Create an interactive eBook for the iPad using iBook Author: THE COMPLETE GUIDE

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Want to create your own interactive eBook for the iPad? It’s actually really simple using the iBooks Author program that Apple provides for free! Writing eBooks has so many awesome business applications and benefits. Books on iPads are the where books are headed. Even our classrooms are reading their text books on an iPad.  To make this easy on you I have put together the complete guide to help walk you through the entire creation and publishing process.

I have created two eBooks using this method and I loved how easy the creation portion was; however, the uploading, publishing and approval process can be sort of tricky.

Never fear! I am going to walk you through the process and you will see it’s never been easier!

Creating your eBook 

The creation part is really easy especially if you already have the text written out on a word document or similar format.


First, you will need to open iBook Author. If you don’t have iBook Author you can download it from the Mac app store.

The first option you have is to choose your template. I often use the contemporary template, but you can choose which ever theme you think fits you and your book the best.



Now that you have you template chosen you can start creating your book.  On the left hand side, you will see many options to edit your book. You can create your book title, add an introduction video and more.

Now all you need to do is start adding your written content. What I like to do is highlight my text from my word document and simply copy and paste it into the template. You can also just drag the document over and drop it into the template.

Once you have your text in the template you can adjust the size, font, add hyperlinks, change color and much more.


 Adding Video to your iBook

Adding video to your iBook is also really easy; however, you need to have the video in the right format. You can drag and drop your video into the iBook and then edit the videos size and location within the book. If you get an error when you try and drop the video into the book then that means the format is not correct.


You can change the video to the right format by opening the video up in Quicktime and then exporting the video to a format that works on iPhones and iPads.




Adding images to your iBook, including cover art images

Adding images can be done the same way. You simply drag the picture you want into the place you like within the iBook. From there,  you can resize the image and move it around to make it look right.

Whatever cover art you have selected to use for your iBook can be easily added. Simply click on book title icon in the top left corner

Drag and drop your cover art image into the book title. From there you may customize the title and add your name or whatever you like to the front cover of your book which now should show your cover art image.

Some themes have a spot for the image at the top of the each section and chapter. You may also drag and drop whatever images you want for those as well.


Editing your iBook

Before you publish your book to the store for thousands of people to potentially see you need to make sure you edit your book. Here are a few items to make sure you check that are easy to miss when it’s your first time creating an iBook.


1) Make sure you have given each title a name so that it shows up correctly in the table of contents. You can do this by selecting the chapter on the left hand column. Right click where is says chapter to the right and then select rename. Rename the chapter to whatever you would like.


2) Make sure all your media is in place and that all your videos are showing and are able to be played. I have had issue where the videos just disappear, so make sure they are all there.


3) You need to make sure that the book looks right from both orientations. At the top of the page you will see a small icon that says orientation.



Click on each and view the book to make sure that everything looks right from both view points.


4) Plug your iPad into your computer and choose the preview option at the top. It’s always best to preview your book on an iPad to make sure everything looks and interacts the way that you desire.



Export your iBook publication and publication preview

Now that you have created your iBook, it’s time to export it so it can be published. First you need to export your publication.


Click on file and go down to export. Then choose iBooks from the menu. Give the iBooks file a name and click export.

Now we need to create a publication preview. If you are going to charge for your iBook then you must create a preview.

In iBook Author go to file and select duplicate, this will create another copy of your iBook in a new window.  Now delete all the chapters except for what you want to be available in the preview (you’re doing this in the duplicated version, not your original version). Now that you have only what you want available for your preview, you can click file at the top and choose export.

Just like you did for the publication you will also choose iBook format and export. I would save this file as your books name and add the word preview to the end so you know which file is which when you go to publish your book.


Publishing your iBook

This is where it can get a little hairy. I would advise that you take the time to watch the training video I have created for you on this one.

First thing you need to do is make sure you have an iTunes Connect Account created. It is free to create this. I just used my Apple Store ID when I created mine.

After you have logged in you need to accept all the terms and conditions and fill out all the information that they require. You can’t sell or distribute your books until you have read and accepted the terms. You also have to fill out the forms they give you to be able to be given credit or paid for the books you sell. This part is a little tedious, but necessary.

You should be able to complete all of that by clicking the Contracts, Tax, and Banking section


Next, you need to download the program that allows you upload your iBook to the store. Click on the Deliver your Content link.


Then download the iTunes Producer program.


This is the program that will allow you publish and upload your iBook.


Before you can publish your iBook you need to purchase an ISBN number. This is how books are identified. Every book that is published has an ISBN number. I purchase my ISBN numbers from ePubBud. They are only $5 from this site and you get your ISBN number instantly. The site that Apple recommends wants to charge over a $100 for an ISBN number.

Now you are ready to to start the publishing process

Open your iTunes Producer program and sign in at the top with your iTunes Connect ID. After your signed in go ahead and select Create New Package.

1) Info tab – Here you will choose your language, title, subtitle, publication date, and number of pages your book contains.  You also need to fill out a nice book description on the right hand side. Make sure place your ISBN number in the ISBN number box. Click next.

2) Categories – Here you just simply choose the category that best describes your book.

3) Authors – Here you will click add Author and then put your name in the author box.

4) Target Audience – Here you will choose who your target audience will be.

5) Related Products – If there is any related books you want to include you may place the ISBN of those books here.

6) Rights & Pricing – In this tab you will choose if you are going to charge for your iBook or give it away for free. You may choose your price tier if you want to make money from your iBook.


Now that you have completed the Book section of the producer you are ready to move on to the Assets portion. At the top you will now click on Assets


The first screen you see will have an option to upload a publication and preview. The publication is your iBook that you exported earlier and the preview is the preview that you exported. Go ahead and click on the choose button and select the correct publication and then publication preview.  After you have chose both files you may click next.

Now you are ready to choose your cover art image. I simply just took a screen shot of the cover art image within the iBook author program and used that. You may have to open the image in your Mac’s preview program and then save the image as a jpeg.  After you are done with this, you may click next.


It’s time now to upload a few screen shots. What you need to do here is open the iBook on your iPad. If you did the preview iPad step then your iBook should already be viewable on your iPad’s iBook app. Take two or three screenshots of your book. You can take a screen shot on the iPad by pressing the power button and the home button at the same time. After you have your screen shots taken you want to transfer them to your computer (I just email them to myself) and open them in preview and save as a jpeg file. Take your jpeg screenshots and add them to the producer program by click add screen shot.  After you’re done click next.


Delivery of your iBook to the store!

If you have done all these steps correctly then you should be ready to press the delivery button and start the upload process! Any errors that you may have should be listed for you. Make sure you correct any errors before trying to deliver your book.


Managing your iBook


Ok, now that you have your book uploaded to your iTunes Connect account you can begin to manage and track its success. It can take several days, or even weeks, for the approval process. If there is any format issues that prevent the iBook from being approved you will be able to see them from your iTunes Connect account.  As you can see in this screen shot, one of my books is in the store and the other is not. The book that is not in store is still pending review.



After your book has been approved and placed in the iBooks store you can easily check your success by clicking the Sales and Trends link to get your daily and weekly sales information.




I hope that you have found this iBook Author guide helpful. I put a lot of time and effort into this complete guide and my hope is that you benefit and that this helps you find freedom online. eBooks are an amazing way to generate income and create a following. Good luck to you. Please leave me some feedback in the comments below. Feel free to plug any iBook that you have created using iBook Author.

Image by adamr

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  1. Suzanne Grimaud says

    I subscribed to your newsletter and was in process of downloading the Social Media Secret Weapon ebook when I had a computer issue. I did not get it downloaded. Can you email me the link? Thank you!

  2. Anne Pearson says

    My biggest concern is with copyright violations and making sure pictures and videos I use are approved for including my book. Any suggestions for a quick and easy way to do that? If, as a teacher, I want to share my book for free, does that count as “for educational purposes”? Or does that mean only for my classes or school?

    • Shawn Ozbun says


      Great question. I was concerned about that too. There are a lot of sites out there where you can buy or download for free, royalty free pics to use for your book. I purchase mine to be safe. There are very inexpensive.

      Let me know if that helps


  3. says

    Hey Shawn, great post and video. Thanks mucho! But I do have a quick question –

    I’ve read elsewhere that I cannot use the iTunes Connect account associated with my app distribution, that I need to create a new one. I’d prefer to keep the management of apps and books all in one place and Apple already has all my banking info. But my current iTunes Connect acct dashboard doesn’t offer access to the “Deliver” icon to take me to iTunes Producer.

    So do I in fact need a whole new Apple ID and iTunes Connect acct to publish my iBook? Thanks! Sarah

    • shawn ozbun says


      That’s a great question but I’m really not sure. Seems silly they would make you do that. I would just email Apple to find out for sure. Sorry I couldn’t help much on this one…

  4. Michael says

    Hello Shawn,
    Enjoy you teaching videos and like you website here.

    Have a question in regards to an alternate to using iauthor as iauthor limits you to selling only thru apple ibooks can we for example use Apple Pages to create ebooks then export as epub to 1: apple and then also export to say 2: kindle via there format? Or does Apple Pages also restrict you to selling only thru Apple ibooks?

    regards Michael

    • shawn ozbun says

      The way I understand it is that anything created using iBook Author has to be used as either a free eBook given away on your webpage or iBooks. If it’s an eBook you are selling then it has to be sold in the iBooks store only.


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