Apple is notorious for the ridiculously pointless rule that if you want to sell ebooks on their platform, you have to use their app and their hardware to do so (or go through an aggregator). While all the other major platforms will let you use just about any web browser to upload and sell your ebooks in their store, Apple insists that you have to use macOS-only iTunes Producer to upload ebooks to sell, effectively imposing an Apple tax on those who want to deal directly with Apple.
Anyone with the technical skill to install macOS on their existing computer could get around that tax, but there is also a solution for the rest of us.
I was at one of Robin Sullivan’s Meetups yesterday when another attendee mentioned a service called MacInCloud where one could lease a Mac online and run apps on it.
It turns out there are a bunch of online startups that will lease either a Mac or a Mac server to you online. You can access that virtual Mac through your web browser, install apps like iTunes Producer, and even upload ebooks.
Depending on how much time you spend managing your ebooks, this is potentially a cost-effective alternative to buying a Mac or to using an aggregator.
The following list details five of the services I found, and includes info on their prices, quirks, etc. I would include reviews except I could not find any recent ones for most of these companies. (It appears that kind of detail is shared word of mouth rather than via written reviews.)
If you know of a similar service not listed below, please use the comment form at the end of the post to send me an email. We’d also love to hear about your experiences using any of these services.
|MacInCloud||$1 an hour to $49 a month||This is potentially the cheapest option if you know what you’re doing with a Mac. A good solution might be to start with one of its better plans and then scale back to the dollar per hour plan once you are all set up.|
|MacStadium||$49 to $679 per month||n\a|
|vmOSX||$10 to $60||At the lower tiers, this service lets you share a Mac with other users and access it for one or three hours each day. If you opt for the upper tiers you will be renting your own Mac.|
|Xcloud.me||49 to 329 Swiss francs per month||n\a|
|XCodeClub||$25 to $50 a month||This feels very much like a one man band operation. Its site is much less polished than the competition, and there’s no clear definition of the quality of the service it is selling (number of CPUs, RAM, etc)|
Most (?all?) of the services mentioned above offer far more computing power that you will need to run iTunes Producer, which is why I’d make my choice based on price and support. You might also consider whether paying for one of these services will cost you more than you would pay to an aggregator to distribute your ebooks for you.
If you know of a similar service not mentioned here, please fill out the form below.