Apple iPad Certified Book Aggregators
Contract with Apple directly:
Get your ePub file, EIN (tax ID), bank info, ISBN (book number), and cover art together and publish directly through Apple.
Or, go through an Apple Certified Aggregator:
- Kindle (via the Kindle app)
NOTE: The top 3 aggregators are listed first because of the potential known distribution they offer.
1) Smashwords for instance, offers ebooks sales directly as well as through several competing ebook readers by selectable alternative formatting and distribution connection choices.
2) Lulu has a clean iPad iBookStore publishing vehicle. The advantages here are more along the order of proximity to other publishing media opportunities such as producing hard cover, paperback, photo books, and the availability of templates.
3) Amazon's Kindle indirectly publishes via the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac, PC, Blackberry, and more to come. They use a different format than ePub, but they offer a super marketing opportunity across those several devices and the Amazon Kindle itself. The downside to Kindle is the low 35% author share.
BTW: 'Aggregator' means: 'Collector', think collection, or maybe catalog. Apple probably wanted an orderly rollout of the iBookStore by opening its prime shelving space to established publishing houses and ebook sellers. By dealing first with a 'catalog' Apple made the payout process super simple and left it up to the aggregator to both act as a Q&A buffer and a payment service. Starting with professionals gets your people up-to-speed with minimal negative impact.
The big advantage of using an aggregator is that they have several books that they are expecting royalties on, meeting any minimum payout requirement more quickly and more frequently. Each aggregator has a unique contract deal with their authors and publishers, so mileage will vary on how you'll see payments.