— Great news for that tortured author inside all of us! All he or she needs is a valid credit card and an iTunes account to submit that (independent) masterwork to sell via Apple's iBookstore. No publisher required — even if restrictions on content remain to be seen.
Of course, like developers submitting apps to iTunes, there are some hoops to jump through beyond Apple's infamously unpredictable moral standards. Submissions must include:
A U.S. tax ID numberAn ISBN number (not as hard as it sounds)Arrive in ePUB format.And authors must have a Mac running OS X 10.5 or better necessary to encode the e-book
Don’t expect instant success. Naturally, Apple must approve each submission and that can take awhile … though some eReader blogs suggest review could take as little as two weeks.
What's more, aspiring authors — as well as those interested in the evolving e-books industry, should keep in mind the seemingly-random moral filters applied to Apple's App Store submissions and other iTunes content.
Apple famously rejected the first version of the "Newspapers" app because the 50-plus newspapers available included the UK's "Sun" newspaper, with its topless "Page 3" girl. What's more, breast-centric apps such as "Asian Boobs" and "Wobble" have been removed, while "Playboy's" "adult app" remains.
"Folks who want porn can buy an Android phone," Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously told one customer via e-mail.
Whatever. It's one thing to ditch obnoxious jiggle apps, but literature is a sensitive topic —thought cannot evolve if erstwhile authors must censor themselves before a random God ... I mean Jobs. Anyway, it's Apple's iBookstore and it can do what it wants and we'll see how it goes.
Meanwhile, expect competition as well, and not just from your fellow independent authors. The iBookstore, previously known for its rather fallow selection of copyright-free content, recently upped its e-book game for the iPad, and is set on becoming serious competition for top e-book seller Amazon with its Kindle. Via new partnerships with top publishers, Apple’s iBookstore offers a growing selection of popular e-books.