images.jpegReceived the following email from Signe Nichols:

Hello Paul,

I am a fan of your TeleReads. Thanks for the great info.

I was in the apple iTunes Producer which is the program used to upload new and edit existing books for the iBookstore (which I am sure you know) and there was a message in the back office saying (paraphrased):

The iTunes producer would be down and offline from November 23 until December 22 and that new books would not be able to be uploaded during this time and any changes or books in pending status could not be changed.

Did not know if you knew anything about this. Thought it would be a good discussion topic.



  1. Back in October it was reported that Apple is closing all of it’s back office functions in the whole App store setting including eBooks. Shopping will continue however but the developers and publishers won’t be able to get products reviewed and uploaded and top selling lists etc will be frozen for the period.

  2. Does this apply to iPhone apps? If so, it’s a strong argument that the app store model is not that good an idea. Too much on what Apple does or doesn’t do.

    Beta testing iPhone apps isn’t easy because the number of testers is severely limited by Apple. The result is that a iPhone developers regularly discover some gottcha affecting an often large minority of users just after a new app is released, an often fatal bug they try to correct with a quick new release.

    This isn’t really the developers fault. Even high quality apps from brilliant developers are hurt by the limitations Apple’s restricted beta policy puts on testing. Just this morning I discovered that the latest version of Instapaper, one of my favorite apps, will crash on iPads not running the latest iOS.

    If iPhone apps are affected, this long break will mean that some users could be stuck with an unusable but needed app for over a month, particularly if that long break results in a log jam in new app releases when it ends.

    Apple needs to keep enough of their app processing system active to deal with app releases emergencies that can’t wait for 2011.

    And the fact that ebooks are included in this shut down backs up my suspicion that Apple isn’t that committed to digital books. (In Steve Jobs’ lingo, books are “cool” or “awesome.”) The process of releasing ebooks isn’t as elaborate as that for iPhone apps. There’s no need for extensive testing. If the file passes ePub validation, it could be released almost untouched by human hands. There’s little need for this long holiday shutdown.

  3. Rob – how do you figure that ? don’t you realise that Windows users can use the app store too ? no ? ……

    Michael – I don’t grasp what your point is. Apple closes it’s back room operation to ALL apps, eBooks and maybe music too … and you single out eBooks ? I don’t buy it.
    Your point about users being hurt also makes no sense. Developers have had access to the most recent dev kit for a while now and have had ample chance to fix their apps. If they have problems then that is of their own doing and when users discover their incompetence they won’t blame Apple, they will blame the developer. Users who don’t use the latest iOS are highly unlikely to be upset at anyone but themselves when apps crash or fail to run.

  4. To respond to Michael Perry: I believe they were just having issues with the program that uploads the epubs to the iBookstore and this has nothing to do with the apps. The program: iTunes Producer has been very difficult to work with and rejects things for no explanation such as a cover image was not in 600 dpi and all we were getting was that the book was taken off line. Took us too long to sort out why. We had to get access to a “special” email address to find a live person to explain why the book was rejected.

    Further, Apple has not had any support for questions in the back office. It is just a round of FAQ’s that just take you to the same information.

    And, I agree with Rob in Denver, you can only have access to this program for listing your book if you have a Mac with certain capabilities. Our company purchased a Mac solely for uploading files to the iBookstore.

    The hope is that this downtime will produce an easier to work with system.

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