Independent publishers will now have iPad distribution channels available thanks to Apple deals with Lulu and Smashwords. Lulu announced that it would automatically convert books from its own format into the ePub format at no cost, unless the author declines the service.
The author would then get the remainder of proceeds after Lulu and Apple are paid a percentage when the book sells via iBooks. Lulu supports the ePub and PDF formats with and without digital rights management included. For its part, Smashwords stated that authors selling ePub formatted books included in their premium catalog will see distribution on Apple's iBookstore at iPad launch.
Smashwords was seeking a distribution deal with Apple ever since the first iPad announcement in January. Smashwords and Apple together will receive 40 percent of the sale price for each copy of an author's work that sells.
Publishing e-books is extremely cost efficient for authors, the only problem being distribution. Lulu and Smashwords have built thriving businesses from the self publishing of indie e-books online.
Apple's rules state that books appearing in the iBookstore must have prices that end in 99 cents and electronic versions of books in print must be less expensive than the printed book. Apple also requires ISBN (International Standard Book Number) support, which Smashwords is currently adding to their systems for compliance.
[ DigitalBeat ]