On May 27th I read on MacNN.com that Apple were allowing smaller, independent publishers to submit their books to the iBookstore. I followed the provided link and was soon giving Apple all kinds of personal and financial information like my social security number, bank account number, and other stuff they claimed they needed in order for me to sell books on the iBookstore. I had to agree to all kinds of terms and conditions. I had to prove I was an existing publisher and submit example ISBNs.
Finally, everything was complete, and I was informed that it could take anything from several weeks to several months to be approved as an iTunes content provider. As it turned out, I waited all of five minutes, and received an email telling me I’d been accepted and that I could now sign a contract, download the iTunes Producer software, and start preparing my titles for submission to the iBookstore.
I have to say that the process of actually preparing the books for the iBookstore was fairly smooth because in the case of Pastoral Letters I already had a suitable ePUB file due to my submission to the Kindle Store. And that experience helped me greatly in preparing The Way of the Cross for iBooks.
iTunes Producer is a typical piece of Apple software. It guides you through the process of preparing your title for submission. The only problem I had at this point was that the filename for my The Way of the Cross ePUB had a period in it and this is not allowed. However, I didn’t learn this through a nice, informative error message. I just got a very vague message saying my book couldn’t be submitted and asking me if I wanted to submit an error report to Apple. Well yes, of course I did. How else was I going to know what the problem was? After submitting the error report three times (for good measure), I decided to read it, and figured out that the extra period in the filename was what it was hollering about. I took that out, resubmitted, and the book was accepted. Or was it?
Apparently not. I waited a while to see if the books would just show up in the iBookstore on my iPad. They didn’t. I logged into my iTunesConnect account and clicked on “Manage Your Books” and it said “You have no books to manage.” Really? I thought you told me I successfully submitted two titles?
Waiting still didn’t get me anywhere, so I wrote to iBookstore support. I got a very brief reply from one of their techs saying that there was a file in the ePUB archives that was not listed in the ePUB manifest. Hmmm. Well I’m sure glad the iTunes Producer told me that! Turns out that only Pastoral Letters had the offending extra file. I removed it, resubmitted the book, and it’s now showing up in my iTunesConnect account as “Pending.” The Way of the Cross is still missing in action though. I’ve written to iBookstore support twice to ask them why. So far I’ve heard nothing.
So, either the folks at Apple are having problems with the iBookstore or they are being overwhelmed with submissions now that they’ve opened it to more publishers. We’ll just have to wait and see.