By opting for ePub and shipping free tools like iBooks Author, Apple has made it easy to create books for sale through its online iBookstore. Creating the books themselves is only half the story, though, as we'll explain.
Selling books on the iBookstore: Multi-touch vs reflowable books
The iBookstore sells both fixed layout Multi-touch books created using iBooks Author (free from the Mac App Store) and largely text-based reflowable books produced using apps like Scrivener. Use the former for layout-dependent textbooks and digital coffee table publications, and the latter for novels and other titles where the text can flow from page to page as the rear resizes and changes the font.
Bear in mind when making your choice that Multi-touch books can only be opened in iBooks on an iPad, or a Mac running OS X Yosemite or later.
Once you have finished creating your book you'll need to publish two editions. One is the complete manuscript; the other is a sample that readers can download for free. If you're using Scrivener to produce a reflowable book, create the latter by unchecking most of the boxes in the export dialog until only the sample pages remain, then export this second copy in ePub format. If you're creating a Multi-touch book in iBooks Author, clicking Publish on the toolbar creates both the complete book and the sample at the same time.
The free iBooks Author app is the easiest way to create multi-touch books for reading in iBooks on the iPad and OS X.
Selling books on the iBookstore: Opening an account
Before you can sell books on the iBookstore, Apple needs to know who you are so that it can pay you any royalties that are due. Accounts are free to set up (Apple deducts a 30% fee from each book sold, so if you sell nothing you pay nothing) but you do need to decide whether to sign up directly, in which case you keep the whole of the remaining 70%, or through an aggregator, which simplifies the process but means the aggregator themselves - a company that acts as a front for multiple smaller publishers - takes a further cut itself.
Selling books on the iBookstore: Signing up to an aggregator
Aggregators accept your book and publish it on your behalf, taking care of all tax and administration issues and passing on a proportion of the takings once they've passed a certain threshhold.
You'll find a list of Apple's approved aggregators here and can click through directly to each one for instructions on how to provide your content, what services they offer (which may include ePub conversion itself) and how often they pay our your earnings.
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