Remember when Apple lead the way to desktop publishing which made it easy for anyone to self publish? Apple is doing it again with the iBookstore. David Martin in MacLife:
The iBookstore is what iTunes was to Music and Apps—a way to publish your own books and sell them without a publisher, agent, etc.
Almost. Apple provides a few more publishing hoops to jump through to eliminate the middle man publisher, but the steps are straightforward:
Books would have to adhere to these criteria: each one would need to have a 13-digit ISBN, be in ePub format, validate against epubcheck 1.0.5, and contain no unmanifested files. In addition to these requirements you will need to have a US Tax ID, a valid iTunes Store account with a credit card on file, and an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.5 or later.
That gets your book ready to publish online without using a typical book publisher.
The good news is that once you are established, Apple’s online agreement allows you to sell your book in the iBookstore in several countries. If you don’t feel like your selling your book in every country available, you can set which countries it’ll be available in and the price for each of the titles. A welcome addition to iTunes as far as we are concerned – global distribution of your book titles at prices you set.
This is a really big deal. Apple is becoming the middle man for digital books as it was for digital music.