Apple Makes It Easier for Self-Published Authors to Sell E-Books in the iBookstore

iBookstore online application

Apple's in an interesting position with the iBookstore, one it's never had in its years of successful content platforms: it has competitors. iTunes, both in music and video, was a pioneer; every other service, from Rhapsody to Napster to Zune, chased iTunes. But there's another giant in the e-book world, and its name is Amazon. And not only does Amazon have 80% of the e-book market, its store is available on Apple's own iPad.

The news that Barnes & Noble is also entering the iPad App Store, which came yesterday, is yet another better-established, more experienced competitor on Apple's home court. Amazon and Barnes & Noble are synonymous with books, and Amazon is the e-book pioneer. Apple is actually the underdog here, and can't let any opportunity to catch up pass them by.

Enter iTunes Connect's new inclusion of self-publishing. Apple has finally opened the doors to self-published authors wanting to list their books in the iBookstore. There's a bit of red tape to go through—each title needs an ISBN number and of course be in the correct format, and each submitter needs a valid iTunes account and U.S. Tax ID number—and the process seems to be a bit slow, as Apple must approve each title. But it's a vital step for the iBookstore: just as iTunes has become a place where unsigned artists can sell their music to a wide audience, e-book stores must support independent authors.

Kindle already has a well-established program of self-publishing, with thousands of authors taking advantage. The iBookstore isn't doing anything new here—but they are taking the proper steps to ensure that, at the very least, they have a fighting chance against Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in San Francisco (no link for that one—you'll have to do the legwork yourself).

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