Before you decide to publish with iBooks look at what others have to offer

January 21, 2012

Before you decide to publish with iBooks look at what others have to offerA lot of people are all agog at Apple’s new iBooks Author App.  Don’t be.  Self publishing software has been around for awhile.  Not only has it been around it has been used and is being used successfully to publish books that can be sold for more devices than just Apple’s.  Rather than rushing headlong into software that will limit where your book can be read, look around and try out a few different programs.

As Ars Technica points out, there is one little bit of iBooks Author licensing to which you really want to pay attention.  It’s the phrase that says:

If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple. . .”

Even if you are an Apple Fanboy, this clause should give you pause.

Back a decade or so when the majority of eBooks were read on Palm OS or Windows Mobile devices, you could find publishing software from the leading eBook software makers like MobiPocket. Self-Publishing of eBooks has been going on for a long time (in relative tech terms), so don’t let Apple’s release of iBooks Author give you the impression that this is some sort of new thing.

Several other eBook self-publishing programs exist and you will want to check them out before you start getting locked into an Apple only straightjacket.  For instance, Barnes & Noble has it’s own publishing program called Pubit.  It will allow you to publish your book in the standard EPUB format that works on the Nook, or Kobo eReaders as well as a variety of eReading apps for Android and Apple devices.  Barnes and Noble specifically says:

If I sign up and publish my eBooks with PubIt!, can I sell them anywhere else?

Yes. PubIt! is NOT an exclusive agreement, as outlined in our Terms & Conditions.

A bit different from Apple’s stance.

Amazon has Kindle Direct Publishing that will turn your book into a Kindle eBook that can be read on a Kindle or any Kindle App and can be sold through any Amazon store. The Kindle Fire was one of the fastest selling tablets over Christmas because of its low price.  Many of those Kindle’s have not been opened but just give it time.

One of the most versatile self-publishing enterprises is SmashWords.  Again it helps you publish your book in standard EPUB format so that it can be read on a variety of devices.  You aren’t stuck with only one device vendor.  You can also sell your book in more than one place.  SmashWords can get your eBook sold on Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Apple iPad iBookstore, and Diesel Ebook Store. That’s a whole lot of places where your book can be sold and a lot of devices where your book can be read. 

While Apple has come out with an eReader app for Android devices (the largest segment of smartphones on the market), most people already are using the Aldiko, Nook, Google Books, FB Reader, Kobo, Kindle or other eReader app.  There is nothing intrinsically wonderful about Apple’s iBooks app. 

Regardless of which self-publishing software you go with, please, please, please get someone to edit what you write.  I have read so many eBooks (and paperbacks) where the typos, misspellings and poor grammar are rampant.  You may have a good idea, but if you can’t convey it properly, people are going to stop reading early on and won’t pick up another book you write.

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