I admit, when I first started publishing ebooks, I didn’t publish to iBooks. I was intimidated by the process. I had read numerous discouraging articles that said publishing to iBooks was too complicated. I read that it’s difficult to get an EPUB to upload to iBooks. But when I finally sat down, did some research, and gave it a shot, through trial and error I finally published Terminal Connection by Dan Needles to the iBooks Store. And guess what? It wasn’t that difficult. Now I can publish to the iBooks Store just as easily and quickly as I publish to Amazon or any of the dozen other distributors I use.
Let’s look at three reasons why you MUST publish on iBooks if you are going to publish like a pro.
iBooks has the market in some countries.
If you’re going to publish like a pro, you need to think globally. One of the great advantages of today’s self-publishing industry is that readers can be reached across the global map. And while it’s true that Amazon has the corner on the ebook market in the U.S., they’re not top dog everywhere. Let’s look at some important stats.
“We sold 243 million iOS devices and 19 million Macs, both all time highs,” said CEO Tim Cook during Apple’s Q4 conference call in October 2014. iPhone sales grew by 17% with Apple’s release of iPhone 6, with Apple selling 39.3 million iPhones worldwide last year. And let’s examine the iPhone 6 build: a larger screen means reading is easier on the iPhone 6. Add to that Apple’s market growth worldwide: more than 50% in Central and Eastern Europe, 20% in Western Europe, 50% in Latin America and the Middle East, and up 32% in China. That’s a boat load of iPhones, and everyone of them comes with iBooks installed.
And need I mention that 39.3 million iPhones does not even include the number of iPads sold?
Let me add another small stat here. A survey of U.S. and UK users conducted by Publishing Technology suggests that among 18-24-year-olds, young adults are reading more books and more often on their iPhones, with a fairly even split between iBooks and Kindle reading apps. This suggests to me that if you are writing young adult fiction, you must publish on iBooks.
You need to be everywhere.
iBooks is available in 51 countries. It ranks second in the U.S. for reading devices/reading apps, after Kindle. Ok, but that’s still a lot of readers you’re missing if you are not publishing on iBooks. In Canada, iBooks is also ranked second, but not to Amazon; Kobo is the number one reading app/device in Canada. In the UK Amazon’s Kindle and iBooks are neck and neck. In Australia iBooks is the number one reading device. Canada, the UK, and Australia are three English-speaking countries where you are losing sales if you are not publishing on iBooks.
People in many countries buy books in other languages. This feature is running on iBooks in Denmark.
And what about the other 47 countries where iBooks is available? Well, in many of those countries people buy English books. In fact, the other day I was on some European iBooks sites and found promo categories for English books. And if you’re translating or writing in Spanish, then you really must take advantage of iBooks and its enormous reach.
I live part of the year in Europe, and I can tell you that English is the international language. In some countries, like Germany and Switzerland, residents speak English almost as well as their native languages.
Family sharing on iOS 8
With the launch of iOS 8, iBooks gains a huge advantage over other platforms when it comes to e-reading. Here’s a direct quote taken from Apple’s website:
“Family Sharing is a new way to bring harmony to your family’s digital life. Up to six people in your family can share purchases from iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store without sharing accounts.”
While the numbers are not in to support this claim, and Apple probably won’t release such numbers anyway, I suggest that the family sharing plan will encourage more ebook sales on iPhones and iPads in the future.
There are some advantages you won’t get from other platforms.
Ok, my title says 3 reasons why you should publish on iBooks, but I’ll give you a few more. There are some other advantages, I believe, to publishing on iBooks.
The iBooks team is committed to quality. It is, admittedly, it bit more complicated to publish on iBooks. You have to pass the EPUB test, formatting rules, and publish through iTunes Connect. But these challenges are easy to overcome, so don’t let them discourage you. In a future post, we’ll look at exactly how you can publish on iBooks, but for now, know that your competition is less than with publishing on Amazon just because many indie authors and publishers are not willing to take the extra steps to meet the standards set by iBooks. But you want to publish like a pro, so you are willing to take a few extra steps, right?
One of the criticisms of iBooks in the past was that they took weeks or longer to approve books; but that has changed. Now, on iTunes Connect there is a statement that they review 95% of all submissions within one business day. I’ve certainly had quick turnaround.
You do need a Mac to use iTunes Connect, or you can submit through Smashwords or BookBaby. The only disadvantages seem to be difficulty in updating your book directly and a small loss of royalty taken by these aggregators.
iBooks claims it’s agnostic in terms of where books come from and treats all ebook submissions the same, whether they be from Random House, Smashwords, or uploaded directly by indie authors and publishers through iTunes Connect. They claim they care about the book itself and the author. iBooks has a strong relationship with Smashwords, who is now doing multiple uploads and updates per day into the iBooks publishing system.
iBooks doesn’t require an exclusive contract in order to list your books for free. In fact, they encourage free listings, whether they be short-term or perma-free.
If you publish on iBooks, they won’t remove your book or drop your price if they find it on sale cheaper elsewhere. You control your book’s price.
So, are you ready to publish on iBooks? In the next few posts, we’ll take a look at the iBooks publishing with iTunes Connect and ways you can market your books on iBooks.
Don’t want to publish on iBooks through iTunes Connect? Download this free list of aggregators that will publish to iBooks for you. I’ve also included in this PDF an explanation of what aggregators do, advantages and disadvantages, as well as a table of other major distributors they work with.
Click Here to Get Your PDF ‘eBooks Aggregators’
Need some inspiration? I would love to send some inspiration to your Inbox every now and then. Click START HERE and become a publishing friend. I’ll start by sending you my 10 favorite Twitter handles for book promos.