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Self-publishing News: Apple Books For You

Self-publishing News: Apple Books for you

Dan Holloway head and shoulders photo

ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway

In this week's Self-Publishing News, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway takes a look at Apple Books for Authors, free ISBNs from Ingram Spark and Book Expo moving online. 

ALLi has another “Ultimate Short Guide” for you this week. This time it’s about how to get your books into libraries. Non-members can purchase the guide, Your Book in Libraries Worldwide here.
As ever, the book is free to ALLi members, just log in to the member zone and navigate to Books—> Short Guides.

Remember, ALLi publishes a summary of the questions and answers from its weekly #IndieAuthorChat Twitter chat on the ALLi blog. This will be published on the Tuesday after the chat. And a reminder that ALLi has created a resource that seeks to answer any questions you may have about Covid-19, from concerns about the impact on events to ideas and news about how the services we rely on are responding. And as we look at online events in the news, do read this fabulous ALLi post on how to host online events as an author.

Moving Online: What Do Virtual Events Look Like?

For a while now, we’ve been seeing stories about the cancellation of events. Now we are starting to see what might take their place. Of course, ALLi has been running the online Self-publishing Advice Conference for several years now. But other events are starting to catch up. One of the first events to cancel as a result of coronavirus was Bologna Children's Book Fair. It usually sees 30,000 visitors. This year it moved online and 60,000 “visited”. At the other end of things, Book Expo received a lot of criticism for initially only postponing to July. It has subsequently moved to 2021. But at the end of this month Book Expo and Book Con will hold online events.

Apple Books for Authors

Until now, if you wanted to publish with Apple Books, especially if you were a PC user, you had to use a distributor. Now, you can publish direct through Apple Books for Authors. David Gaughran has a very detailed and incredibly helpful post outlining the process. The real news is that the web portal involved is easy to use for PC users. This follows Google Books making direct publishing possible. But with distribution platforms like Draft2Digital, PublishDrive, and Smashwords constantly adding not only outlets but features to their offerings, the simplicity of the all-in-one solution they offer might be for many of us worth the trade-off against slightly lower royalties on not many sales.


There has been a narrative through the coronavirus crisis that audiobooks would struggle. The narrative ran that people listened to audiobooks during their commute. No one was commuting anymore. Therefore, audiobooks would slump. A counter narrative has been that during this time people are increasing their subscriptions to streaming services. Audiobooks, of all literary formats, suit and have a subscription streaming infrastructure so they would flourish. Figures from platforms like Storytel have suggested that this latter might be the more accurate narrative. Now figures coming in from Simon and Schuster seem to confirm that far from struggling, audiobooks are, along with ebooks, helping keep publishers afloat. And a massive digital push from Penguin Random House suggests other big players are backing the narrative that digital is doing well right now.

Ingram Spark Introduces Free ISBNs (Among Other Things)

Are books essential? And if so, what does that mean? These questions have been at the centre of a large debate in the past few months. Bookstores, as we have reported, have been at the centre of this. But so have warehouses. And printers. From the start, Ingram Spark and the associated wholesalers Ingram have taken a front foot approach. While Bertrams have flirted with administration and Gardners have struggled, ~Ingram made “we are running an essential service” part of their messaging from the start. One of the most interesting things (and for many most worrying) will be the difference in a year or so’s time between those companies that stayed open throughout and those that closed — through choice or necessity. While we have to wait and see what will happen to those who closed, those who stayed open have been able to keep making changes.

For Ingram Spark that means some big changes to their dashboard. The biggest of those is to introduce an offer of free ISBNs. This is obviously a potentially valuable saving in hard times. Interestingly, though, the post they link to for more information on what this means warns against using free ISBNs. So use with caution — and remember that if you do use them, you will likely not be listed as publisher of record (as happens when you use a free ISBN from Lulu). But for those for whom this makes the financial difference between being able to use Ingram Spark or not, a very useful addition.

Apple Books for Authors, Book Expo moves online and top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet

Over to You

Let us know about great online events of interest to indies, and novel ways of moving what you do online in the comments below.

Upcoming Conferences and Events

Help us fill this with great online events in the coming weeks and months.

Bay Area Independent Publishers Association (BAIPA) – Zoom meetings the 2nd Saturday of each month

MAY 2020

BookExpo Online, 26-29 May
BookCon Online, 30-31 May

JUNE 2020

BAIPA, 13 June

Author: Dan Holloway

Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts show The New Libertines, which has appeared at festivals and fringes from Manchester to Stoke Newington. In 2010 he was the winner of the 100th episode of the international spoken prose event Literary Death Match, and earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is available for Kindle at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transparency-Sutures-Dan-Holloway-ebook/dp/B01A6YAA40


This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. I must say the new Ingram dashboard is, in my recent experience, an unmitigated disaster. User friendly, they say. Not to this user!

    The new health check tab is not working. It flagged up I wasn’t receiving publisher compensation – wrong! – and when I contacted customer support, I was told IT are aware and it’s fixed – wrong again! Brewery … organise … P-up comes to mind.

    Utter shambles.

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