How to Be on iBooks Digital Shelf

Apple_productsApple’s iBooks platform is one of the three largest online bookstores. Publishing to the iBookstore will make your digital book available to anyone who has either an iPhone or an iPad. To date, over 500 million iOS devices have been sold – Putting the number of iOS users at higher than the United States population.

If you’re serious about publishing a digital book, the iBookstore is simply a platform that you can’t afford to ignore.

Unfortunately, publishing to the iBookstore on your own can be quite a difficult task. For one, you must have a Mac, not a PC. Even if you have a Mac, Apple’s procedures for publishing to the iBookstore are not crystal clear. Perhaps the best (and fastest) way to get your book into the iBookstore is to use an approved third party publisher.

This publisher will help format your book for you, then submit it to Apple. They’ll screen your book for any errors and let you know if there are any issues before your book is submitted, so you don’t risk getting rejected.

Lulu is one of the largest approved publishers in Apple’s network. They publish over 20,000 books every single month. Founded in 2002 by Bob Young, to date they’ve helped publishers from over 200 different countries get their works into the world.

Here’s how to use Lulu to publish your digital book on the iBookstore platform.

Step 1: Getting Started

Go to

Click “Publish.”


Then scroll down to “eBooks” and click “Start your eBook.”


Finally, click “I’m ready to publish” to begin the publishing process.


Step 2: Create Your Membership

Fill out the membership profile. Creating a membership is free. Lulu makes money from publishing your book, not from memberships.


Step 3: Title and Author

Write your book’s title and the names of the authors. If you want to add more authors, click the “+” button next to “Author.”

The title you enter will be a working title. Unlike other book publishing platforms, you can save your progress and not publish right away. If you want to change your title later, you can.

Your title should be carefully thought out before you launch. Try to brainstorm at least 25 potential titles before you settle down on one. Your title should pack an emotional punch. Someone who reads your title should be compelled to check out what the rest of your book is about.

Step 4: Check Sell on iBooks

You’ll be asked what you want to do with the project. If you’re ready to submit right away, click the third option. If you want to work on the book for a while before submitting, select the first option.

Keep in mind that you need to have everything right before you submit your book. About 50% of the books submitted to Lulu get disapproved because they did something wrong. If you’re not 100% confident in your book yet, wait until you’re ready before submitting it for approval.


Step 5: ISBN Number

You’ll be asked whether you want a free ISBN number, to use your own paid ISBN number or to use no ISBN number at all.

By and large, most people can get by with Lulu’s free ISBN numbers. However, if you really don’t want to list Lulu as the publisher for your book, you can choose to buy your own ISBN number from

If you choose the first option, your new ISBN number will be displayed on the very next page.


Step 6: Upload Your Book

Upload your DOC, RTF or EPUB eBook to Lulu. Before you upload, make sure that your book is formatted properly. Make sure your chapter titles are preceeded by a Page Break and that your images are centered. Follow the guidelines on Lulu’s formatting page to the letter before uploading your book.


Once your book is uploaded, you’ll see the file on the bottom of the page. Click “Save & Continue” to continue the publishing process.


Lulu will then begin formatting your book for you. Go get a cup of coffee while you wait for Lulu to finish this process.


Step 7: Create Your Marketing Image

Create the image you want to use as your marketing image. Your marketing image is what people see as the preview for your book in the bookstore, as well as what people see as your front cover.

Your marketing image is not actually inserted into your book as the cover. Your cover page inside your book is. The marketing image, as the name suggests, is used purely for marketing your book.

You can customize the background and the text to a great degree. Once you’ve created your image, Lulu will turn the graphic you created into a real graphic to be uploaded to the various bookstores your book is being uploaded to.


Step 8: Enter Your Description

Write the description for your book. Try to add as many credibility builders as you can, such as reviews from well known people or high quality testimonials from people who’ve read your book. Try to also highlight the best things that your book has to offer.

Download the iBooks app on an iOS device and take a look at how other people are writing their descriptions. How are they catching attention? How are they demonstrating credibility? How are they getting people to buy?

Your description is one of the most important selling tools you have in your arsenal. Don’t let it go to waste.


Step 9: License and Edition

Enter the name of the person who should hold the copyright to the book. Choose what kind of license you want the book to be published under. Choose what edition your book is currently in.


Step 10: Digital Rights Management

Lulu offers Digital Rights Management (DRM) services to its customers – For a fee. If you want to protect your book from being sent to others or from being “ripped” and uploaded to pirating sites, you’ll have to pay $0.25 cents per download to protect your book.


Step 11: Set Your Price

Set the price you want to sell your book at. Lulu will tell you what you’ll receive in royalties when someone buys your book on Lulu and anywhere else.


Step 12: Review, Save and Finish

Finally, you’ll be presented with all the options you’ve selected so far. You’ll be able to edit your working title, as well as preview how your book currently looks.

Look over everything on this page and make sure that everything looks the way it should. Once you hit “Save and Finish,” your eBook will be submitted to Lulu.


Once your book is submitted, you’ll need to wait a few days while Lulu manually reviews your book. If there are any errors in your submission, you’ll have to re-do your book and re-submit your book before it goes live.

One of the great things about Lulu is that you actually get real people you can interface with about your book submission process. If your book is having trouble getting approved, with Apple it’s very hard to get in touch with anyone. With Lulu however, you have a dedicated customer service team at your beck and call.

What are you waiting for? If you have a book ready for submission, getting it up and running on Lulu takes just a couple hours.

How to Submit Your eBook to iBooks


Getting your eBooks into the iBookstore will get you exposure to a wide audience on Apple devices. Your book will be available to people on both PC computers and Macs as well as people on iPhones and iPads.

In order to submit your own eBook to iBooks, you’ll need a Mac running at least 1G of RAM with QuickTime 7.03 installed. Unfortunately, you cannot do this on a Windows computer.

That said, if you’re on a Windows computer, you can use one of the many third party Apple aggregators to help take care of the process. They’ll take care of just about everything for you, though you’ll have to pay a premium for the service.

If you want to do it on your own, you’ll also need a U.S. Tax ID. Anyone can get a Tax ID by filing for a DBA / Sole Proprietor business in the United States. You don’t even need to be a U.S. resident.

Once you have all the requirements, here’s how to get started with publishing your eBook on iBooks.


Step 1: Get Your ISBN Number


In order to publish your book on iBooks, you’ll need an ISBN number. This number is like a calling card for your book. It allows bookstores like the iBookstore to track exactly how many books were sold and it also allows you to track your statistics.

Any book sold in a regular bookstore needs an ISBN number. While some online stores don’t require this, iBooks does. To get your ISBN number, go to:

When you arrive, you’ll see the page below. Click “Get Your ISBN Today!” to start.



Step 2: Get the Basic Version


While there are several different versions of the ISBN service available, the most important thing is that you get the number. For our purposes, the most basic package is usually enough.



Step 3: Checkout


Continue to checkout and follow the on screen instructions to complete the purchase of your ISBN number.


Step 4: Install an ePub Conversion Application


In order to submit your eBook to iBooks, you need to convert it to the ePub file format. There are several programs that can do this.

Calibre and Sigil are two free options. iStudio Publisher ($49.99) and Adobe InDesign ($699) are two paid options.

For the purposes of this guide, we’ll use Calibre’s free converter to create our ePub file.


Download Calibre from:

Install the software and continue.

Step 5: Add Your Books


Once you open Calibre, you’ll be presented with a screen with a variety of options. A good way to acquaint yourself with the interface is to just hover your mouse over various areas and see what each button is.

To get started, click “Add Books” in the upper left corner. Select the book(s) you want to convert into ePub file format to add it to the list of titles in Calibre.



Step 6: Change the Meta Data


Your meta data is data that comes with the ePub file that tells the book reader basic information like who wrote it, the title, the ISBN number and so on.

Highlight the book whose data you want to change. Then click on the “Edit Meta Data” button.


You’ll then be taken to the edit meta data screen, as shown below:


Input as much of the data as you can. Add in your front cover image. This is the image that will be shown to people browsing the iBookstore.

On the right you can add comments. You can leave this blank for now.

Click OK when you’re finished.

Step 7: Save Your ePub Book


When you’re ready to export your ePub file, click on the “Save Book” button.


You’ll then be taken to the save page, which gives you a ton of options.

The best way to play with these options is to just save your file and see how it looks afterwards. You can choose how text display looks, how your table of contents are structured and a whole lot more options.

The only critical thing you need to select is the Output Format. Make sure it’s set to EPUB before you hit OK.

Once you save your file, you’ll have a file that’s ready to be submitted to the iBookstore!


Step 8: Submit to iBooks


To submit your ebook, go to iTunes connect at:

Select “Books” from the dropdown menu and click continue.


You’ll then be walked through a series of steps to upload your ePub file and submit it to iTunes. Follow the on screen instructions.

That’s all there is to it! Setting up your Tax ID, getting an ISBN number and converting your file may be a bit of hassle at first, but getting your eBook onto the iBookstore will make your effort well worth it.