How to Publish and Distribute Ebooks to

Apple iBooks


Make your book available to iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch readers

It's quick, easy and FREE with Smashwords!


Set your own price. Earn 60% of the list price


Apple is the world's #2 seller of ebooks! - Most authors don't realize how quickly the Apple iBooks store has grown since it's launch in early 2010.  In 2012, Apple was the the world's second largest seller of ebooks.  In 2013, iBooks gained the #2 position in the US market.  If your books aren't at Apple, you're missing out.  The information below will help you get your books to Apple quickly, and will help you maximize your success on their store.  Smashwords is an authorized global aggregator (distributor) serving Apple.  We'll help you get your books to Apple quickly, easily, and at no cost!

Smashwords is an Apple-authorized global aggregator.  We provide fast, free and convenient distribution to the Apple iBookstore in 51 different countries.  As of October 24, 2012, we distribute to the following Apple iBookstores:   Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K., Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and New Zealand and the US (more coming!).

Smashwords also distributes to multiple other leading retailers including Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo.

Smashwords is a self-serve service. Simply follow the simple steps below to get started.


Apple iBooks Publishing Checklist

1. REGISTER: Sign up for a free Smashwords account, if you haven't already. Choose a "member name" that corresponds with the pen name or publisher name you will be using. Choose carefully, you cannot change it later.

2. DISCOVER: Browse the resources links at the bottom of How to Publish at Smashwords page. If you carefully study the links and resources, you'll find it's much easier and faster to get your book approved and distributed to Apple.

3. FORMAT: Study and implement the Smashwords Style Guide so you can learn how to format your ebook to the requirements of Apple and our other retailers.  Your book must be uploaded to Smashwords as a Microsoft Word .doc file (recommended for most narrative fiction and non-fiction) or as a professionally designed .epub (it must conform to the Style Guide requirements). Click here to learn more about our direct .epub upload option.  You cannot upload a PDF or MOBI as your source file. Most authors upload a Word .doc.  While we encourage authors to do their own formatting (it's free and easy if you follow the Style Guide step by step), if you do not have the skills, patience or time to format your book to our requirements, send an email to and request Mark's List of low cost formatters and cover designers. You can click here to access the list online.  Their fees start at only around $40 for formatting. We do not earn a commission or referral fee, so you will hire the contractor, not Smashwords. These folks are on the list because they have done good work for other Smashwords authors.

4. COVER IMAGE: You will need a quality book cover image (JPEG file), and it must be a vertical rectangle shape (height greater than width), at least 1,400 pixels wide, and the cover should include both the title and the author name. The cover cannot be a greyscale image (i.e. black and white only), and it cannot contain hyperlinks, pricing information or web site addresses (it's not considerate to Apple to direct your prospective customers elsewhere). As with all Smashwords ebook covers, keep the image PG-13 (no nudity).  Learn more about cover requirements here.

5. CONTENT RESTRICTIONS: To publish on Smashwords, you must be the original author or the exclusive digital publisher or distributor. Your book must satisfy the Smashwords Terms of Service. Smashwords, as well as Apple and our other retailers, strictly forbid content that encourages illegal activities, promotes intolerance or discrimination, invades the privacy of any person, or that slanders or libels a person or organization. Erotica that depicts underage persons engaged in, witnessing or imagining sexual acts is stricty prohibited, and may result in immediate Smashwords account deletion, forfeiture of earnings, and banning from our distribution channels.  Common sense, folks.  Kids don't belong in erotica.  Apple does not accept erotica books with themes of bestiality or incest. 

6. PRICE, ATTACH & UPLOAD: Once you have carefully formatted your book to the Style Guide, click the Publish link at the top of any page. Carefully fill out the information. Apple prices ebooks in 99 cent increments (every price must end in $.99, so $.99, $1.99, $2.99, etc.), so we encourage you to do the same, otherwise we will round up your price to the nearest 99 cent increment (you don't want your $1.00 book at Smashwords priced at $1.99 at Apple.  Price it at $.99 instead). Triple check every field is completed before you click the publish button at the bottom of the page. If you experience problems uploading, this troubleshooting FAQ will help.

7. MEATGRINDER CONVERSION: After you click the publish button, your browser will pause as it uploads your information to our servers. Once we receive the book (usually takes ~30 seconds depending on your file size and Internet speed), you'll see it progress to a conversion page with a spinning wheel. Most conversions take under four minutes.  You can watch the wheel turn, or you can click away. If you watch, at the end of the conversion you may see AutoVetter messages, suggesting probable formatting problems. Take these recommendations seriously. If you decide to click away and not watch the conversion, watch for an email confirmation that will flag potential formatting problems, if any.  The sooner your fix any AutoVetter errors, the faster we can distribute your book to Apple!

8. CHECK FOR INSTRUCTIONS: Check your Dashboard. What does it say under the "Premium Status" column? You want it to say "Pending review" or "Accepted." It usually takes a couple days for us to manually review and approve your title for the Premium Catalog. If it says "Requires Modification," click the link for instructions, where you'll find AutoVetter messages and/or personal notes to you from our reviewers. If your book requires modification, it means you probably did not accurately implement the Smashwords Style Guide. You'll find additional tips if you scroll down that page.

9. UPLOAD NEW VERSION (ONLY IF REQUIRED): If you were asked to revise the book, after you're done with the revisions return to your Dashboard and beside the book title, click "Upload new version." Please  NEVER NEVER go back to Step 7 to re-publish a book you already published. This will cause duplicate titles and will interfere with distribution (authors who deliberately attempt to game our systems by repeatedly republishing books as new in an attempt to reappear on the Smashwords home page may have their accounts disabled). However, you are welcome to upload updated versions via the "upload new version" link in your Dashboard as often as you wish.

10. VALIDATE YOUR EPUB: If you upload a Word .doc file, once your ebook conversion completes, we'll output your book in multiple formats, including .epub, the format used by Apple and every retailer except Amazon. If you upload an .epub, we won't convert into other formats.  Apple requires that your .epub file pass the EPUBCHECK validator. Most books pass 100%. If your book fails, we'll tell you via on-screen notifications and email.  Visit our EPUBCHECK HELP page for information on how to repair EpubCheck errors.

11. ASSIGN AN ISBN: Apple (as well as Sony and Kobo) requires your book have an ISBN. Go the our ISBN Manager page to learn about ISBNs and assign one to your book. Your ebook ISBN must be different than the print book ISBN. We can assign you a free ISBN, or you can obtain one from your local ISBN registrar.  We recommend our FREE ISBN because it's free!

12. SHIPMENT: After your book is accepted to the Premium Catalog, and you've assigned your ISBN, then your job is done. Now you wait for Smashwords to distribute your book to Apple. We ship to the Apple iBooks at least once daily on business days and some weekends. After we ship, it will usually appear in Apple iBooks within a few days, although delays are possible on Apple's end. Apple manually reviews all incoming titles prior to listing them. Erotica can take several weeks it is subject to additional manual review at Apple. Check the shipment status in your Channel Manager. After the book ships to iBooks, check your Dashboard under the "Retailer Tickets" column.  Apple manually reviews your book prior to listing it.  If they find a problem with it that will prevent listing, they generate at "ticket" and pass this ticket to Smashwords.  Starting in December 2013, Smashwords began sharing these tickets with you in your Dashboard.  Learn more at our Ticket Help page.

13. PROMOTE YOUR BOOK: Download the free Smashwords Book Marketing Guide for an extensive list of book marketing ideas, all of which are free to implement. Learn what Smashwords does to market your book, and what you can do for yourself.

14. LEARN THE SECRETS TO EBOOK PUBLISHING SUCCESS:  Download our free ebook, The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success, and learn the best practices of the most commercially successful ebook authors.  This book will teach you how to become a more professional, more successful publisher.

15. Read our blog post, How to Sell Ebooks at the Apple iBookstore:  This blog post reveals useful tips and tricks that will help you reach more readers at Apple.

16.  Check out our video workshops on Youtube, including An Introduction to Ebook Publishing, Ebook Publishing Best Practices, and Apple Merchandising Secrets.  Over eight hours of online workshops to help you publish like a pro!

17 GET PAID: For all sales at Apple, you will earn 60% of the retail price you set, less VAT (if any). Smashwords pays quarterly on all monies received by Smashwords on your behalf as of the end of each quarter. Keep in mind this means there is a lag time between the time a customer purchases a book at Apple and that money is transfered to Smashwords. To learn more about how we pay you your earnings, and the earnings-share rates for all of our different sales channels, see this Smashwords Royalty FAQ and also see your Smashwords Dashboard's Sales and Payments Report, where you'll find a full accounting of all sales.

BONUS ROUND: Read the entire Smashwords FAQ to become a Smashwords expert, and learn how to get the most from the Smashwords platform.

DOUBLE BONUS: Tell a friend about Smashwords!




Quick Links: Learn More About Publishing at Smashwords

1. Read our Frequently Asked Questions

2. Read the Smashwords Style Guide for important ebook formatting tips

3. Watch our Smashwords Video Workshops at Youtube.  Multiple workshops to choose from, all free to enjoy at your leisure.

3. Learn how and where Smashwords distributes books, and learn how to gain inclusion for your titles in the Smashwords Premium Catalog, which is distributed to mainstream ebook retailers such as Barnes & Noble.

4. Read the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide for an overview of what we offer authors and publishers.

5. Read the Q&A with Mark Coker, our founder

6. Read our terms of service (our publishing contract with you)

7. Read the buzz about Smashwords in our press room

8. Read and subscribe to the Smashwords blog, where we share updates and trends of interest to Smashwords authors and publishers. The blog offers a huge archive of older posts and interviews, many of which are as relevent today as they were a year or two ago.

9. Read the Site Updates page at Smashwords. Here, we provide regular updates about Smashwords developments and known bugs.