How To Publish Your Book On The iPad

If you own the digital rights to your book, then you can publish your book/s on the iPad. You don’t have to be published through big name publishers to make it into the iBookstore. Exciting!

Here are your options so far (no doubt more are coming!):

Smashwords. Definitely the most egalitarian distributor out there, Smashwords now has distribution deals with Apple for the iPad as well as Amazon for the Kindle, Sony for the eReader and Barnes & You can load your book for free onto the site but it does need to conform to specific guidelines in order to make the Premium catalogue which includes the iPad, for example, it needs an ISBN. Check this article for how to ensure you get distributed.

Price: FREE (but you will need to spend some time formatting)

Amazon DTP for Kindle. The Kindle app is available on the iPad so if you publish on the Kindle you can still get onto the iPad. Go to There are lots of help documents!

Price: FREE (but you will need to spend some time formatting – check out this podcast with Joshua Tallent from EBookArchitects for help. Lulu is one of the top print on demand distributors and they are offering a way to get onto the iPad as well as offering a free iPad with some of their packages. Lulu is aimed at helping authors self publish and has various packages offering services, for example, if you don’t want to DIY formatting you will need some help.

Price: $2399 upwards (not for the faint-hearted!). I am mentioning this because I want to include the many ways you can get on the iPad but as I have posted before, self publishing should cost you nothing.

Create your own iPad app. Most iPhone apps will function on the iPad so if you have one in progress, then it’s still a good option. Check out this podcast on how to create your own iPhone app for more info. The developer’s kit for the iPad is now available and there will be a truckload of new apps coming out for the iPad soon.

Price: $$$$ (depends on what kind of app you want, but certainly not free!)

Disclaimer: ok, so I need to modify my own ebooks on Smashwords before they get on the iPad. I usually only post on what I have done myself, but this is so exciting, I thought you would like to know!

Update 1 June 2010: You can now self publish direct to the iPad iBookstore but only if you have a US tax number.

I now offer a multi-media online short course on how to publish your book on the Kindle, iPad, Nook and other e-readers as well as answers to all your ebook publishing questions. Featuring video, audio and PDF information for only $39.99.

Click here for all the details.

Images: Flickr CC iBooks Myuibe, iPad and iPhone Roger Bits.

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  1. says

    Hi Joanna, I am a publisher and I am taking on large clients in converting their print matter to Ipad. As an INDIE publisher, we are getting larger clients all the time for conversions. I need to be able to publish directly to the Ipad for my clients and not under my Publishing company name but theirs. This may seem like a silly question, they do not want to use my company as (actual Publisher only for conversions) How do I just convert their materials to IPAD and send back to them or publish it to APPLE for them under their name. Do you know of a way that I can convert their materials and get it back to them or to ultimately straight upload to apple?

    I hope you can help..

    Blue Feather Web and Publishing

    • says

      Hi Sandy, at the most basic level, you can load it into Smashwords on their behalf and distribute it to the apple store – that’s how I get my books on the ibook store. If you’re in the US, you can load it directly, but you would have to have access to their account. Or you can just format to ePub and they can load it themselves if they register with Apple etc.
      Sorry, I can’t see how else you can do it – maybe provide the file and instructions as to how to do it themselves?

      • says

        Thank You So Much Joanna! Bless You. For my smaller authors Smashwords will be perfect for me! For my VERY Large Corporate accounts I will have ask them to create iTunes accounts, correct? Unless I am doing a royalty situation and then I would use my publishing account.

        My Worry is the Payments. If created in my Own iTunes Publishing Account, I, as publisher would then send monthly royalties to Authors. If Created in Smashwords, am I correct to say that I CAN have payments sent directly to MY Authors just doing the conversions for them?

        I need to know what the costs are for I-Tunes for Proccessing. They don’t let you know on the Sign-up to Publish form at Apple? Any ideas?

        I am sorry for all the questions, but here is another… How do I upload the drafts to iTunes and will my large corporate account have to give me login info? I bless you for all of your help. I have so many variable and different types of authors and very large corporations coming to me as publisher of many educational titles. I need to get this straight… Thank you. Sandy, Blue Feather Web and Publishing

        • says

          Hi Sandy, I can’t help any further with iTunes as I haven’t done it myself and am not in the US so I can’t access that information. I just use Smashwords and I don’t like to give advice unless I have direct experience.
          Smashwords pays authors by Paypal based on their account settings so as long as the authors had account settings with their details, it would be fine.

  2. Lisa says

    Hi Joanna
    Just wondering if you know if Australian organisations can publish e-books on AMAZON or LULU using an Australian bank account – there is so much conflicting information that I’m confused. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    • says

      Hi Lisa,
      For Amazon & Lulu, you get paid with a cheque and Paypal respectively if you don’t have US bank account, so you pay fees for the conversion. There is no other way. Smashwords also use Paypal.
      I hope that helps. Joanna

      • Lisa Alexiou says

        So if you have a Paypal account it is credited – correct? Otherwise a cheque is sent to your Australian address. I cannot seem to find anything on either site referring to those methods, but may be I’m just swamped with all the other information. Thanks for getting back to me so promptly. Love your site by the way, will certainly visit again.

        • says

          Yes, Lulu sends money monthly, Smashwords every 3 months & Amazon sends a cheque 90 days after sales if over a specific amount to your address. You have to set it up in the KDP settings on Amazon and on the account for each service provider.

  3. says

    We enable individuals without engineering degrees to create iPhone/iPod apps of children’s books and comics online. Very much like a shutterfly experience for creating printed photo albums. Just upload your story and then drag and drop into scenes.

    Check it out at

  4. Lisa Miller says

    What/ who do I use to publish a childreb’s ebook with photos on every page? I have found apps that will make the book, but is anyone going to accept this when I finish? I graduated with a graphic design & illustration degree, but there was no ePub then. I have researched enough to know how to submit someone’s typed book, but I still haven’t figured out how to do what I want to do. I want a children’s ebook with photos on each page / I guess like one of the flip books my son is so crazy about. Where/ how do I self publish one of those with my own illustrations &”I’m sure I can figure out a program, if I could just get someone to tell me which one to use that kindle, iBooks, Barnes& noble etc. will offer after I finish it. Someone please help.

    • says

      Hi Lisa,

      Different eBook stores and devices require different formatting. There is no one tool that can format an ebook for every format perfectly (not yet anyway).

      Give us a ring over at BookBaby, we can help you format and distribute your eBook to Kindle, iBookstore, Nook, Sony eReader, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor and more.

      Getting your book in more than just the iBookstore and Kindle store offers more selling opportunities for our indie authors.

      Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm PST

  5. says

    Thank you so much for the information here.
    I’m from Singapore and want to get my Ebooks online. I hit a snag while trying to apply for an account on Amazon and Smashwords because I’m from Singapore. And I’ve read that receiving payments is an issue because after deducting all the bank charges, I’m left with a few dollars for every $100 cheque received.
    One of my books is currently available free as a serial blog at my website,
    What is the best way to go about getting my books distributed in the widest network?
    Thanking you in advance.
    Douglas Lee

    • says

      Hi Douglas, unfortunately these sites are the best way to distribute to the widest network. You can sell through your own site but you won’t get the traffic you can get on book sites. Most people in other countries have this problem with the checks, but as the amounts get bigger, the check fee stays the same (at least it does in the UK) so you will earn more, as you earn more. If that makes sense.
      Sorry, but the American sites dominate the market right now.

  6. Elizabeth Martin says

    Hi Joanna,
    Thank you for all the terrific info. I write and illustrate children’s picture books and in the past have made copies of my books through LuLu. It was free as, after a desperate struggle, I was able to do it myself. I turned my book, including covers, into a PDF files and it became a book. I never published any as the resale price was too high.
    I now have just got the app Flip PDF and it turns my PDF files into flip ebooks that can go anywhere.
    I will next see what they look like on my iPad. If all looks good, the next step would be a dynamic website. Do you think this is my best possible route to selling flip books? I think picture books need be flip books so have been waiting for this to be possible.

    Thanks, Elizabeth

    • says

      Hi Elizabeth, I don’t know much about kid’s books but certainly the app market and picture book market on the tablets is taking off so yes, i think that is a great way to go about it. Maybe try networking with some other authors in this space so you can see what they are doing. All the best.

      • Elizabeth Martin says

        Thanks Joanna,
        I have just joined your site and will follow all. I hope I get some answers from other people about flip picture books. I know it is just around the corner. While waiting, I am finishing the books of mine that are still in dummy form. I am also going to a WordPress bootcamp to get my site ready. I want to be able to have flip ebooks on it.
        I hope to hear from others, Elizabeth

  7. Neo john says

    Hi Joanna,
    i am planning to publish a travel ebook which includes a lot of colourfull pictures i took.i invested some money in to it for designing it with indesign but i want to publish a simple monochrome ebbok as well for kindle readers. do you have any suggestion ?

    • says

      Hi Neo – if you mean do I have a suggestion for how to publish a monochrome ebook, then yes, I suggest using Scrivener to format and export the book to Kindle format and then use Amazon KDP to publish it. That will then use the Kindle app on the iPad. Hope that helps :)

  8. Neo john says

    hi Joanna,
    Thank you very much for your reply. What i want to know is that wether i can publish two versions of same ebook one with colourful pictures for ipad and another one with grey shaded pictures for monochrome kindle and other readers. Thanks in advance

    • says

      You can do whatever you like if you own the rights, but maybe just call them something slightly different – or unabridged version or something for the color issue in case people worry about the difference.

  9. John says

    I am impressed by this concisely put together list of ways to publish on the iPad. I have used in the past and was quite happy with it, but more recently I have started relying more on which I find is a lot more easier to use.

    Anyways a very helpful article.

  10. Lisa says

    I appreciate any info here. I am adding to my si-fi book, wishing I had a app to add to it without rewriting it is one thing, but to find a way to do this on my iPad is another, I hear save your emails as a doc file, or in a zip folder or PDF, or just have a publishing company do it, ok well say amazon is retail- online, and say barns noble is a store and has ther own publishing connections, geese who the best at this day and age? Help


  1. […] smaller and independent publishers can get themselves onto the iPad. My latest is on there via Smashwords (as far as I know…I can’t actually check without […]

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