Update: Apple still needs to improve iTunes Connect, but at least now there's a workaround.
I am really excited about the fact that Apple launched 26 new iBookstores in Europe this week. As I explained yesterday, I think they have a good shot at a very large market. They have iPads and iPhones on the ground all over Europe and the potential to sell a lot of books. They use the open and standard EPUB format which most European publishers are already using to convert their books. The Kindle and Amazon have not yet made it past the big five (UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain).
But adding the new markets to an iTunes Connect account is ridiculously slow and time consuming. I'm just an independent publisher, so I don't know if they're facilitating the process for the big guys, but if they want to attract the smaller publishers in all those new countries, they're going to have to do a lot better.
Watch, if you can stand it, this video that documents how long it takes to add a single country to a single book. Note that I have a 5Mbps connection (tested with SpeedTest.net this morning).
That was almost 4 minutes. Now imagine if you want to add a single book to all 32 markets: that's over 2 hours. Now imagine if you have 10 books, or 20, or 200.
Apple, you must do better. (And when you do, I promise to document it here. Come on, we're waiting.)