sign Up page
- Log in with your Apple ID. If you don’t have one, you can create one.
- A credit card is required when creating an iTunes Connect account for Apple Books. If you don’t already have one attached to your Apple ID, you will need to add one. This is unfortunate for students, but if necessary, you could submit through a school managed account.
- If you intend to sell the content that you upload to the Apple Books Store you will also need to add a valid Tax ID.
Create a Book in Pages
Once you have the red tape taken care of, open Pages on your iPhone, iPad, Mac or at iCloud.com, then click the “+” button to access the templates. In theory, any of these templates will work, but if you scroll down far enough you will see some templates that are specifically designed for Apple Books.
Note that these templates are in portrait or landscape format. This is important to think about ahead of time, not least for formatting and for the screen it is likely to be read on. You can change this later, but it is better to plan for one orientation and stick to it if you can.
Prepare Content for Publishing
After you have written your content, you will want to ensure that it is optimized for reading on Apple devices. That will mean different things for different people, but Apple has a variety of useful style guides that you can refer to. Reading these ahead of time will help you format your book correctly as you write it, as opposed to reformatting it after the fact. The guides that are available include:
Submit to the Apple Books Store
When everything looks the way you want it, and you have all the required elements, including a book cover, then you are ready to submit your book to the Apple Books Store. The process is a little different depending on which device you are using, but the end result is the same.
On an iPhone or iPad, tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner of your Pages document, and then tap Publish to Apple Books. On a Mac, go to File > Publish to Apple Books. If you are using the online version of Pages at iCloud.com, click the wrench icon and then select Publish to Apple Books.
You will then be prompted to login with your iTunes Connect account and fill in some information about your book, such as the title, author and recommended reading ages. You may also be asked to choose a layout for your book. You can choose between Reflowable and Fixed layouts. Apple recommends Reflowable layouts for books that are primarily text. If you have a lot of images or multi-column pages, you can maintain your formatting with a Fixed layout.
Preview and Finalize
At this point, iOS and Mac users get a live preview of their finished book to give you an idea of what it will look like when you publish to the Apple Books Store. If you are working in Pages at iCloud.com, you can download a preview of your book to check it before submitting. When everything looks good, click the Upload button to submit your book for approval and listing on the Store.
You can check on the status of your book at any time by logging in to your iTunes Connect account. If you decide to update or change the contents of your book at a later date, simply open the text in Pages and resubmit it to the Apple Book Store. This will give you the option to update a previously submitted book, add a version number, and give a description of what has changed in this version.
Using Pages on iCloud.com to create and submit your book is particularly interesting, at least to me, because it removes the need for an Apple device. Essentially this means that you can now publish from a Windows PC or even a Chromebook!
However, readers will still need an Apple device to enjoy your eBooks, (because content is only available through the Apple Books app), so there is still that hurdle in terms of access. Apple doesn’t offer the same device diagnostic approach that someone like Amazon does, but at least creators can now enjoy a little more freedom in the way that they create and update their work.
Are you published on the Apple Books Store? If so, what was your experience? Have you tried publishing through Pages, or do you still work with iBooks Author?