Sunday, October 2, 2011

Use iTunes Producer to add new territories

Update: Be sure to read the second comment for this post, where it explains that you don't have to have the original packages that you uploaded; instead, you can download the original metadata and then edit it.

Yesterday, I railed against Apple for making it so time consuming to add new territories with iTunes Connect. That process is still excruciatingly slow, but thankfully, David Fox of Electric Eggplant found a faster way: with iTunes Producer. Here's how it works.

Open iTunes Producer. Then choose Open Package… in the opening dialog box.

open package

You'll get a dialog box that lists the “packages’ of the books you've uploaded so far. A book package is the information that iTunes Producer compiles about your book when you uploaded it the first time, including the location of the EPUB files, metadata like the author, publisher, and ISBN, and the market information. The package names reflect the ISBNs of your books.

The process I'm going to describe will only work if you have NOT moved or changed any of the files associated with your book. You are going to upload the book again, so if you've moved the files around, those changes will be incorporated. Proceed with your eyes open!

Choose the book to which you wish to add new territories and click Open. (By default the saved package files can be found in the Playlists folder inside the iTunes Producer folder inside the Music folder.)

Open package

iTunes Producer will show you the information about your book just as it appeared the last time you uploaded it to the iBooksore.

Book info

Click the Territory Rights button at the bottom right. You'll see the original territories that you created when you last uploaded this book. Note that you won't see any territories you may have added through iTunes Connect.

Add territory

Since I had already started adding territories with iTunes Connect, the fact that only the original territories appeared here worried me. But I have found that you can add only the new territories desired in iTunes Producer and it does not override the list of territories in iTunes Connect, it only adds to it. That is, any countries that you added with iTunes Connect but that are not listed here should remain.

Click the Add Territory button just below the list of territories. Only the countries that you have not yet added in Producer will appear. Territories that you added with Connect will also appear. Choose the desired territories that you haven't yet added in either place.

The Territory field with its initial empty contents always flusters me a little, as if I'm supposed to remember which territories there are to type one. But once the cursor is there, simply press the down arrow to get the next one in the list, and then press Return. Remember that you do not have to readd the countries that you already added with Connect.

Note also that if you do add a country that you already added with Connect, the new information will override the old (say, if you changed the price or whatever).

Then add in the rest of the information for the book. You'll find that there is no lag between selections. This is so much nicer!

When you're finished adding territories, click the Next button and make any other desired changes.

Once you've made all the desired changes, click the Deliver button. (I have to say I always find it disconcerting that iTunes Producer automatically gives me an error on the last page because there are unsaved changes, and then automatically goes about saving those changes and eliminating the error.)

Deliver

When you get the nice big green arrow, go on over to iTunes Connect to confirm that everything's the way you want it.

It may take a few minutes for iTunes Connect to update the information. Note, in this example, that I have uploaded all of the remaining 25 territories to this record but the first 7 that I had added in iTunes Connect are still the only ones that appear.

iTunes Connect

After a minute or two, I saw that iTunes Connect had reordered my books (ostensibly to put the ones with the most recent changes at the front of the list), and now lists the 32 markets in which my book may be purchased.

Updated info

Many thanks to David Fox for alerting me to this much faster and better system!






15 comments:

  1. Glad I could help!! And glad I discovered it while I still had some hair left.

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  2. You can use iTunes Producer to alter the metadata and add new territories even if you don't have the packages on your computer and without re-uploading the epub and cover files.

    You click "Look Up Metadata" and search using either the isbn or the Apple ID of the book. iTP downloads the metadata of your title. After you make your changes click on "Deliver" the changes are uploaded and the iTP package is saved on your computer.

    Still I find it a pina το add all the new territories separately for each title we have uploaded...

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  3. I so frustrated.. this method is allot better but it still takes way to long. I have 30 titles on my list already to put to all these markets.

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  4. What about ISBNs? Aren't there different authorities for each country? Bowker in US but what then in other countries? Or can you use a US ISBN worldwide?

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  5. Do I have to paid a tax for each country ?
    I'm french and I pay a tax to my country for ebook sell in french ibookstore, but if I sell it to Belgium ibookstore for example, do I have to pay another tax ?

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  6. Thanks for this info!

    Re taxes, Apple collects and pays taxes via each country's iBookstore, no?

    On another point, I've been waiting a week and my iBook has not been approved yet. When logging in earlier today, there was a "contract amendment" waiting to be signed. No idea if this has caused the holdup, but wanted to mention it in case it may be.

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  7. Hi Loreen:

    I bet the contract amendment is for Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland, the four new iBookstores that are outside the Euro zone.

    I have found iBookstore approval to range from a few hours to a few weeks. No discernible reason.

    As for taxes, I'm not sure, though I think you're right that it handles it. Otherwise, we're all going to need a good accountant.

    best,
    Liz

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  8. Thanks, Liz, that makes sense. I see the 4 countries on the agreement.

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  9. Update: it took about 11 days for approval on the iBookstore. In the meantime, it turned out a vital comma was missing (horrors!) Plus I ended up redesigning the cover, adding reviews to the description, etc. plus wanted to add the new countries so I uploaded it all again. It was easy using iTunes Producer as discussed in the post. Took about 3 days for it to be updated. Whew, glad that's done!

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  10. And what about the taxes ? do you have news ?

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  11. @Anon I would just look at the contract for info on the taxes. I'm not sure if it depends on your location.

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  12. Liz, super helpful as always, thanks. Even just as validation that I'm not the only one who thinks Apple's territory entry system is insane! I wanted to add something to the thread for those that may encounter this issue moving forward:

    At Hol, we keep all our core e-book metadata on a single Excel worksheet, and in a single workbook that also contains the standard metadata spreadsheets for many of our e-book vendors, including Apple.

    With a little Excel formula/function work we can populate Apple's spreadsheet automatically from our core metadata, and save it as a tab-delimited file. Open that tab-delimited file in iTunes Producer and all the e-book's information is there. The only thing we do additionally is to format the book description with paragraph breaks and text styles, point to the epub file and cover jpg, and hit "Deliver".

    Even better though, when Apple expands their territories as they did going from 6 to 32, we simply needed to update the Excel formulas to include those new territories and associated price tiers, and re-import the tab-delimited file for each of our titles. Because the only thing we do manually is to style the book description, that's the only thing that needs re-doing on the subsequent imports.

    Basically, rather than make changes to the metadata of our previously published books through iTunes Connect or Producer, we make all changes only in the Excel doc and re-deliver the package as often as needed. It takes a little while to set this up, and it's still not as easy as it should be, but when updating more than a handful of books, it's been a blessing. Hope someone else finds it helpful too!

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  13. Hi there. This is a great article on a really confusing publishing platform! One question: I can't get past the "unsaved changes" message at the end. My "deliver" box doesn't function because of the unsaved changes, but I can't figure out how and what I'm supposed to save. Any advice? Thanks!

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  14. Do you have to figure out the pricing/conversion for each country ahead of time? Thanks.

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