Publishing to the iBookstore: Avoiding Trademark Issues

Learn from my experience.

iBooks Author CoverSome readers may know that back in early March I submitted a “Special iBooks 2 Interactive Edition” of iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook to the Apple iBookstore. The 242-page book included many interactive elements, most notably a full three hours of original screencast video.

And then I waited for Apple to approve it.

And I waited.

And I waited.

Today, after nearly four weeks of waiting, I finally heard from Apple. But it wasn’t the approval I’d been hoping for. Instead, it was a pair of “tickets” for problem in the book file and cover art.

Apple’s complaints were all pretty much in the same vein. Here’s one of them:

Copyright Page, the following text appears: “iBooks 2 Special Interactive Edition”. Your book has been ticketed because of its use of the phrase “iBook” to describe it. iBooks is the trademark for Apple’s book reading software, and iBooks Author is the trademark for its electronic book creation software. Books created with Apple’s iBooks Author software and/or sold on the iBookstore should be described as a book, ebook, electronic book or interactive book, but not an “ibook.” Please use any Apple trademarks in compliance with the Apple Trademark Usage Guidelines available at Note: Changing the phrase to “iBookstore Special Interactive Edition” would be acceptable.

So basically, I had described my book as a “special iBooks 2 interactive edition” and the folks at Apple didn’t like that. But they kindly suggested “iBookstore Special Interactive Edition” instead.

(I could argue here that iBookstore is just as much a trademark as iBooks, but where would that get me?)

This problem appeared twice in the book’s content, once on the cover, once on the cover art, and twice in the metadata. It took me 20 minutes to locate and fix all problems and then export new versions of the book and sample chapter. And then fix the meta data in iTunes Producer. The book is uploading as I type this.

So my point is this: be very careful about your use of the word iBooks when describing a book you create with iBooks Author. My main concern was being able to differentiate between the standard epub edition and the multimedia edition that blows it away.

Now I just hope they hurry it through the review process and don’t make me wait another four weeks.

March 31, 2012 Update: Although I addressed all issues of the tickets on my book and uploaded new files three days ago, there is still no indication that Apple has received my modified files. I don’t know if I screwed up on the resubmission or if Apple is so backlogged they haven’t marked them as received. Clearly Apple needs to rework both its iTunes Connect interface and its system for dealing with book approvals and revisions.

April 7, 2012 Update: One of the two tickets on my book has disappeared, but the other remains. Despite several attempts to contact Apple, it’s still unclear whether they realize that I have resolved this ticket. I keep getting canned responses that do not indicate whether they are following up on my problem. It seems to me as if they’re just sending out a response without even looking up the situation. I’m frustrated beyond belief at this point and angry about potential lost sales. And there’s no one at Apple who I can contact to get a definitive answer. Clearly, the iBooks Author publishing experience is broken and Apple is uninterested in fixing it.

May 28, 2012 Update: This continued to go on for quite some time, even after tickets disappeared. After a lot of nagging and nasty emails to Apple, my books finally appeared. One took 55 days for approval. The other took 75 days.

Maria’s Guide Title for iBooks Author Now in Production

Look for it within the next week or so.

iBooks Author IconNo sooner had we put the finishing touches on Sorting Excel Data than Apple delivered a brand new topic for the Maria’s Guides book series: iBooks Author.

iBooks Author is a Mac OS application that enables you to develop media-rich ebooks for iBooks on iPad. Although it has a limited audience, it makes up for those limitations with sheer publishing power. This free application makes it possible to create books that not only include fixed page layouts, but images, galleries, movies, review tests, and interactive graphics. Best of all, it features a relatively easy-to-use, intuitive interface.

We’re excited about iBooks Author, mostly because of all the great new ways we’ll be able to enhance Maria’s Guide books for iBooks readers. We’re also excited about producing a book about a brand new topic: iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Book should be available before the end of the month. We hope you’ll look for it here—and on the iBookstore, of course.

Sorting Excel Data: The Basics & Beyond

A definitive guide to sorting data managed in Microsoft Excel.

Sorting Excel Data cover

This guide takes the mystery and confusion out of Excel’s sorting features. It starts by covering the basics of simple, one-column sorts. It then builds on that information to explain multi-column sorting, setting up and using custom sort orders, sorting based on cell colors or icons, performing case-sensitive sorts, and sorting by rows instead of columns. Step-by-step, fully illustrated instructions make it clear what you need to do. Sample files make it easy to repeat exercises so you can see the same results.

Although this book concentrates on Microsoft Excel 2010 for Windows and Microsoft Excel 2011 for Mac OS, it also provides useful tips and instructions for previous versions of Excel.

Buy Kindle Edition
Buy iBooks Edition
Buy NOOK Edition

I’m really pleased to announce that the second book in the Maria’s Guides series — Sorting Excel Data: The Basics & Beyond — is now out and available in three ebook formats, with a print edition on the way.

About the Book

It all started as a question asked by a friend in Facebook. An experienced computer professional, she didn’t know how to perform a four-column sort in Microsoft Excel. I thought back to my computer applications training days and remembered how my students struggled with Excel’s sorting features. I decided it would make a good topic for a Maria’s Guide book.

While researching and writing the book, I realized just how much Excel’s sorting feature has changed since I wrote my last Excel book several years ago. While it was obviously important for me to cover the most recent Windows and Mac OS versions of Excel, I also wanted to explain complex sorting to folks who haven’t yet upgraded. I think the book does a great job of completely covering how to sort data managed in Excel.

Inside, you’ll find the following chapters:

Table of Contents
Before We Begin: Introduction
Chapter 1: Sorting Basics
Chapter 2: Quick Sorts
Chapter 3: Multiple-Column Sorts
Chapter 4: Sorting by Color & Icon
Chapter 5: Using Custom Sort Orders
Chapter 6: Exploring Sort Options
Chapter 7: Sorting with Filters & Tables
Conclusion: That’s Everything

The printed version of the book runs 114 pages, including front matter, table of contents, and index.

The book uses several example worksheets, all of which are contained in a single workbook file. Readers are encouraged to download the sample file and follow along. This ensures understanding, since readers get the same results that appear in the book.

Buy the Book

The book is currently available as an ebook from three sources (so far):

The print edition is currently going through the proofing process. Once approved, it will be available on and, as well as by special order through your favorite bookstore.

Additional Material, Feedback, and Support

You can find additional material about Excel on this site. Just follow the Excel topic link.

You can also post questions and read questions and answers on the book’s support page. That’s also where you can find the sample workbook file used throughout the book.

Mac OS X Fonts: Some Good Reference Material

More reading material for Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard Users.

I’ve been hard at work on Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Visual QuickStart Guide these past few days and I see at least a month more of work ahead of me. The book’s a complete rewrite of the Tiger edition and I’m eager to get as much updated information in it as I can.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share two excellent references I found about using Fonts in Mac OS X:

  • Mac OS X: Font File Formats is a Web page on the Apple site with basic information about font file formats supported by Tiger (and Leopard).
  • Advanced Typography with Mac OS X Tiger is a 37-page PDF file with extensive and advanced information about using fonts with Mac OS X, including some how-to information about Font Book, the Font Panel, the Character Palette, and the Typography panel.

As I find additional high-quality reference material about Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard features, I’ll post links to this site. Keep checking in. I still have 25 chapters to go!

Steve Jobs/Bill Gates D5 Interview

Great to watch.

Jobs/GatesI know it’s been out for a while, but I’ve finally taken the time to download the 997MB video podcast file for the Steve Jobs/Bill Gates interview at the D5 conference. (It takes time when you only have a 512kbps connection; don’t even try it on dialup.)

It’s a great look at the history of the two companies — Apple and Microsoft — from the viewpoints of the people that built them. The intro, which features early clips of the two men together, is a real treat. It’s hard to remember that both men were so young when they started on their paths.

A while back, I wrote a post about the Bill Gates Daily Show interview. In that interview, Gates came off as a real geek. Not so in this interview. He’s extremely articulate, amusing, and informative.

And, of course, Steve Jobs is Steve Jobs.

I highly recommend this interview if you have any interest in histories of Apple and Microsoft and their relationship.