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Are any iBooks Author books coming out?

710 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Apr 19, 2012 12:58 AM by thye chean RSS
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Michael Levenston Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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Apr 18, 2012 12:23 PM

We all hear about the seemingly difficult process of getting an iBooks Author book through Apple's gates. It would be nice to see what is emerging as finally published books. We've seen a few mentioned here but where are the new titles coming out this week? Are free books arriving faster than paid books? I've scanned the new releases listed in iTunes and the iBooks Store but see little that resembles an iBooks Author publication, certainly few showcasing screenshots and enhanced features.

 

I've been waiting for Maria Langer's new 'enhanced' book on iBooks Author but saw this disheartening paragraph on here blog:

 

April 7, 2012 Update: One of the two tickets on my book has disappeared, but the other remains. Despite several attempts to contact Apple, it’s still unclear whether they realize that I have resolved this ticket. I keep getting canned responses that do not indicate whether they are following up on my problem. It seems to me as if they’re just sending out a response without even looking up the situation. I’m frustrated beyond belief at this point and angry about potential lost sales. And there’s no one at Apple who I can contact to get a definitive answer. Clearly, the iBooks Author publishing experience is broken and Apple is uninterested in fixing it.

-------

 

I'm hoping for some good news from this Forum.

  • thye chean Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 3:31 PM (in response to Michael Levenston)

    The wait is so riduculous for my Music books (with music video) that I decided to redo the books as apps.

     

    Takes me about a week to reimplement. Supports both iPhone and iPad, then I submitted the apps.

     

    The apps are being approved today - within a week! They have no restrictions on languages and open to the world (not just 32 stores), while my beautifully designed iBooks are still waiting.

     

    Just redo the books as apps if it is possible.

  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
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    Apr 18, 2012 4:45 PM (in response to thye chean)

    thye chean wrote:

     

    The apps are being approved today - within a week! They have no restrictions on languages and open to the world (not just 32 stores), while my beautifully designed iBooks are still waiting.

     

    Just redo the books as apps if it is possible.

    The problem with this is that it's a lot of work, especially if a book uses lots of widgets and the like (besides being probably beyond the skill level of many people who use IBA).

     

    I guess your experience just underscores how completely messed up the submission and review process is.

     

    Michi.

  • thye chean Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 4:55 PM (in response to MichiHenning)

    Yes, you are right. I basically "wasted" 2 months of our life in this iBookstore, and only half the books approved (with 2 pulled after approved), so we just keep them there and don't care anymore.

     

    Some books are better ported to Kindle/Nook, but for multimedia books, porting to apps is another choice. In our case, our books are children books which do not have many pages but have a lot of videos, this is a good fit. The new storyboard feature of iOS development makes writing a book-like app much easier than ever (still way harder than iBooks Author), but we are able to pulled out some apps within a week. And got 3 out of 4 apps approved within another week.

     

    Today I am uploading revisions to the apps without concerned that they might be pulled or another 2 months review process feels great.

  • K T Level 7 Level 7 (23,215 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 4:59 PM (in response to MichiHenning)

    MichiHenning wrote:

     

    I guess your experience just underscores how completely messed up the submission and review process is.

    The app review process is in it's 4th year and is responsible for vetting over 1k apps per day. Experienced devs know that process is routinely tweaked and not issue free, but over there things continue to move forward.

     

    Apple does for Apple and goes at a speed that only serves Apple...ever. Apple never promised anything more or less to anyone. If anyone thinks Apple owes something different to them in this relationship, they need to wise up.

     

    You can rag and bang on the process with as much indignation thrown Apple's way all you want, but the one thing that will serve you the most is patience in all cases. The next is feedback directly to Apple, which for iBA is the Feedback menu. Coming here w/nothing but me-mad-too is just venting and that gets old quickly. 

     

    I hear /. is still a good place to rant in public, BTW

  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 5:08 PM (in response to K T)

    K T wrote:

     

    The app review process is in it's 4th year and is responsible for vetting over 1k apps per day. Experienced devs know that process is routinely tweaked and not issue free, but over there things continue to move forward.

    That makes it even more surprising that Apple apparently have not been able to transfer their extensive experience when it comes to the eBook publishing process.

     

    K T wrote:

     

    You can rag and bang on the process with as much indignation thrown Apple's way all you want, but the one thing that will serve you the most is patience in all cases. The next is feedback directly to Apple, which for iBA is the Feedback menu. Coming here w/nothing but me-mad-too is just venting and that gets old quickly.

    As far as I know, expressing criticism in this forum of things that don't work is just as legitimate as expressing praise for things that do work.

     

    The very large number of people who have experienced major problems with the submission process is a good indication that the process has a problem. Or are you suggesting that all the people complaining around here suffer from some sort of mass delusion?

     

    You are entitled to your opinion as much as I am entitled to mine. As I previously suggested, if you have a problem with what I am posting here, take it up with me via email rather than doing it here in the forum.

     

    Michi.

  • Sputnik Slim Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 6:41 PM (in response to MichiHenning)

    One thing that confounds me is why people spend 1-2 months writing their  eBook (with some it may be their first book ever!) and then get frustrated & upset when the book is not approved in a few days or even weeks, or even longer. Is it possible that there are a good many really crappy books being submitted via IBA and they are wading thru them? Just because you can plug content into a new format does not mean it is worthy of being published. I can't imagine that ALL the books submitted are worthy of being published. A friend worked as a reader at a large publishing house and would tell me of the reams of really bad submissions that they had to wade through to get just one that was worth being sent up the chain. Six month waits of simply learning that your query was received were/are common. Actually getting published...rare.

     

    Did all those really bad writers just go away with the advent of self-publishing on the internet? Who is editing their books at this point? Self-publishing = self-editing?

     

    These "long" waits people are complaining of should be encouraging that you are submitting your books to an entity that is exercising quality control rather than just publishing them all, like a blog... I wonder what the rejection rate is for IBA? I can't imagine Apple would fill their bookstore with poorly edited books.

  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 7:32 PM (in response to Sputnik Slim)

    Sputnik Slim wrote:

     

    Is it possible that there are a good many really crappy books being submitted via IBA and they are wading thru them?

    It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that a large proporption of books is of poor quality, with spelling, grammar, editing, typography, and layout problems. Having worked as both an editor and author on and off for many years, I know first-hand that, what some people consider quality writing in fact isn't…

     

    A big danger with any publishing program or word processor is that, even though the program is capable of producing professional output, the professional output doesn't come from the tool, but the author. I still need to know about typography, about design (partially taken care of by IBA with its templates), about style and grammar, about presenting material with proper logical flow, etc…

     

    Just because I have tool doesn't mean that I can produce publishable material. That's where the whole process is flawed, in my opinion. Publishers normally provide services to authors that ensure some level of quality, such as copy editing, proof reading, layout design, and so on. With the iBookstore process, none of these services are provided by Apple, who merely acts in a distributor role. Many authors are not capable of doing all the things that publishers traditionally do, so a big chunk of what makes a book a good book has gone missing. Traditional publishers actually do add value for their share of the revenue.

    Sputnik Slim wrote:

     

    These "long" waits people are complaining of should be encouraging that you are submitting your books to an entity that is exercising quality control rather than just publishing them all, like a blog... I wonder what the rejection rate is for IBA? I can't imagine Apple would fill their bookstore with poorly edited books.

    We can only speculate what the reasons for the long wait are. Could be under-resourcing by Apple, could be that they are swamped, could be a combination of both.

     

    It is striking though that submissions to the Appstore seem to go through so much quicker even though, arguably, applications are harder to test than books. As other people here have reported, they get a book as an app improved within a week, whereas no such thing seems currently possible with an eBook. Either apps are not reviewed as thoroughly as books, or the app review process is much better resourced.

    Sputnik Slim wrote:

     

    I wonder what the rejection rate is for IBA? I can't imagine Apple would fill their bookstore with poorly edited books.

    No way to know what the rejection rate is, unless Apple decide to publish that (which I doubt the will). Having a bookstore full of junk or poorly written material is certainly not in Apple's interest. On the other hand, neither is having an appstore full of buggy and poorly written applications.

     

    I think an initial wait time of four weeks would be tolerable for new submissions, if only the process were streamlined more. For example, telling people that something is wrong with their book without providing the detail needed for them to fix the problem is truly useless: it wastes the author's time as much as Apple's. And, once minor fixes are made, having the book go back to the end of the queue is simply bad process.

     

    Michi.

  • Sputnik Slim Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 8:23 PM (in response to MichiHenning)

    Just a thought, do apps require an ISBN #?

  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
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    Apr 18, 2012 8:24 PM (in response to Sputnik Slim)

    Good question!

     

    Michi.

  • thye chean Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
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    Apr 18, 2012 8:27 PM (in response to Sputnik Slim)

    No.

     

    In fact, besides the fact that iBooks Author is much easier to use, there isn't a lot of reasons to do eBooks in iBookstore. App Store also have Books categories (or places that make more sense, like Education).

     

    Just hired someone to do the app version will do.

  • Sputnik Slim Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 8:51 PM (in response to MichiHenning)

    If no ISBN is required as thye says, then I would think that is one reason why apps appear to fly through.... but what about the quality thing? Are apps not as well vetted for quality and they just fall to the bottom if they are poorly done?

  • thye chean Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 9:01 PM (in response to Sputnik Slim)

    Apple did check for quality - this includes crashes, whether the UI fits iPhone/iPad in some cases, supports for at least 2 orientations for iPad, utility value (one of my test app that shows flying pictures like screensaver got rejected for minimum utility), etc.

     

    Of course there are MUCH more apps than books, I just read a story about Apple has 26,000 apps to review PER week, up from 8500 apps per week in 2008. I doubt there are so many iBooks for iBookstore to review per week (I will be glad to be wrong). So there will be some inferior apps, and some superb apps.

     

    Maybe the iBookstore team did have to read through every books and reviewed them for typos and errors, that might explain why it is so ridiculously slow.

  • K T Level 7 Level 7 (23,215 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 18, 2012 9:33 PM (in response to thye chean)

    Apples iBA FAQ says that while a book with excessive errors will be rejected, typos etc, are not exhaustively surveyed in toto, meaning they look at a representative sample, give it a score and move to another metric. I think once the basic metrics are inspected, an initial score either causes an outright rejection or it moves to the next level of checks. Wash, rinse, repeat until the overall process is satisified. These checks are assumed to be a combination of human and machine oriented steps.

     

    Submitting a book to Apple is not at all like submitting a book to a publisher. This process is self-publishing 2012 writ large, and the rewards of that approach do not escape the risk particulars when Apple is involved and doing for Apple. In the end, the results are meant to attract platform users to the store again and again. They are not meant to help authors bring their works to waiting users - Apple does for Apple...this isn't news.

  • MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 19, 2012 12:35 AM (in response to Sputnik Slim)

    Sputnik Slim wrote:

     

    If no ISBN is required as thye says, then I would think that is one reason why apps appear to fly through...

    I don't think so. That's because I can't submit a paid book until after I have the ISBN for it, so the ISBN can't be the reason for the delays.

    Sputnik Slim wrote:

     

    but what about the quality thing? Are apps not as well vetted for quality and they just fall to the bottom if they are poorly done?

    I don't know whether they are as well vetted. But, if someone can get their book through in a week as an app, that means that the app review process either is better resourced, or not as thorough, or both.

     

    Michi.

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