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Easiest Way to Publish to Apple Books | 15 Step Guide with Images



Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Ben Oakley

Apple Books is one of the biggest growing eBook sellers online, backed up by one of the biggest companies in the world.

If you’re self-publishing and want to expand your online distribution method, then Apple should be on your list.

Easiest Way to Publish to Apple Books | 15 Step Guide with Images

Here’s a 15-step rundown of the easiest way to publish to Apple Books!

If you are a self-publisher or traditional publisher, you’ll always be on the look-out for the easiest way to do things. That includes the quickest and simplest way to publish to various different outlets.

This article works on the assumption that you are publishing directly to Apple Books. You can access the Apple Books network through publishing aggregators such as Draft2Digital, Smashwords, or PublishDrive. That in itself would be the ‘easiest’ way to do it.

But you want full autonomy and control over your publishing career, so you’ve taken the decision to publish direct to Apple Books.

It also comes with the added benefit of a slightly higher royalty than using aggregators, which if you’re selling more than five books a day, will benefit you immensely.

However, never shy away from aggregators as they can get your book listed on the likes of Scribd, Gardners, and many library catalogues with one upload.

1. What you need to publish to Apple Books

The recipe:

You can use OpenOffice or LibreOffice as a free alternative to Microsoft Word but remember to save your book file as a Word Document (docx). For this guide, you do not need to convert you docx file to any other file type.

Here, we let Apple do the heavy lifting for us!

Getting an iCloud account is easy, anyone with an email address can create one. An iTunes Connect account needs to be verified by Apple before activation so make sure to fill out the information required honestly and clearly. It can take up to  seven business days for an iTunes Connect account to be verified and opened.

Access to Pages is preferable on a desktop screen. The following process can be completed using mobile or tablets but it’s so much easier to have a larger screen in front of you.

Assuming you have all of the above ready to go, let’s get to it. Once you’ve got this process in your head, it takes approximately ten minutes to publish a book to Apple Books.

2. Access your iCloud account on a desktop

You can access iCloud on almost all operating systems and internet browsers. When you log in, your default screen will look like the image below.

Easiest Way to Publish to Apple Books | 15 Step Guide with Images

3. Open Pages on iCloud

You guessed it, it’s the app that is titled Pages! It may take a minute or so to load depending on what computer set up you have. Don’t be alarmed if it’s still loading after a minute, you’re not alone!

4. Upload document to Pages

Upload your document using the upload button at the top of the page. After a few short moments, your file will appear in the same window.

  • Double click the file.
  • File opens in new page.

Alternatively you can create your document in Pages itself but Microsoft Word is more commonly used and is easier to format for other outlets.

5. Click on the Spanner!

I’m British, so we refer to that thing as a spanner but our American friends may refer to it as a wrench or spanner-wrench. Whatever you wish to call it, click on it!

6. Select ‘Publish to Apple Books’

If you have already formatted your Word Document, which you would have done before attempting this process, then you don’t need to do anything else to it.

Once it’s formatted and uploaded to Pages, it’s as simple as selecting that spanner and then selecting ‘Publish to Apple Books‘.

If you go through the process of publishing to Apple Books directly through iTunes Connect then you will need to upload an EPUB file type.

Which sounds easy enough but the same EPUB you used for Google Play or Kobo might not necessarily pass the Apple filters. Hence why this article is titled ‘the easiest way to publish to Apple Books’.

Easiest Way to Publish to Apple Books | 15 Step Guide with Images

7. Log into iTunes Connect

A new smaller window will open which will ask you to sign into iTunes Connect.

  • Press continue.
  • Sign in to iTunes Connect.

If you’re already signed in then you will continue on the same window. If not, you will be redirected to a log in page then returned to the smaller window once you’ve signed in.

8. Provide version information

If you’re uploading the file for the first time then select ‘This is a new book (first submission)‘ and click continue. If you’re updating a previously published book then select the next option.

You complete all of this through the smaller window but it can be helpful to blow it up to a full screen, to not be distracted by everything else, including those social media notifications!

9. Fill out your book information and metadata

Fill out your book information in the next window. It’s good practice to keep your metadata the same across all outlets where your book is published.

If you’re uploading a novel then selecting ‘reflowable‘ on the first line is beneficial, as readers can adjust the text size of the book depending on what device they have.

Fixed layout keeps it exactly as you upload it with no options for readers to adjust to their preferences.

You do NOT need an ISBN to publish to Apple Books. If you have one, then throw it in but it is optional.

Easiest Way to Publish to Apple Books | 15 Step Guide with Images

10. Check preview then upload!

It’s always good practice to check your book preview before proceeding.

You wouldn’t do a bungee jump if the ropes hadn’t been checkedYou wouldn’t go driving before checking for oncoming traffic.

Okay, terrible metaphors, but hopefully you get the point. Check the preview, adjust original document if needed, then upload!

11. Head to iTunes Connect to complete set-up

When you upload you will need to head over to iTunes Connect to finish the publishing process.

Good news is, if you’re here, then Apple have already done the heavy lifting for you and converted your document so it can be sold on Apple Books!

Select ‘Go to iTunes Connect‘.

The window will close and you will be taken to Connect. At this point, be patient! It can take up to five minutes for the book cover to appear in iTunes Connect.

You can refresh the ‘My Books‘ page until it appears. For the purposes of this article, the book cover shown is the first page of the document.

12. Click on your book cover

Click on the book cover in ‘My Books‘ and you’ll be taken to the Summary page.

  • Click on ‘Rights and Pricing’ to continue.

13. Rights and Pricing window

When the Rights and Pricing window opens, you will see you have no countries selected.

  • Click on ‘Add New Countries/Regions‘ to proceed.

14. Fill out Countries and Regions page

Select your DRM preference, pre-order date, prices, and countries. Then click on continue.

The final window will give you an option to adjust prices for each region if needed. However, Apple do a pretty good job of estimating.

Though you may want to match the country-specific prices to other outlets where your book is published.

15. Finish up!

That’s it.

Once your pricing is done, then you’ll be taken back to the Rights and Pricing screen to see the Apple regions where your book can be purchased.

Initially, it will show a red button beside each country as it takes around 24hrs to 5 business days for your book to go live.

When your book is live on in a particular country or region then it will show up as green like the image below.

Easiest Way to Publish to Apple Books | 15 Step Guide with Images

Let Apple Books do the heavy lifting for you!

If a company, like Apple, has deliberately gone out of their way to make publishing to their catalogue easy and straightforward then why not take advantage of it!

Apple Books will never be bigger than Amazon or Barnes and Noble, but their reach is large enough. With many dedicated readers tied into Apple devices and using Apple Books, there’s every reason to publish to Apple.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and have found benefit from it. If you have, please do share it around and spread the knowledge. I’m also on Twitter here, feel free to come and say hi!

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Ben Oakley is a bestselling author, researcher, publisher, blogger, and mental health advocate from Camden, England. Usually found on Twitter or in the bars and parks of Camden. Agathokakological is his favourite word!

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. AndreiNoishura

    August 14, 2022 at 5:34 am

    Thank you for this guide, it’s been so helpful!

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