Apple Books For Authors – Now With PC Access Publishing Resources

Apple Books For Authors has launched and the all-new site now provides help with every stage in the publishing process. And here’s the biggest news of all: PC users can now publish direct with Apple Books. That’s right!

Before now, anyone using a PC device could not easily publish direct with Apple Books and many had to use a distributor to reach all of Apple’s customers. Now that has changed, and the new Apple Books publishing portal is accessible by web browser, and on a PC too.

That’s going to be the headline news for many people, so I just wanted to get that out of the way up top. But before we dig into that a little more, let’s take a look at some of the other aspects of Apple Books For Authors – which only threw open its doors to the public this very morning.

Hot off the presses, people.

You can check out the new Apple Books for Authors site here, and you’ll immediately see it has that very Apple look and branding, along with lots of advice from bestselling authors right there on the home page, and it’s all clearly designed to dovetail neatly with the new, revamped Apple Books.

If you switch your attention to the navigation bar up top, you’ll see all stages of the publishing process well represented: Write, Prepare, Publish, Market, Sales and Reporting, Audiobooks, and Resources.

Let’s take a closer look at this aspect, as I was pleasantly surprised with some of the resources here and see a lot of potential for the future.

Typically, a retailer has fairly bare bones information in this department, but Apple has taken the trouble to provide some actually useful information here—not just its own products and apps, as you would expect, but the full suite of tools a modern writer uses. Things like Microsoft Word and Scrivener appear alongside in-house apps like Pages and iBooks Author.

Naturally, the advice at this point in the process is more geared towards beginners, but if you skip ahead to the Market section, you’ll see more useful stuff for those with a little more experience—advice on how to use promo codes to build buzz, a run-down on Apple’s affiliate program for books and audiobooks (which I’m a member of and more authors really need to start using, and you can use this even if you aren’t direct with Apple, by the way), advice from bestselling authors Barbara Freethy on social media, and Jill Shalvis on book launches.

You can check out the other tabs yourself and see that there are customized resources for every stage—Audiobooks in particular are intriguing, and I know Apple wants to aggressively grow this aspect of its business. I’m particularly intrigued by mention of the ability to “suggest list price” for your audiobooks and I’ll be seeking more information on that little nugget myself.

Of course, Amazon’s Audible doesn’t let you set your price at all, and this is one of the reasons most of the innovation and chatter about audio right now surrounds the “wide” market: BookBub setting up its own audio retailer called Chirp, Kobo allowing authors to set their own prices—even to make audiobooks permafree—Findaway giving authors the tools to run discounts, BookBub Ads now allowing you to directly target audio readers. And most of those toys can only be played with by authors who are not exclusive to Amazon, and who thus have more control over their distribution and prices.

If you are not direct with Apple Books already, definitely take a look at the Sales and Reporting tab to see a video showing off the Reporting interface, which is just so much better than what we have been fobbed off with for years at KDP.

You might note that some of this stuff isn’t new—and that’s true, but a lot of the tools and resources Apple already had for authors were kind of scattered around the place and often hard to find too. Apple Books For Authors basically draws all this together under one roof, but there is some cool new stuff in there too and, overall, I got the sense that Apple plans to build that content out over time.

Apple is also keen to hear feedback on both the new Apple Books For Authors site, or the new publishing portal which PC users can now access, so please feel free to leave that in the comments and I’ll pass it along.

It’s that new publishing portal which I am most interested in personally as it means I finally get to test going direct with Apple!

I’m a PC user, and the idea of trying to publish a book with my iPhone or an emulator never appealed. Instead I used Smashwords to reach Apple, and then when Draft2Digital came along with what was, to me, a far superior service, I was happy to switch all my books across to Draft2Digital, and still use them today to reach Apple and Barnes & Noble, as well as a host of smaller stores and library services. I love Draft2Digital, and they always have authors’ backs, as they proved once again very recently.

But I’ve never actually published direct with Apple. And for the first time, I finally can. Intriguing!

(Minor correction: As pointed out by a couple of people Apple actually quietly rolled out a way to publish via PC back in September, but only through the Pages app. And it appears nobody really knew about this. But what is 100% new today on that front is the publishing portal – which allows anyone, on PC or Mac, to provide Apple with a finished EPUB, whether that’s to update a published book or publish a new one.)

I’m sure a lot of you are in the same boat and are suddenly more curious about things like the terms for going direct.

  • Apple Books pays 70% royalties for any price—even 99¢ books or $19.99 box sets, which is a marked improvement over the 35% which Amazon pays for any price outside Amazon’s preferred $2.99-$9.99 range, of course.
  • Apple Books pays out within 45 days of the end of the respective month, which is a little quicker than most other retailers.
  • There are no delivery fees with Apple Books, a particular bone of contention on KDP with children’s authors, graphic novelists, or anyone wanting to use pictures in their ebooks, especially with Amazon charging data transfer prices last seen when AOL was the new hotness.

You might be asking yourself whether you should switch to going direct, or continue using a distributor like Draft2Digital (or Smashwords) to reach Apple instead. Well, it depends. You will get paid a littler more, and a little quicker, if you go direct.  But using someone like Draft2Digital to reach multiple stores at once with the same ebook file does simplify your life quite a bit. You’ll have to weigh up those pros and cons yourself.

I’ll certainly be testing the new publishing portal with one of my books and sharing my thoughts on it—pros and cons—as I go through it personally, so look out for that. Maybe I’ll shoot a video or two showing what the interface looks like up close. Subscribe to my new YouTube channel—and make sure to hit that notification bell—as I will have lots of new video content coming shortly. (First up: a free Canva tutorial this weekend!)

I will say this though: Apple made it clear that when picking authors for promo opportunities, it is completely agnostic as to the publishing path that author has taken. Whether you arrived in the Apple Books store via the likes of Draft2Digital, or went direct, you have the same shot of getting selected.

And this, I stress, is my personal opinion: I’m sure this news will be chewed over, but my own take is that this isn’t a power play by Apple looking to cut out distributors or anything like that. I personally think the real aim here is twofold: first and foremost, to provide a clean, crisp, newbie-friendly one-stop shop for publishing with Apple Books—a nice and easy alternative to going exclusive with Amazon.

Second, I also see this as counteracting a lot of the unscrupulous providers like vanity presses, who try and sell the lie that self-publishing is difficult or expensive—at least, an easy-to-use site like this is a huge boon to those of us who try and steer new writers away from predatory operations.

Again, personal opinion here, but just reading between the lines, the overall impression I got was that this isn’t just a site revamp, but perhaps also a refresh in Apple’s approach to ebooks and authors generally. The spirit driving all of this seemed to be positive and inclusive and open, and it was very welcome indeed. I’m interested to see how all this develops.

That’s it! I’ll have more hands-on impressions with that new, PC-accessible publishing portal as I go through the process personally of going direct. And I will also be interested to see what feedback you have, what resources you might like added, and what you think of this news! Let me know in the comments below.

David Gaughran

Born in Ireland, he now lives in a little fishing village in Portugal, although this hasn’t increased the time spent outside. He writes novels under another name, has helped thousands of authors build a readership with his books, blogs, workshops, and courses, and has created marketing campaigns for some of the biggest self-publishers on the planet. Friend to all dogs.


40 Replies to “Apple Books For Authors – Now With PC Access”

  1. I guess the thought uppermost in my mind is about Apple’s market share. How big is it currently, whether this will be likley to increase it, and is it worth using the marketing tools you describe to promote books already on Apple via D2D?

    1. I don’t know if anyone can say that with any accuracy – at least publicly, since Author Earnings stopped publishing reports. If I had to guess, maybe 15-20% in the US? I haven’t heard any estimates recently – but if anyone has, please jump in.

  2. David, once formatted and published do we just post to Amazon? Does Amazon/formerly CresteSpace then order from Apple? OR do they snag the distribution
    Amazon is still the go to place for buyers

    1. Sorry, I don’t understand the question. This is about a way to publish your ebooks on Apple – now open to PC users too. It’s nothing to do with Amazon or Createspace.

  3. I tried earlier to upload my books on to ÍBooks’using a Mac computer. it did not accept the PDF files. I had to give up and took comfort in the feeling that anyways my books on ‘Smashwords’ and being sold on ÍBooks’platform.
    Hope the present changes allow easier uploading from windows to Ápple books without any complex issues.

    1. The PDF files are tripping you up. You need to covert them to EPUBs – especially so they are reflowable and can be read on any screen size. You can either hire a formatter (who might charge anything from $50-$200), use one of the tools Apple recommends like Pages (which will export the file directly to Apple Books), or use a specific tool for the job like Vellum. Draft2Digital and Reedsy both have free ebook formatting tools you can also check out. But you’ll need to convert that PDF one way or another.

  4. I’ve been uploading to Apple Books directly for years now and it is a supreme pain having to go between iTunes Connect and their ITunes Producer app and changing prices for sales..gah pass the whiskey…craziness…so indirect and convoluted which to me was always shocking because IT’S APPLE! I hope this means it will be clean and simple a la Kobo!

  5. Thanks for sharing, David! I love that Apple is finally giving the direct option to PC users and look forward to your observations. I’ve been direct with Apple for a couple years now (I use a Mac), and there are some quirks. I don’t know if these will carry over to the PC publishing portal, but here are some things I’ve noticed:

    — Apple gives you two places to update book metadata and prices, iTunes Connect and the upload app (iTunes Producer for Mac users). You have to be careful not to overwrite the prices (and, to a lesser extent, the metadata) set in iTunes Connect whenever content changes are pushed through the upload app.
    — You can schedule price promos with date ranges using iTunes Connect, but the one time I used this feature I did not realize the prices went into effect based on each country’s time zone and could not adjust the price schedule once it was set. (I could edit the field values, but the actual Apple Store prices continued to be based off the old schedule.) Maybe this has changed in the past two years, maybe not. At any rate, I recommend testing this feature first if you want to use it. Don’t be like me and wait until you have a BookBub to try it out.
    — Apple accounting is based on their own fiscal calendar, so don’t expect their monthly payments to exactly match your monthly sales figures. Their quarters consist of two four-week months and one five-week month as defined here: https://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/wa/jumpTo?page=fiscalcalendar (iTunes Connect login required)

    Also, Apple may not discriminate between distribution methods when it comes to promos, but in my experience they’re also the retailer with the most closed-off access to merchandising opportunities. If you figure out how to actually land an in-house promo with Apple, I’m all ears!

  6. I sell enough through Apple Books to be worth switching but what would really make it worthwhile would be if they improved their horrific store.

  7. “They always have authors’ backs, as they proved once again very recently.”

    D2D didn’t have mine. They refused to publish my annotated editions of Agatha Christie novels because they were public domain, so I dumped them.

    I’m sure they’re lovely people otherwise.

    1. I don’t know what happened in your case specifically – and public domain stuff often has its own weird set of rules – but I’m pretty sure D2D isn’t in the business of policing content per se, and only passes on the content rules of the retailers it distributes to. Which it has to or it won’t be able to distribute to those retailers.

    2. D2d will never publish any book on public domain pick other option and your book will be accepted

  8. Ack, I’m sure Smashwords will not be happy at this news. Apple is their biggest partner, or vendor… not sure of the correct term.

    I’ll stick with Smashwords for now. If I had a best-seller, where I was giving Smashwords hundreds in commission for Apple sales every month, I’d think again. And I do have a Mac, but I still found the previous Apple publishing program prohibitively difficult. I think it’s a good thing, though, that they’re doing this. (Unless they cut ties with Smashwords, which would be bad! Don’t do that, Apple.)

    1. I can assure you they are most certainly not cutting ties with Smashwords (or D2D or any other partner/distributor for that matter). Apple said they don’t mind at all how someone chooses to publish with them, and indeed lots of the new tools can be used by authors who don’t go direct. They want to be as open as possible – at least that’s the impression I got.

  9. I have been using Mac in Cloud to upload my books directly to iBooks for about a year. It was a horrendous nightmare every single time and took forever. As another author noted, iBooks uses multiple programs to publish a book. After seeing this article, I used this new platform (just now) and uploaded an epub file, filled in all the relevant book information, and in less than 10 minutes it was on iTunes connect, ready for me to publish! It worked great!

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Katherine.

      I’ve used a Mac forever, but never gone direct to Apple because all the reports I’d heard said it was a huge hassle. From Dave’s post above, I was wondering if the new portal was also accessible to Mac users. I’d love to be able to directly and simply upload my beautifully formatted epub files to Apple. From what you say, this is now possible.

      1. Yes, you can just upload your own EPUBs to Apple, as long as they are validated you should be fine.

  10. I’ve been direct with Apple for a couple of years now and agree with Marla’s assessment.

    Visually, their report graphs are great. However to make any sense of it from a data export aspect, or to maintain a sales record locally, you need to download multiple reports and combine them. I have not found a way to export a report that would cover units, proceed and orders all in one. This takes a little extra work because Apple’s exported reports are, in a word, odd. Dates run horizontally instead of vertically like every other vendor sales report I’ve seen. This requires cutting and pasting via transpose in Excel to get them in proper columns.

    I’d love to see this changed.

  11. Not quite a smooth process… I was glad to see that PC users could play too, so I went to try it out. I created an Apple ID, got it all set up as far as I could tell, and then tried to sign in to iTunes Connect. The site rejected me because I didn’t have a credit card on file. (Not planning on buying anything, but OK….) I found my way to where I would add billing information and tried to enter my credit card number. The site did not accept any input in that field. I could put in the expiration date, but typing with the focus in the card number field showed no effect. Since I’d started in Chrome in Linux, which can be quirky at times, I switched to Chrome in Windows. Same deal. Apparently I’ll need to experiment with other browsers, but if that field only accepts input when using Safari, I’m at a dead end.

    1. Update: So far I’ve tried Chrome, Brave, and Firefox in Linux; Chrome in Chrome OS; and, Chrome, Firefox (fresh install, no add-ons), Internet Explorer, and Edge (fresh install with only Bitwarden added) in Windows, all with the same result — I can enter the expiration date but not the card number. For someone starting from completely outside of the Apple ecosystem (no iTunes account, no Apple hardware or software), it seems necessary to obtain some sort of Apple product to be able to make use of the support for non-Apple users. Probably not by design but by defect resulting from lazy/sloppy site development.

      1. Resolved, in essence. If anyone else falls into this I-use-no-Apple-products hole, do not follow the instructions to go to the iTunes Store to add a payment method. Go here instead: https://appleid.apple.com/

        That is for your Apple ID, not the iTunes Store. The difference? As a non-Apple user, I have no idea. I just know — after a lengthy and detailed email conversation — that the alternative form exists and works. Will they ever fix the other problem? I’ll decline to speculate.

  12. Thanks for the heads up, David. Apple Books for Authors has a Kobo-ish feel to it, which I love. I hope they continue to search out ways to connect and partner with authors.

  13. I stumbled across the ability to publish direct-to-Apple via their Pages app about a month ago. As a PC user, it was like finding the Holy Grail, not having to use a Mac emulator to publish to Apple (the asininity of which kept me from doing so). So I jumped right into it, taking the publish-through-Pages workflow for a test drive. After jumping through the hoops of establishing an iTunes Connect account, the process was fairly easy, and I had a book published there in no time (a short story I hadn’t intended to publish on its own, but it made a good test mule so I put it up on Apple as a freebie). The only point of friction was having to use the Pages app, which was an extra step for me since I write in Scrivener. But now that they have introduced this “Publishing Portal” and I can apparently use the epub files it looks like that has now been smoothed out too. I still use D2D for the rest of my Books to Apple, but I will publish future ones direct, and perhaps move the old ones too at some point. Thanks for this news David!

    1. Yes, you have a few options for publishing with Apple now, and if you don’t want to use the Pages app (I don’t either), then you can just bring them your own finished EPUB instead, however you decide to generate that. As long as it is validated, you are good to go.

  14. Seems like there’s a few of you trying this out already – and with a range of experiences. Please keep sharing them and I’ll pass all the feedback on, and I’m sure that… range of experiences will be most useful!

  15. Interesting, thanks, especially as I’ve just started the process of creating audiobooks and had already decided I wasn’t going to be exclusive to Amazon. So now just wondering whether to go direct to Apple rather than via Findaway voices – which would mean three uploads – not wanting to overcomplicate my life with zillions of uploads to lots of outlets…

    1. Anyone should feel free to correct me on this point, but I think the only way to get into Apple Books with your audio editions right now is via one of their partner-distributors like Audible, Findaway, ListenUp, etc. They don’t have a direct upload facility like Kobo does.

  16. Minor update: I’ve just made a slight correction to the above post. As pointed out by one of the commenters (and a couple more people by email), Apple actually quietly rolled out a way to publish via PC back in September, but only through the Pages app. And it appears nobody really knew about this. But what is 100% new today on that front is the publishing portal – https://authors.apple.com/publish-your-book/493-learn-to-publish-your-book-from-the-web – which allows anyone, on PC or Mac, to provide Apple with a finished EPUB, whether that’s to update a published book or publish a new one.

  17. Thanks for this article, David. I had not heard of this new platform for PC, so I think you are one of the first to share the news. I have published 5 books with KDP and also have Smashwords as my Apple distributor. So far, so good, though I rarely sell anything through Apple, and a good amount through Amazon. What I find intriguing is that Apple now makes their own movies and streaming series. I am wondering how many of Apple’s future projects will come from books published solely through them? This may be reason enough for many writers to jump onto the Apple cart. Not sure if I will be one of them…will have to think about it…

  18. Some complications at sign up, before you can even start publishing your book.

    Admittedly, it’s a little confusing because they don’t have one central portal for all authors. In other words, there are several doorways to get there.

    Then, once you’ve found the right doorway, you will have to change your iTunes Connect Account (didn’t know I had one of those) to be recognized as a content provider. If you’re like me, you might have a personal iTunes account (and/or Apple ID) for your Apple devices.

    Then, if you run your publishing business through an entity, you’ll need to wait for Apple to approve your EIN before you can go to the next steps of setting up your banking, etc. I’m told I’ll have to wait seven business days for that.

    So not the smoothest process, but I’m happy that Apple finally decided to open themselves up to the other 90% of the world who don’t use Macs.

    Thanks David for the info!

    1. Hi Michael (and Dave), thanks for your clarification here, as I’ve spent the last two days trying to upload directly and it’s not that straightforward… the lack of one central portal does seem like an oversight. I mean, why not make it as easy as possible for folks to load their content so we all profit* asap? Oh, ebook retailers, please could you all hop over to Kobo or Draft2Digital and take on board their exquisitely beautiful systems?! (*Profit. Sighs. Oh, if only.)

  19. Interface is simple and nice to use. However it is missing one critical feature, there is no way to uplaod screenshots (which you can do with iTunes Producer). This is an important item particularly for those publishing a non-fiction title. Hope they add it soon, as it should be trivial to add to the workflow.

  20. I’m going through the process with Apple Books on a PC today, with an eye to writing up a quick guide or shooting a video perhaps. And… yeah. There’s a bit of faff involved. Hopefully they can smooth out the process a little. Feels like I had to accept three or four sets of terms and conditions, and give my Apple ID like five or six times… and I haven’t even gotten further than providing my address in the Publishing/Banking/Tax interface because Apple is insisting my address doesn’t exist. A little frustrating, but hopefully these kinks will be ironed out soon. And they are the kind of teething problems you would expect really. Glad to hear others sailed through the process!

  21. David, thank you for this article/post. (I’m one of your email subscribers.) As a long-time Apple fan grrrl, and a new author, I’m looking forward to your future posts, guides, and videos about ABfA. I’m also a user (and huge fan) of Scrivener app. I’m happy to see ABfA’s support of Scrivener.

  22. OK! Finally got my books published on Apple via a PC. I ran into a weird bug when inputting my address and tax stuff etc. – Apple’s system kept rejecting my address. Here’s the workaround, which is a little crude but does the job until the actual bug is squashed: Just keep submitting the same address, even if Apple is rejecting it. On the third or fourth try, it will stick, and let you proceed.

    That aside, there were only a couple of wrinkles. Some messaging could definitely be approved, and the process feels a little clunk right now when it shuttles you back and forth between the Publishing Portal and iTunes connect, but parts of it are buttery smooth and if they could get the entire process like that it would be fabulous.

    The books seemed to get reviewed and go live fast, which is great because I have a BB in a couple of weeks!

  23. Thanks for posting this, David. As someone who has been publishing to Apple via Draft2Digital for several years, the big question on my mind is if I switch to publishing with Apple directly, will I lose all of my book reviews, or is there a way to migrate those over to the new book pages?

    1. So I emailed Apple Books support, and this was their answer:

      Hello Joseph,

      Thank you for contacting us.

      I was going over your email, and you are wanting to know if you can migrate reviews that are already attached to your book.

      As it turns out, there is not a way to migrate the reviews. They are attached to that specific book and Apple ID, plus there is not a way to transfer books to another provider.

      When you submit your book, it will be a brand new book in the book store.

      However, I also spoke with a customer support representative who confirmed with her supervisor that if you migrate your books under the same author name, they should all still show up on the same author page even if some of them are through Draft2Digital and some of them are through Apple Books directly. So if you have to migrate your catalog in stages, they should all still be linked to the same author page throughout and after the migration process.

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