Using Scrivener and iBooks Author to Create an iTunes iBook

As many of you know, I absolutely love Scrivener, which is in many ways so much more than a word processor.  If you are a do-it-yourself publisher and just want to publish a book through iTunes, you will need a couple of things first:

  1. An iTunes sales account.  Sign up here.
  2. Scrivener for Mac or for PC – (note, this tutorial is for the Mac version, but the PC version is not much different.)
  3. iBook Author and iTunes Producer.  Both are free apps/programs, however, there are not currently PC versions of these programs, so as I type this post this tutorial will only be for Mac.  My apologies to my PC friends.  PC users will have to create a stripped down Word version that can then be uploaded to Smashwords and then people can buy your book (or get it for free, your choice) from Smashwords.  For more information about uploading to Smashwords so that customers with iPads and iPhones can read your book, check this site.
  4. An ISBN number.  There are a couple of options here:
  • Bowker is the only one to sell these (kind of a monopoly), but you will need a separate ISBN for an iTunes version of your book.  It pays to purchase in bulk, since one is $100 while 10 of them will run you $250.
  • Using the ISBN of your CreateSpace or Outskirts Press or Lulu print book is not an option since the ISBN lists who published the book, and your iTunes listed ISBN will be published by one of those self-publishing companies.  This can be a bad thing.   For more about this, read this article.
  • You can also go to E-pub Bud and buy one for $9 if you don’t mind E-pub Bud being your publisher.

Step 1: Open Scrivener and select File –> Compile

Step 2: Select “iBooks Author Chapters”.  You do not need to enter any front matter, but if you do, you can select the copyright page, the disclaimer or the dedication page.  Format can be “Custom” because it doesn’t matter.  What Scrivener will do when you select “Compile” is turn your chapters into individual *.docx files that will be placed in a handy folder on your desktop under your project’s title.

Look at all of these chapter files. Note that you do not have to have Word installed to create an iBook for iTunes, but iBook will only take that format of file. Weird because Pages is kind of Apple’s baby. Scrivener has you covered, though.

Step 3: Open up iBooks Author and then select “Classic Text” and then “Choose”.  I feel that the “Classic Text” template is the best one to work with if you simply want a nice looking plain text iBook.  Once you open it up, you will be able to play around with the cover page and the look of the iBook.  Right away, you should delete the first page of the book template, because you will have a page full of Latin text at the beginning of your book.  It will take some playing around with the format for a while, but it is pretty user friendly (except for importing your files all at once, because it doesn’t do that).  It does allow you to put in some intro media like a book trailer, automates your table of contents and will even create a glossary if you like.

Once you have your “Book Title” page looking like you want it, select “Insert” then “Chapter from Pages or Word document”.  This will allow you to pull up each file one at a time (bummer) and then select what type of page it will be.

Step 4:  As I stated, each chapter file must be manually inserted into the iBook template.  This is a flaw that needs to be remedied, but I’m sure that Apple is probably working on it for the next update (at least I hope).  My current novel (should I use this format) has over 135 chapters.  Get ready for a long afternoon.

Once you select the file you want, iBooks Author will ask what type of layout you want for the chapter.  You have choices of “copyright page”, “preface” for dedication pages and forwards, and of course “chapter text” for individual chapters.  There are many choices of page layouts for pretty much anything you would need.  Once you select “choose”, the chapter will be automatically placed in the book.  Edit the chapter titles, and it will be automatically updated in the binder on the left side under “Book”.

Step 5: Start Publishing – If you click the handy icon at the top of the screen called “publish”, you will get this handy dialogue window that will lead you through the process of finalizing your iBook for publishing to iTunes.  Again, you have to have an ISBN and an iTunes sales account.  Fill out the forms (they are incredibly easy to follow) but if you need help, Apple has written this lovely tutorial on using iBook Author.  This step also includes uploading cover art, typing out a good blurb about your book, author information, etc.

Once you finish, upload the book through through iTunes Producer, which should automatically load once you reach the “export book” step in the production process.

So there you have it.  In a few days of waiting for iTunes to approve your title, you should have an iTunes version of your book for sale on iTunes!

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

19 thoughts on “Using Scrivener and iBooks Author to Create an iTunes iBook

  1. Thanks Roger, for this comprehensive post. Just what I need to go through Scrivener (my favourite, of course) instead of starting from the scratch from iBook author. I appreciate.

  2. This is a great tutorial, but you don’t address my biggest question: Aren’t books for the iPad sold through iBooks? If you create a book for iTunes, is that different from creating a book for iBooks?

  3. This is an excellent tutorial, Roger. Thanks! Bookmarked and sending people your way. I’m looking forward to hearing your new podcast, too. Best of luck,

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