iBooks to iTunes, The Ultimate Cheat Sheet: 8 Steps to Publishing Your Students’ First iBook to iTunes

I asked Jon Smith, my friend and fellow Apple Distinguished Educator, to create the ultimate cheat sheet to help you get your students’ books to iTunes quick and easy.  Jon accepted the challenge and shares his incredibly handy tips, tricks, and hacks to get your students published. What Jon has done with publishing his students’ writing to iTunes is absolutely incredible. I wondered, “What is keeping others from doing the same?” Thus, the idea for this post was born. This is Jon’s second post on Wired Educator. Please connect with Jon on Twitter at @theipodteacher     

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.15.02 PMDo you want to publish an iBook with your class but you don’t know where to start?Do you think publishing sounds like fun but you’ve never published anything before and you aren’t sure you can handle it?

Do you have a classroom full of disengaged students who hate writing?

If you answered yes to any and/or all of these questions, you are in the right place. I’ve helped students write and publish 64 iBooks with students in grades K­12, students from over 35 countries worldwide and with my own 5 year old son. Many of these books were done with only 1 device. I started this process with zero experience in publishing and my own distaste for writing and now, we have become a student publishing powerhouse. If I can do it, so can you and below you will find my ultimate cheat sheet for getting started. If you can dodge a wrench, you can play dodgeball. This may not be dodgeball, but if you can write a sentence, you can publish a book.

Technology Needed:iBooks Author software (free) ­ Downloadable from the Mac App Store

Word processing software (Word, Pages, Google Docs) or Pencils, Paper, Pens. iTunes account
File sharing account (Google, Dropbox etc.)

Step 1: Create an iTunes Producer account

In order to “officially” publish your iBook to Apple’s iBookstore you must first create an iTunes Producer account. To do this you must go to www.itunesconnect.apple.com and use your current iTunes account to become an official publisher.

 Step 2: Download iBooks Author and iTunes

The iBooks Author software is one way to get your written materials into the iBookstore. This can be downloaded on your Mac from the Mac App Store. 

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.15.08 PM

iTunes Producer can be downloaded from the iTunes Connect website in the resource section. 

Step 3: Have your class decide on what to write about 

When my students and I started writing iBooks we had no idea what we would write about. Students are creative and will develop great ideas for stories. You can take a look at our iBooks for ideas if you need. Our iBooks can be found at www.tinyurl.com/classibooks 

Step 4: Write, Edit, Write, Edit, Write, Edit 

Have your students go through the normal writing process whether it’s on paper or in digital format using a software program of their choice. Once the writing has been edited and revised, prepare your students for publishing. 

Step 5: Get parent permission 

I always send a permission slip to parents before publishing an iBook. It’s important for parents to know what’s going to happen and for them to give input for their child. Some parents are nervous about their child’s picture or name to be published online. Give them options. You can f i n d a s a m p l e l e t t e r t o p a r e n t s b y c l i c k i n g HE R E 

Step 6: Compile the writing for the book 

At this point you will need to compile your student work into iBooks Author. We’ve done just about everything to get written materials into iBooks Author. Word and Pages files will import directly into iBooks Author which is really nice and quite simple. We’ve also copied and pasted written work from Google Docs. This is not as simple because of formatting issues. It’s not difficult to do but it does create some issues with formatting. Add pictures, movies, videos, and many other fun things to your book to give it that extra bit of pizazz. Below is a sample page of a book I’m working on with some special education students.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.15.17 PMAs you can see in the image above, many of the menu items look similar to other word processing tools. You can use text boxes, add shapes, add charts, and even widgets. Widgets are a little more detailed but still not difficult to use or make. Many of the pieces of iBooks Author are drag and drop. 

Step 7: Publishing 

From the iBooks Author screen above, there is a button that says publish. When you click this button, it will export your iBook and prepare it for publishing in iTunes Producer. iTunes Producer will ask you to fill in metadata about your iBook. Fill in the missing boxes and you are almost ready to publish. Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.15.26 PM


The trickiest piece here is making sure your cover image is the correct size. It must be 1400 pixels on the shortest side. Make the adjustment in your favorite photo editor and you are ready to go. Once all the information has been put into this metadata, you are ready to click the “submit” button. This button sends your iBook to Apple for approval. Generally, it takes 24­48 hours for a book to be approved. 

Step 8: Share your book with the world 

Once your book goes live in the iBookstore, share with the world and let the downloads come in. You can then login to the iTunes Connect website and track your downloads. 

I hope this quick cheat sheet was helpful. Publishing student iBooks for the world to see is extremely motivating to students and teachers. If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them. I love talking iBooks and helping classes publish their first book. 

About the Author: 


Jon Smith is currently a Technology Integration Specialist for Alliance City Schools where his class iBooks project has attracted attention for its global reach and practical approaches to integrating transliteracy practices into the classroom.  Jon was a special education teacher for 12 years before moving into technology integration.  Jon recently organized a global iBook project in which 35 classrooms from around the world wrote and published an iBook of poems.  He is married with 2 children.  Jon is a scratch golfer and Apple enthusiast.  In his spare time, he teaches a class on engaging technologies for The Communicate Institute.  You can connect with Jon on Twitter @theipodteacher

Jon Smith ­ @theipodteacher smithjo@alliancecityschools.org

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “iBooks to iTunes, The Ultimate Cheat Sheet: 8 Steps to Publishing Your Students’ First iBook to iTunes

    • Absolutely. You can add just about anything to an iBook. Check out my interview in Episode 003 of the Wired Educator Podcast.