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Apple hasn’t always given the iBookstore their full attention. Sometimes they go full steam, tweaking it, pampering it and giving it all the love it deserves. Other times it outright shuns it and seems to forget it’s even there, making authors look around nervously because they don’t know if this means their sales will plummet. It’s enough to make one wonder: does Apple even care about iBooks? While it seems like an on-again, off-again relationship, the present answer is: yes.
The iBookstore is Apple’s ebook platform. You can read books through the iBookstore (and purchase through iTunes) on nearly every Apple phone, tablet, and computer.
To explain why Apple is on-again with iBooks, let’s look at their new free ebook that helps authors, iBooks Author Starter Kit (found in iBooks). While iBooks Author is a simple program for creating amazing ebooks, it’s easy to get mired in the tools and details. What should be a quick process can into a labor of love (and frustration) that lasts several days.
This free book shows authors how to use the program. It’s a complete, barebones, beginner’s guide to all of the main tools and functions in iBooks Author. This is an obvious sign that Apple wants more authors to use their Author app, and for good reason. Not only does it allow authors to produce stunning books, but it also adds value to their digital bookstore. If Apple was disinterested in iBooks, then they wouldn’t spend time making guides and trying to bring in new authors.
The book is available in most languages and countries, so nearly anyone should be able to download and read it.
New Updates and Store Changes
Not only has Apple made a new book to help authors publish, but there have been some updates and changes that will increase the number of readers. For the longest time, iPhone users have been unable to view books made through iBooks Author. They could download and read basic epub books, but they have been unable to view the interactive and graphic-heavy books made through their main publishing app. As of iOS 8.4, these users will now be able to access all of the books through the iBooks storefront. You still can’t run the program on a mobile device, but at least you can read the books from your iPhone, iPod or iPad.
There’s more. Apple is also merging the ebooks and audiobooks departments into one storefront, which readers have been wanting for years. This makes it much easier for users to find both text and audio versions of books, and it’s a comprehensive way for readers to find their favorite book and format.
It might come as no surprise, but iBooks has yet to come close to Amazon in terms of book sales. However, that is beginning to change since the inception of iOS 8. According to reports (https://gigaom.com/2015/01/15/apple-1-million-new-ibooks-customers-each-week-since-ios-8-launch/), Apple has stated that they are gaining about one million new iBooks customers every week since releasing the OS upgrade. This is largely from epub books, but many iBooks Authors books are also gaining new attention and sales.
Even illustrated books, which have historically underperformed in terms of sales in the digital market, started getting more sales since this upgrade. Many of the sales are coming from products that have movie and pop culture tie-ins, but even those without such assistance are gaining newfound sales.
Aside from the large number of new customers, Apple has made another discovery that shows why they are giving iOS 8.4 and iBooks in general more attention: they are noticing that smartphone and mobile users (especially since releasing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus) are slowly becoming the main customers for this service. One reason for this is because the larger screens make it easier to buy, read and use this content. Another reason is that people want to take their media with them, and it was just a matter of time before this change occurred.
So, does Apple really care about iBooks? It’s hard to say whether they’ll finally give the continual support needed to make iBooks become the superstar that it can be, but for right now the answer is yes. Apple is giving new attention, upgrades and books to ensure that as many authors and readers use the platform. Not only that, but this has been producing higher profits for existing authors on this platform, which makes it a winning situation for those who stayed on board and continued publishing even though iBooks isn’t the biggest store out there.
So you’ve been writing and publishing books, and maybe have a number of titles out. But, like many publishers in this position, you’ve noticed that your books from the past (which may have done well when they were first released) probably aren’t selling too hot. What’s an author to do? Cast a spell and do some resurrection magic, that’s what. There’s a ton of ways to bring your old books back from the dead, and here are a few ways to do it.
Make it Print
If you don’t have your book available in print format, you are missing out on a lot of sales. You can easily create a basic print edition over at http://CreateSpace.com and have it selling on Amazon and other venues quickly. If you want more extended reach, check out something like https://www.ingramspark.com/ which can professionally print your book and handle global distribution.
This applies mostly to non-fiction books, but fiction books can be updated as well. Every topic grows, making older books obsolete. The information and interest now in a topic will be very different from what it was 10 years ago. This is true for investing, computers, art, writing, making money and any other subject that you can think of.
Update your book to cover new topics. For example, Dan Kennedy’s book “The Ultimate Sales Letter” was written before digital sales letters were common. So, he made a new version that accounted for these changes. You can do the same. Do the research, see what’s different and apply it to your book. Textbook creators do this every year, and you can too.
Did you make a short series? You can bundle everything together into one book. Have a bunch of short stories? Collect them as an anthology. Have a bunch of books written on the same topic? Put them together into one “super book.” No matter how you look at it, nearly every author should be able to make at least one bundle of his or her books.
Bundles typically sell for less than their separate parts, and it makes it easier for readers because they can make one purchase and have all of the information in front of them. They also become a separate book, so you will have another title to add to your publications.
Change the Cover
Simply changing the cover, and nothing else, can produce new sales. Many people think that a new cover means updated material, and it might, but just changing the design can get people interested again. It also pushes a button for those who missed out on the book initially, telling them that now is the time to buy.
Changing a cover shouldn’t be that expensive, and this is fairly easy because you just need to pay a designer and wait for the cover to be produced. However, don’t overuse this. For example, changing the cover every month won’t produce new sales. Do it after a year or even a few years to see a significant change in sales.
Do you remember Stephen King’s “The Stand”? King is already known for producing long books, but he cut “The Stand” for brevity. However, about 12 years after it was initially released, he came back with the “Complete and Uncut Edition,” which added 400 pages to the book, bringing it to an impressive 1,152 pages. As you can expect, sales magnified exponentially.
What you can learn from this is that, if you ever cut content, you can add it back in while making some updates to revive old books.
Reviving an old book isn’t hard, especially when you understand what makes the market tick. You just need to make some changes to make people think they’re getting something new. You’ll be doing a fair amount of work for most of these options, but the payoff can be great and it’s much easier than making a whole new book from scratch. It’s best to do this with your most popular books because they already have a following, but any of your books can be resurrected.