September 27, 2013 Last Updated 3:28 pm

Apple adds new features to its iBooks Store, ups pixel limit for all images

There are some changes to Apple’s iBooks Store that publishers of eBooks should be aware of including an increase in image file sizes and versioning of books.

Apple sent out a note to owners of iBooks Store paid accounts that outline the changes.

iOSXMav-logo-sm2Observers of all things Apple may have noticed that Apple has changed almost all their app icons for iOS 7. But the iBooks icon remains the same. My bet is that this one will change come October assuming Apple rolls out a new version of iBooks Author and features it at their October event. It is expected that Apple will unveil both new iPads as well as launch its newest Mac operating system, OS X 10.9 Mavericks, at the event (with any mention of iBooks Author being a minor additional topic).

Publishers still have long list of things they would like to see included in iBooks Author – iPhone support, drop caps, and the biggest one, which will never happen, cross platform support. But Apple seems to have its own plans for iBooks like bringing iBooks to the desktop. Once again selling hardware, in this case MacBook Airs, is the catalyst for this.

Here is Apple’s email to holders of iBooks Store accounts in full:

We recently added the following new features and updates to the iBooks Store:

  • New Catalog Reports
  • Versioning for All Books
  • Updated Documentation
  • Pixel Limit Increased for Book Images
  • How-To: Deliver Custom Samples
  • New European Toll-Free Numbers
  • iBooks Author Tips and Tricks: Creating Custom Samples
  • Thanksgiving Deliveries

New Catalog Reports
The following catalog reports have been added to the Catalog Reports module on iTunes Connect:

  • Pre-Order Catalog Reports include all pre-orders that have not been fulfilled.
  • Pricing Catalog Reports contain the physical list price and the price tier for all books delivered in each territory.

Versioning for All Books
Customers can now be notified when a new version of your book is available on iBooks. Any book redeliveries that include the What’s New in Version description are considered new book versions.

To deliver a new book version, update the book file before delivery and provide details of what has changed in the What’s New in Version section of iTunes Producer. Version numbers will continue to be required only for book files that were previously delivered with a version number.

After a new version is available on iBooks, customers who have previously purchased the book will see the option to update it from the Purchased section of the iBooks Store. Customers will not be notified of a new book version if the book redelivery did not include the What’s New in Version description.

Updated Documentation
We’ve updated all iBooks documentation and examples, including:

  • The updated iBooks Asset Guide 5.1.2 includes detailed information and best practices for creating iOS- and OS X-compatible books with JavaScript interactivity. The guide also includes design and technical considerations, and tips for optimizing book performance.
  • The Fixed Layout EPUB Example 3.1 book contains read-aloud and interactivity examples. The interactivity is implemented using the iBooks JavaScript Library, ibooks.js, a collection of prewritten JavaScript code that makes it easier to develop interactive books for iBooks on iOS and OS X.

The iBooks Asset Guide 5.1.2 and the Fixed Layout EPUB Example 3.1 are now available from the Deliver Your Content module on iTunes Connect.

Pixel Limit Increased for Book Images
The pixel limit for all images inside the book has been increased from 2 million pixels to 3.2 million pixels. This limit applies only to images within the book and does not apply to images delivered separately from the book, such as cover art, screenshots, and so on.

How-To: Deliver Custom Samples
iTunes Connect users with a Paid Books account must include custom samples for Multi-Touch and read-aloud books. You can also choose to create and deliver a custom sample for any of your other books. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open iTunes Producer.
  2. Complete all required metadata fields.
  3. Go to the Publication Sample section in the Asset tab of iTunes Producer.
  4. Drag your custom sample file to the Publication Sample field.

When you’re ready to submit your book, click Deliver and your custom sample will be sent to iBooks.
If you do not provide a custom sample, iBooks will automatically generate a sample of the book (with the exception of read-aloud and Multi-Touch books). If the book contains images or other nontext media, you should deliver a custom sample to ensure that the sample is as intended. For more information on book samples, see the Book Samples section in the iBooks Asset Guide. The iBooks Asset Guide 5.1.2 is available from the Deliver Your Content module on iTunes Connect.

New European Toll-Free Numbers
Toll-free phone numbers to contact the iBooks support team are now available for the following countries:

Books phone support is in in English only and available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT).

iBooks Author Tips and Tricks: Creating Custom Samples
iTunes Connect users with a Paid Books account must create a book sample for each book they make available on the iBooks Store. Samples allow customers to view a part of your book before purchasing it. Samples are optional for iTunes Connect users with a Free Books account.

To create a sample, you can either use iBooks Author to automatically create it for you, or you can manually create a custom sample.

To automatically create a sample, click Publish in the iBooks Author toolbar and choose the chapter to include in the sample. iBooks Author will create a sample using up to 15 pages from the chapter you choose.

  1. To manually create a custom book sample:
  2. Either duplicate your book and delete chapters and pages you don’t want to appear in the sample book (if you use this method, be sure to check for broken hyperlinks and glossary terms),
  3. Or, create a new book and copy items into it from the complete book
  4. With the sample open, choose Export from the File menu, and click iBooks
  5. Choose Sample Book for iBooks Store from the Export As menu
  6. Click Next
  7. Choose a name for the sample, where you want to save it, and click Export

Samples will be exported in the .ibooks format. For more information, visit

Thanksgiving Deliveries
Due to an expected increase in book deliveries during the U.S. Thanksgiving week, we recommend that you start scheduling now for any books that you plan to release during that week. To ensure your books are available on iBooks on their release date, any books scheduled to go live during the weeks of November 25 and December 2, 2013, should be delivered by Friday, November 15, 2013.


The iBooks team

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