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.

Making Movies: A Guide for Serious Amateurs

A step-by-step approach to making quality video productions.

Making Movies book cover

Tired of turning video footage into ho-hum productions that make people yawn? Or, worse yet, just putting raw video out there and hoping for the best? If so, this guide is for you. It clearly explains how to research, plan, shoot, assemble, edit, and fine-tune video productions for just about any purpose. Richly illustrated with stills from an example movie, it’ll get you on the right track to making movies that’ll inform, entertain, and impress your audience.

Buy from Amazon’s Kindle Bookstore

I’m really pleased to announce that the first book in the Maria’s Guides series — Making Movies: A Guide for Serious Amateurs — is now available.

About the Book

I originally wrote the first draft of Making Movies as a personal guide to help me remember how I created my first “watchable” movie, Cherries: From Tree to Truck. Later, I rounded it out into a series of articles for InformIT. To create this book, I added and revised content and formatted it for print and ebook publication.

This book differs from most of my computer how-to books in that it concentrates on theory rather than specific how-to tasks. For example, it doesn’t explain how to edit moves in iMovie or Final Cut Pro. Instead, it tells you about the kinds of clips you should acquire and why. It also goes into a great deal of detail about the part of movie-making that’s most overlooked by inexperienced movie-makers: the planning process. The idea was to write a book that could benefit all first-time movie makers — not just the ones using a specific camera or editing software package.

Inside, you’ll find chapters for the following “steps”:

Step 1: Explore the Topic
Step 2: Plan the Shoot
Step 3: Shoot the Video
Step 4: Create the Rough Cut
Step 5: Fine-Tune and Complete
Step 6: Publish and Share

The printed version of the book runs 66 pages, including cover, front matter, and index.

The book uses two examples throughout the text: the existing cherry harvest video I created and a hypothetical home movie of a kid’s soccer game. There are screen images and other figures to help illustrate important points.

I think the book is a great guide to help new movie makers learn the lingo and get a feel for making good movies. Its step-by-step approach can help keep readers focused on the tasks that need to be done to ensure success.

Buy the Book

The book is available in four formats from three sources (so far):

EPUB and Kindle Ebook

I wrote the book primarily for distribution as an ebook. As such, it’s available in EPUB and Kindle formats from two popular sources at a very reasonable $3.99:

Print and PDF Ebook

The book is also available in print and in a PDF-style ebook format from MagCloud.

MagCloud is a print-on-demand publisher that calculates printed cost by the page, so the longer a book is, the more it costs. The printed version, which is in full color, is available for $12.95 plus shipping. Be advised that it may take up to two weeks for the book to arrive.

MagCloud also offers a ebook version of the book. Unlike the EPUB and Kindle versions, the MagCloud version is based on a PDF, so it’s formatted exactly like the book. The cost of this ebook version is $3.95 and it downloads immediately upon purchase.

Note that when you buy the print version, you get a free copy of the ebook version.

Additional Material, Feedback, and Support

You can find additional material about making movies on this site. Just follow the Movie Making topic link.

You can also post questions and read questions and answers on the book’s support page.