iBooks and Kindle: Bookkake and Artist’s eBooks

September 20, 2010

I’m very pleased to announce that all five Bookkake titles are now available direct from Apple’s iBookstore, and several are available on the Kindle. In addition, all Artists’ eBooks titles are also available free in the iBookstore.

This has not been the simplest process, but I think it’s really important to make ebooks available in as wide a number of ways as possible, and in particular in ways that make it easy for people to find them—an issue I recently addressed in the discussion of Tony Blair’s multiformat memoir.

Initially, I made ebook editions of all Bookkake titles available for free. This was in part because I wanted to see what would happen, but also because I was dissatisfied with then-current ebook distribution and display systems. Times have changed, and so in making these books available more easily, I’ve also removed the free ebooks. Bookkake has always been an experiment, and I’m looking forward to seeing the response to more easily available, if priced, editions.

Artists’ eBooks is similarly experimental, and the free ebooks are still available from the website, as well as available as free downloads for iPhone/iPad users in the iBookstore.

With respect to the process, here’s how it breaks down:

To get books into the iBookstore directly (as opposed to going through an aggregator) you need an account with iTunes Connect, which in turn requires a US Tax ID, a non-trivial process that required some very complicated forms and quite a lot of time on the phone to someone in an IRS office, somewhere in the Midwest.

When you’ve got this, you upload your files—a slightly modified ePub format, which Lisa has covered in detail over at Threepress—via Apple’s iTunes Producer application. This part is pretty straightforward, once you’ve worked out the formatting kinks, but then the fun starts.

Submitted books are “under review” for about a week on average. And then, in my case, they’re all marked “Withdrawn from sale”. And that’s it: no message, no feedback, no information. So you email Apple, several times, and after a week to ten days you get an email from someone telling you what’s wrong—in the first case, it was cover images at the wrong resolution. So you resubmit, wait out the review period, and then repeat the whole process again, several times, for a series of very minor but critical issues.

The upshot is that it’s taken almost two months to get all the books submitted correctly—only a couple of hours of actual work, but a lot of waiting and sending emails and hoping. Still, the books are now available (search iBooks for Bookkake, Artists’ eBooks or any of the authors or titles), and Apple support staff have promised that they’re aware of and looking into the notification system. It’s a new programme, and this sort of thing will undoubtedly improve, if not, as we’ve seen with the App Store, ever be fully transparent.

The Kindle application process has been simpler, if slightly less successful. Although some have reported difficulties, Amazon’s Digital Text Platform happily converted my existing ePub files to Kindle platform, and made them available very quickly—although I’ve been unable to convince them of the rights status of a couple of the titles, so only three are available. Still.

I happen to like both reading experiences very much, and will be writing more about them soon. Both stores are OK, but it’s very annoying you can’t link directly to products in the iBookstore [Update: see comments] as you can for the Kindle store (or, indeed, for iTunes).

Please, go read the Artists’ eBooks titles if you’re interested, and the Bookkake titles if you’re so inclined, and I look forward to hearing your feedback.


  1. Linking to titles is possible



    Comment by Caxtonian — September 20, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

  2. […] Original post by James Bridle […]

    Pingback by iBooks and Kindle: Bookkake and Artist's eBooks | booktwo.org | Discount Kindle Books — September 21, 2010 @ 2:29 am

  3. Thanks A – didn’t know that. A great help.

    Comment by James Bridle — September 21, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  4. […] blog Booktwo.org and founder of the experimental Artist’s eBooks project. He wrote with news that the three short stories of mine he published in the EPUB format at the end of 2009 (which I […]

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  5. […] where three short stories of mine are currently available as free downloads in the EPUB format and (as of last week) from iBooks, […]

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