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.

iBooks 2 Interactive Edition of iBooks Author Book Now in Production

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Screenshots from the sample chapters of the special interactive edition of my iBooks Author book now in production.

Get a sneak peek by downloading sample chapters.

My mini-vacation plans unexpectedly cancelled, I decided to make good use of my free time by creating a special iBooks 2 interactive edition of my iBooks Author book. This book, which can only be opened and read on an iPad running iBooks 2, includes photo galleries, interactive images, and video to help readers learn all about iBooks Author.

I’ll admit up front that producing this book is taking longer than I expected. I think that’s because I decided to create original screencast videos for all sets of step-by-step instructions in the book. This is an extremely time-consuming process, made even more difficult by the parrot in the next room who seems to know the absolute worst time to run through her repertoire of animal noises, voices, and sounds.

But you don’t have to wait to see what I’m up to — and how I’m doing. You can download a free sample copy of this book now.

The sample includes the book’s introduction and two sample chapters with a number of interactive elements to try out. The screen shots on this page should give you an idea of what you can expect not only in the sample but in the completed book.

I expect to have the book available for sale on the iBookstore by the end of February. You can help me achieve this goal by sending encouraging words my way — I always work hardest when I know people are waiting for me to finish. Use the comments feature for this post to share your feedback.

And be patient — I think you’ll agree that this edition is worth waiting for.

You can get more information about all currently available editions of this book on the book’s support page.

Sample iBooks Author-Created Ebook Now Available

Download it for free, then make it yourself.

How Helicopters Fly
Download this iBooks 2 Book Free!

I may have forgotten to mention this, but the ebook that readers of my book create is available for free from the iBookstore. It’s called How Helicopters Fly and you can find it here.

Keep in mind that this book does not showcase all the interactive features of iBooks Author. Instead, it concentrates on the ones I thought users would be most interested in: hyperlinks, cross-references, photo galleries, video, audio, and review questions. I’ll likely cover other features in additional titles or in short articles here.

Remember, you must have an iPad running iBooks 2 to read this sample book. My book that explains how to create this book, iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook, is available in iBooks, Kindle, and NOOK formats with print a edition available soon.

How to Create a Front Matter Chapter for your iBooks Author Ebook

A nicer way to handle it.

One of the things that bugs me about the way iBooks Author handles front matter pages such as the Copyright, Dedication, and Foreword pages is that they kind of hang out there by themselves at the front of the book, without any sort of “wrapper” that can give them identity.

Copyright Page
The first page of the table of contents in Landscape view. The next two pages look just as unattractive.

This became quite apparent in the sample book readers create while following along in iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook. In the final book, in Landscape view — which is how the book is most likely to be read — each front matter page has its own table of contents page with an ugly gray background that’s just … well, ugly.

In playing around with iBooks Author, I soon realized that the only difference between these pages and the rest on the book is that they were not part of any chapter. It followed that if they were part of a chapter, they’d be handled differently. So I created a new chapter at the beginning of the book, added the three pages to it, and was very happy with the results.

Here’s a quick overview of how you can do the same.

  1. In the Book pane, select the very first page of your book. This is likely to be the Copyright page.
  2. Added ChapterUse the Add Pages menu on the toolbar to add a Chapter page. It should appear in the Book pane right beneath the page that was selected.
  3. In the Book pane, drag the new Chapter page above the first page of the book.
  4. Numbering OptionsWith the new Chapter page selected, display the Layout inspector’s Numbering panel and choose None from the Section Numbers pop-up menu. This removes the Chapter number from the new Chapter and restores the Chapter 1 number to the original Chapter 1.
  5. Indented pagesIn the Book pane, drag each of the front matter pages beneath the new Chapter page so they’re indented beneath it. You’ll need to drag each page up a little and to the right. A green line indicates placement as you drag. The indentation indicates that each of these pages is now part of the chapter they’re indented beneath.
  6. In the Book pane, select the new Chapter page. Then make changes as desired to set it up as a first page of your book’s Front Matter. In my example, I removed the chapter number placeholder text, changed the chapter name to Front Matter, removed the intro placeholder text, and replaced the placeholder image to match my book’s cover. (You can find instructions for doing all of these things in my book.)

    Front Matter Page

That’s about all there is to it. When you preview the book, you’ll find a nice table of contents page that gathers all of your front matter pages together.

Front Matter

Learn More!

Want to learn more about using iBooks Author to create ebooks? Check out iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook, available now in iBooks, Kindle, and NOOK formats.

And keep checking in here at Maria’s Guides for more articles like this one.

“iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook” Now Available

An illustrated guide to creating and publishing multi-touch books with iBooks Author.

iBooks Author Cover

iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook helps you learn how to take advantage of iBooks Author’s amazing feature set to create your own ebooks without a lot of trial and error experimentation. Using an illustrated, step-by-step approach, it guides you through the creation of a sample ebook with features you’re sure to want in your own ebook publications.

Download a Sample Chapter
Buy Kindle Edition
Buy iBooks Edition
Buy NOOK Edition
Buy iBooks Multi-Touch Edition (coming soon)
Buy Print Edition (coming soon)

When iBooks Author was announced and released last month, I knew it was a software package I’d really like. I was right. Just a few days spent with the app and I had all kinds of great ideas for publishing my books. But I also realized that with the surprising depth of this first generation application, new users might need help using it. Since how-to books are my specialty, I didn’t wast any time writing a new Maria’s Guides book about it.

About the Book

I wrote the book as a hands-on guide to creating a sample ebook with iBooks author. Filled with step-by-step instructions and 274 screenshots (!), the book walks you through the process of creating, composing, laying out, and publishing an ebook using iBooks Author. I cover every important feature in the software, from adding and formatting text and images to creating interactive elements with iBooks Author’s Widget feature. I finish up with instructions on how to export and publish your book as a PDF or iBook on the iBookstore.

Inside, you’ll find the following chapters:

Table of Contents
Before We Begin: Introduction
Chapter 1: Getting Started
Chapter 2: Starting Your Book
Chapter 3: Adding & Formatting Text
Chapter 4: Adding & Formatting Images
Chapter 5: Working with Objects
Chapter 6: Adding Shapes, Tables, & Charts
Chapter 7: Including Interactive Elements
Chapter 8: Publishing Your Book
Final Word: That’s All for Now

The printed version of the book runs 242 pages, including front matter, table of contents, and index.

The instructions throughout the book step you through the process of creating a sample ebook with iBooks Author. All the files you need are available for download from the book’s support Web page on this site. When you’re finished, you’ll have a pretty sharp looking ebook to show off you skills.

Buy the Book

The book is available now on and the Apple iBookstore in Kindle and Epub formats respectively. A multi-touch iBooks version should be available in about a week. The print edition will be available in about 2 weeks as a direct purchase from Flying M Productions or from booksellers such as and

Additional Material, Feedback, and Support

You can find additional material about using iBooks Author and creating ebooks on this site. Just follow the publishing 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 files used throughout the book.