10 Comments

Summary:

Budding authors are often only budding because it’s so difficult to get published. Apple has rolled out an opportunity that has big potential for unknown writers to get works published on a major online book outlet. The iBookstore is now open for such business.

iBooks

Budding authors are often only budding because it’s so difficult to get published. Many have that great novel written with no viable outlet to get it into reader’s hands. E-books have made it possible to breach that barrier, with a number of outlets that work with authors to get work published in digital form. Apple has rolled out such an opportunity that has big potential for unknown writers to get works published on a major online book outlet. The iBookstore is Apple’s venue for selling e-books for the iPad and the iPhone, and it’s now open to those wishing to publish their own books.

Apple looks to be approaching this correctly, with simple rules that must be followed to get works accepted for sale in the iBookstore. Any book must have a valid ISBN number and be submitted in a valid ePub format, neither of which is difficult to do. Authors must also have a U.S. tax ID and an iTunes store account, meaning those outside the U.S. are left out of the iBookstore for now.

It’s not clear what cut Apple is taking from book sales published this way, but for those trying desperately to get their works out in the public this is a major outlet full of potential. You’ve always planned on writing that great novel, now you have a place to sell it. I can already envision the first novel to go viral in the iBookstore, bringing fame and fortune to some writer.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Irrational Exuberance Over E-Books?

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  1. Wang Hung Lo Friday, May 28, 2010

    The iPad is HUGE. Waiting lines are forming throughout Europa. They cannot keep them in stock. iPad 3G sellout in all U.S. stores. Predicted to sell more than 5 million this year alone. Could sell 10 million but cannot make them fast enough. iPad is white hot !

    Hope the upcoming flood of ultra cheap pornographic Android Slates don’t slow the iPad momentum. Me thinks not since iPad is a much more polished and professional designed tablet with much dazzling content and awesome games.

    Just my opinion. Loving my iPad everyday so far.

  2. “Budding authors are often only budding because it’s so difficult to get published.”

    And it’s difficult to get published because there is a process in place to determine if your novel is marketable to a large audience and meets editorial standards. Self-publishing is vanity press. It’s called vanity press because there are no editorial or writing standards being used in self-publishing.

    Having an ISBN for the book does not make a self-published book credible since there are – again – no standards for obtaining one, you simply have to apply. It’s only a unique identifier for the book.

    I’m not happy about this. Having read a fair number of poorly written e-published books over the years (and to be fair, not all print books I read should have been published either), but self-publishing is not a business model to replace standard publishing and no one should expect to get rich off it.

    I only hope there’s a way to hide those books in the store, because (hmmm, a lot like the App Store), I’m tired of looking for what I want in all the crud.

    1. James Kendrick Pam T. Friday, May 28, 2010

      I hear what you’re saying but those inferior works don’t typically sell very well. I don’t care if such works get in the bookstore, they’ll just get trashed by reviews.

      I do believe this will allow those with good talent and works to get published, and it is the critical buying public that will tout their wares. That’s what I’m hoping for, anyway. Maybe I am too naive.

    2. The publishing industry is currently a dinosaur – the book publishers had to select surefire winners because printing had historically required a large capital outlay without a sure return. Frinctionless low cost electronic publishing removes this constraint. So the point is that now the power of selecting a “good novel” is not solely in the hands of the publishers. Note that it does it stop those publishers continuing in business – they can still continue to select novels to promote through marketing and PR and nobody is forcing you to read self published books – you can still just read the blockbusters the publishers market to you.

      The frictionless nature of iPad book publishing means that anyone can try their own hand at it – write, publish and market yourself. If you actually have a good book the publishers and their artifical bandwidth constraints are not the only game in town.

      The real shame here is that the same argments apply to music and increasingly to film production. The expenses of production and distribution have been removed and the record & film companies are reduced to funding blockbusters and marketing houses. Sadly Apple seem unduly afraid of these two groups otherwise you can bet they would provide the same route for unsigned bands and indie filmmakers.

      Note that there are some comapnies (e.g. http://www.ideadistributors.com) attempting to do this.

  3. It will be very, very hard to tell the crud apart from the good books. A hundred bad experiences at $1 each just to find something worth reading will push the cause of literacy back a thousand years.*

    *Some exaggerations may apply.

    1. Have you been to a library ? They is filled with tons of crappy books. You have always had to wade through the bad ones to find the jewels. At least with a digital library it will be quicker to discover the good ones and let everybody know (at least it should be easier).

  4. A Tax ID does not keep non-US residents out. a TIN differs from a SSN. Anyone can fairly easily get an ITIN.

  5. I wonder if this would make any “budding” authors less attractive to actual publication deals, what with the ebook component being more or less cannibalised… All my published friends like those deals because they allow you to even out your own revenue while you’re actually writing.

  6. Its always been possible to have your book printed yourself without a big publisher and sell it through Amazon and specialty book stores. The main role of the publisher has been to pay the upfront costs and to promote and sell the book when it is finished. A self published author gets no upfront advance and usually skimps on editing and independent reviews of their work that a publisher would otherwise provide. … Without expensive marketing and promotion done by the publisher you would be lucky to get any sales at all. You can do some marketing yourself, but not as well, or as inexpensively, as a publisher can do it with their contacts, reputation and volume.

    Vanity presses have always taken advantage of budding authors by charging upfront for services to edit, print, bind, etc.., books that will never be able to make money. That’s OK when the author knows the book won’t sell but wants copies anyway for personal reasons but not when the author is lead to think they will make money by paying all the upfront fees themselves. At least with eBook publishing there is no printing, binding or inventory cost, but quality editing and critiquing can still run into the thousands if the author even bothers. The majority won’t and the reputation of all of them will suffer because of it.

  7. I am an Australian author that has the perfect book for Apple to attract new readers to E books. I understand Apple and your team are not ready for Australian authors, but this is the real deal and I am plagued by book selling expos to give them my banking details so they can sell my book;
    The Male Harlot’ to countries such as China. Microsoft told me not to give my banking details to anyone, and yet to me there does not appear to be anyother way to break into the International market. I do not have a website, ISBN number or a US tax file. I do not have any money and yet I have a book that will blow the sox off Justice departments, colleges, professionals, as well as teenagers on the prowl.

    Would your team let me know if there is a way around all the restrictions, or when you eventually allow Australians to be a part of the EBook reveolution.

    I need your help gang. Any ideas.

    Kindly yours

    Larry Campbell. area code 07- 47784209 Queensland Australia.

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